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Road to RIAT: STEM Challenge

Road to RIAT is back, and it's bigger and better than ever! A free STEM programme for 400 state primary schools.

Road to RIAT: STEM Challenge

Students aged 9-11 and in primary school are invited to soar into a world of innovation and creativity with a series of captivating activities, starting with the STEM Challenge - a full-day, virtual workshop that brings the excitement of aerospace engineering right into classrooms across the UK.

The day begins with a high-flying adventure. Students will team up to design, build, and test either: a rocket capable of launching a satellite into space (Space theme) or unique gliders, each a masterpiece of form, shape, and materials (Glider theme). The sky's the limit as they unleash their creativity and engineering skills!

In the afternoon, the mission continues with a groundbreaking activity: The Sustainability of Aerospace. Students will envision the future of eco-friendly aviation, crafting posters to present their innovative ideas.

The competition culminates as schools submit their top sustainable aircraft designs for a chance to win fabulous prizes, including £100, two LEGO® Education SPIKE™ Prime kits (worth £700), and winners will get exclusive access to the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT, the world's largest military air show held in Gloucestershire) in July 2024!

The next phase of Road to RIAT takes place in the summer term: Meet the STEM Superstar is an amazing opportunity to learn more about careers in STEM and the stars behind them.

The final phase of Road to RIAT is when winners are announced and attend the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) in July 2024.


The STEM Challenge is open to classes of 30 students, and takes place online between 9:30am and 3pm on the 40 dates between 14 November 2023 and 12 March 2024. When registering their class, teachers can choose between the Glider or Space theme.

Students have up to 1 week after the Challenge event they attended to work on and submit their designs for entry into the competition.

Learning outcomes

  • Improve engagement, interest or enjoyment in STEM subjects

  • Improve attainment and progress in STEM subjects

  • Improve awareness and aspirations for STEM-related study and careers

  • Challenge stereotypes by showing the diversity of disciplines, people and skills involved in engineering


  • Materials
  • Earth and space
  • Forces
  • States of matter
  • Mechanisms

Working scientifically

Whichever curriculum your school follows, pupils should have the opportunity to carry out practical investigations in science that help them to develop their scientific skills. This experience builds the following enquiry skills:

  • Making predictions
  • Observing and measuring
  • Recording data
  • Interpreting and communicating results
  • Evaluating

Essential skills

The essential skills every young person needs to succeed in education and their future career. Find out more at the Skills Builder Partnership. This experience builds the following skills:

  • Problem solving - the ability to find a solution to a complex situation or challenge.

  • Teamwork - working cooperatively with others towards achieving a shared goal.

Good for a career in...

  • Aircraft
  • Design
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Space
What the teachers say

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