Upstream Battle Education Element

STEM The Flow Engineering Challenge

STEM The Flow Engineering Challenge

It is really exciting to be able to welcome you to the first cross West Partnership Engineering Challenge! 

STEM The Flow is a 9 week STEM engineering challenge from April to June 2019 being run across The West Partnership in conjunction with Education Scotland. 

I would really like to thank Glasgow City Council for sharing their expertise and resources with us for this project to roll out across the whole West Partnership.

We are also very lucky to have Jacobs engineering on board to provide some technical support to participating schools by answering questions which may arise during the challenge. 

Upstream Battle 

Upstream Battle is, environmental charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful’s campaign aiming to change behaviour and prevent marine litter at source. 

The project is operating within the eight local authorities of the West partnership and will focused on the entire length of the River Clyde and its tributaries.It’s estimated that up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic gets into the sea each and every year – that's a truck full of litter a minute. 

It's killing wildlife, threatening ecosystems and habitats, and is extremely difficult and expensive to clean up. Many initiatives that tackle marine litter are targeted at cleaning up our beaches or trying to remove litter from the sea once it's there. But, as 80% of all marine litter comes from land, we also need to face this problem upstream, where litter is washed into gutters, blown into streams or carelessly discarded. Worryingly, we are seeing a steady increase in the amount of land-based litter, which means there's a greater chance it'll end up in the sea. We must stop this cycle of litter and prevent it from entering the sea in the first place. 

There will be many opportunities for schools to engage with activities linked to this project over the next year and all of these will support schools to use Source to Sea Litter as a context to develop STEM skills and also deliver on pupil’s entitlement to Learning for Sustainability. 

Projects such as STEM The Flow are also great evidence which schools can use to develop the Litter topic for their Eco-Schools Scotland Green Flag Applications. 

Project overview 

The project is aimed at P6/7 at primary level or S1/2 at secondary. 

They can be primary, secondary or ASN schools. 

Participating schools should ultimately put forward one team of up to 5 pupils for the West Partnership wide final in June.

There are two challenges available for schools to choose from:

  • Drowning In Plastic- creating an engineering solution for collecting plastic rubbish that has already been dumped into the River Clyde.
  • Be Drastic On Plastic- creating an engineering solution which prevents plastic pollution getting into the River Clyde. 
A resource pack will be provided for all participating schools.

Each school should send a teacher to a specific twilight training event in March. 

The final of the challenge will be held during the week beginning 17th June – Venue and final date are to be confirmed. 

For context you can see examples of previous year’s challenges on the Resources section of the STEM Glasgow website 


  • Tuesday 26th March; - 4.30-6pm Kilmacolm Primary School, Churchill Rd, Kilmacolm PA13 4LH
  • Wednesday 27th March;- 4.30-6pm venue tbc 
  •  Thursday 28th March- 4.30-6pm Kilbowie Primary School, West Thomson Street, Clydebank, G81 3EA