STEM the Flow Engineering Challenge

An engineering-based design challenge to tackle marine litter in and around the River Clyde.

Marine litter pollution is one of the biggest challenges facing the environment, and has an effect on everything from flooding to air quality and even our food. Keep Scotland Beautiful, The West Partnership and STEM Glasgow would like you to be part of the solution, by tackling the problem upstream at the source.

STEM the Flow considers engineering solutions to tackle Source to Sea litter in the River Clyde. We are joining forces and bringing in industry experts, to support Upstream Battle across the West Partnership, with this STEM challenge (Science, Technology Engineering and Maths) for Primary 6/7 to Secondary 3 pupils.

Litter, and plastic pollution in particular, has caused major problems for communities around the Clyde and we need to continually look at new ways to, not just reduce our plastic use, but clean our rivers of existing litter. We are looking for pupils to research and develop your own ideas to tackle these issues. These could be ways of collecting litter that is already in the Clyde, or preventing litter from getting into the Clyde in the first place.

We’re also asking pupils to collect evidence to inform their solution and raise awareness in displays for people from across the Clyde region to see. You will have to work as a team to create a project plan, conduct research, draw conclusions and build a model or produce a display to showcase your idea. Your project will run from October 2022 until an exhibition event at the Riverside Museum in February 2023, where you will be able to see what other teams have come up with and present your solution to a panel of judges. Select teams will be presented with awards at the exhibition.

Our STEM the Flow Guide booklet will help you plan and guide you through your project. Good luck! 

Download the STEM the Flow Guide

Download and print the challenge poster to display and promote the challenge. 

At this time, the STEM the Flow Challenge is available to schools within the West Partnership only.

Teaching Staff Webinar

To find out more about the project please watch the Webinar recording from 13.10.22. You can also access the slides from the webinar here.

Workshop 1 - Clyde Environment and Sustainability

In the first STEM the Flow workshop we were joined by industry partners BAE Sytems Naval Ships to learn about the River Clyde and the importance of keeping the area clean for wildlife, people and industry.

You can also access the slides from the workshop here.


Your project plan and timeline is determined by when you start your project, however you should expect to take around 9 weeks to complete the challenge before the February deadline.

  • Challenge starts: October 2022
  • Webinar for Educators: 13th October 2022
  • Workshops in October, November, December and January
  • Challenge deadline 10th February 2023
  • Exhibition and Awards Event 22nd February 2023

STEM the Flow Riverside Museum exhibition in 2019.

Workshops and Mentors: 

We are fortunate to have industry professionals supporting the STEM the Flow challenge. Scottish Water, Jacobs and BAE Systems are leading engineering experts within marine and freshwater environments.

All teams taking part in the challenge will have the opportunity to attend online workshops hosted by the industry partners to learn skills which will support their projects. Workshops will take place once a month from October to January and aim to tie in with a specific phase of project development- from coming up with a design concept, to building a prototype. All workshops will be held from 1.30 - 2.30pm. The workshops include a presentation about the topic and an activity for teams to complete during the workshop. The first half of the workshop will be recorded and uploaded to the webpage to watch back. However, as teams are encouraged to interact with the host via video, the second half will not be recorded. 

Please register in advance to attend the workshops using the form below, as links will be sent via email prior to the event.

Our industry partners will also support participants by offering professional advice throughout the challenge. Teams will have the opportunity to work with an industry expert, who will be able to answer questions from participants and offer advice at different stages of the project via online meetings.

Meetings must be agreed in advance and at the discretion of the mentor, further information is included in the webinar - see the recording above.


Our STEM the Flow Challenge has been developed to support a range of curricular areas, including delivering on each pupil’s entitlement to Learning for Sustainability, and:

  • STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
  • Geography
  • Art & Design
  • Numeracy and Literacy across learning

Please register below to take part.  If you have any questions at all please email us at upstreambattle@keepscotlandbeautiful.org

Please choose which sessions you would like to register for.  Shortly before each session you will receive an email with classroom resources and the link to join the webinar/ workshop. 

Personal Information
As part of the challenge, there will be a series of workshops and webinars hosted by Keep Scotland Beautiful and industry partners, to provide guidance and information on taking part in STEM the Flow. These are aimed at both teachers and participants, please read the descriptions below.


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