The challenge pack
includes a choice of hands-on activities and careers information designed to introduce young people to the kinds of jobs they could do in the future with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills. It was developed by a team of graduates from the Science and Technology Facilities Council's (STFC) RAL Space with first-hand experience of STEM careers.
All age groups in Girlguiding and Scout units can have a go at being engineers working on a Mars rover or physicists exploring new exoplanets. Once they have completed the challenge, leaders are asked to provide feedback on the activities and order badges online for free.
11,230 young people have already taken part and received their free badge since the challenge was launched in April 2020. 98% said they enjoyed taking part, 97% had a better understanding of what scientists and engineers do, and 64% were more likely to consider pursuing STEM when they’re older.
Leaders from 17th Abingdon Brownies said, “The girls loved learning about jobs they didn’t know they could do, realising this could be them in the future.”
Leaders from 27th Wolverhampton Rainbows said, “This challenge is the best, most engaging set of activities we have ever done. Our group loved it so much they have continued working through the other activities and we have recommended it to other Girlguiding and Scouting units. Parents have also commented on how much their science-phobic children have changed and engaged with the challenges and subsequently science at school.”
To support groups during the Covid-19 pandemic, the team published virtual meeting guidance
for leaders to run the activities online. RAL Space developed and trained ambassadors to deliver online Mission to Mars workshops that incorporate the challenge activities and require minimal resources, enabling 70 young people from underprivileged areas to earn their badges.
has received funding from the RAL Space, STFC and UKRI Public Engagement teams to produce more badges and give more young people the opportunity to build skills such as problem-solving and team working, learn about jobs in STEM industries and see themselves doing these roles in the future.