Mighty Monument Challenge


Mighty Monument Challenge

  • Mighty Monument Challenge

    What's it about?

    This exciting primary school Challenge is to design and build a lightweight free-standing structure, themed on a monument. Using materials from a given list, the structure should support as much load as possible, up to a maximum of 10kg, held in a container whose base is at a height of 900mm. The Challenge is focused on the concept of ‘strength to weight ratio’ rather than outright weight holding capacity. Therefore, a lightweight structure holding less than 10kg could potentially outperform a heavier structure that supports the maximum load.

    The monument may either be themed on an existing world monument or pupils may research and construct a monument to honour a person or event relevant to the school’s locality.

    Judges will be looking for evidence of STEM learning into structures and forces, design and material experimentation and creativity in theming.

    Eligible school year groups: 3-6

    Entries accepted from: Individuals or teams of 2-5 students. Schools may submit a maximum of 3 entries for the Challenge. Teams may be mixed age if desired.

    Open to: Bracknell Forest and Wokingham Authority schools, academies and private schools. Home-educated children may also participate. See our Terms and Conditions.

    Watch the video to see the creative entries in the 2019 competition.

  • British Science Association CREST Awards

    CREST Discovery Awards

    3M will pay for entries for the Mighty Monument Challenge to be submitted for a British Science Association CREST Discovery Award. See our Terms and Conditions. Please indicate your consent on the Entry Form.

Important Dates
Closing date for entries: 25 March 2020

Judging: 24 and 27 April 2020 at 3M Centre, Cain Road, Bracknell, RG12 8HT. Please indicate your preferred judging date/time on the entry form.
Entries will be screened to ensure they meet the entry criteria. Students, accompanied by their teacher, will be invited to present their Mighty Monument to the judges and give a presentation of up to 10 minutes containing information on their inspiration, research, material selection, prototypes, design and construction involved in creating their structure. The presentation can take any form (Powerpoint® slides, poster, simple talk etc.) and should aim to build the students’ confidence, communication and presentation skills. The judges will ask questions about the structure and their work. All members of a team should play a part in the presentation.
The structure will be weighed prior to loading using digital weighing scales, and the height of the base of the load container checked with a tape measure. Increasing load will be applied to the container, using small stainless steel blocks in 100g, 250g or 500g increments, to a maximum load of 10kg. Blocks may be loaded in any pattern within the container, as directed by the students. More than one block can be added at the same time, if desired, to maintain stability. Testing will stop when:
  • the monument breaks or falls over
  • the load is no longer supported at a height of 900mm
  • or the entrant/team requests that no further load is applied
  • Mark Scheme

    Up to 40 marks for the structure's performance, based on the ratio of load carrying capacity to the structure’s weight.

    Up to 25 marks for evidence of STEM learning including:

  • idea generation
  • background research
  • material selection
  • prototyping
  • design
  • overcoming problems and challenges

  • Up to 15 marks for quality of the presentation

    Up to 20 marks for the monument’s theming, appearance and visual appeal

    Total marks available = 100

    The students’ year group will be taken into account when awarding marks.

    Judges will select 4-6 finalists who will be invited to attend the 3M Young Innovators Challenge presentation evening at 3M Centre, Bracknell, on Thursday 11 June 2020 where their Mighty Monuments and presentations will be displayed and the winner announced.


    £750 of science or engineering equipment for school use plus a £50 gift voucher for the winning individual or team member. All finalists and their schools will receive a framed certificate.

    All entrants will receive a certificate of entry and personalised feedback from the judges.

    Curriculum links
    Links to Science Curriculum (England)

    Year 5 Forces and magnets

    Pupils should be taught to:
  • explain that unsupported objects fall towards the Earth because of the force of gravity acting between the Earth and the falling object
  • identify the effects of air resistance, water resistance and friction, that act between moving surfaces
  • recognise that some mechanisms including levers, pulleys and gears allow a smaller force to have a greater effect

  • Links to Design and Technology Curriculum (England)

    Key stage 2

    When designing and making, pupils should be taught to:

  • use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose
  • generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through discussion, annotated sketches, prototypes

  • Make
  • select from and use a wider range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks
  • select from and use a wider range of materials and components, including construction materials

  • Evaluate
  • investigate and analyse a range of existing products
  • evaluate their ideas and products against their own design criteria and consider the views of others to improve their work

  • Technical knowledge
  • apply their understanding of how to strengthen, stiffen and reinforce more complex structures

  • Links to Geography Curriculum (England)

    Key Stage 2

    Pupils should extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom and Europe, North and South America. This will include the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s most significant human and physical features. They should develop their use of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills to enhance their locational and place knowledge.
    Pupils should be taught to:

    Place knowledge
  • understand geographical similarities and differences through the study of human and physical geography of a region of the United Kingdom, a region in a European country, and a region in North or South America

  • Geographical skills and fieldwork
  • use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied
  • use fieldwork to observe, measure record and present the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods, including sketch maps, plans and graphs, and digital technologies

  • Important documents to download

    Please make sure you download these important documents for the Mighty Monument Challenge. Please save the entry form to your device and send as a file attachment to NorthEuropecomms@mmm.com.

    If you have any questions, please Get in Touch.
    Please see our Terms and Conditions.


    • Dr Ajay Sharman

      Dr Ajay Sharman

      Dr Ajay Sharman is Regional Lead for STEM Learning Ltd across London and the South East. He manages the STEM Ambassadors programme, which is made up of volunteers from a wide range of STEM-related jobs and disciplines across the UK - people who offer their time and enthusiasm to help bring Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects to life, and demonstrate their value in life and careers. Dr Sharman manages nine Science Learning Partnerships, supporting continuing professional development for teaching staff, as well as the STEM Clubs programme, which aims to encourage young people to have a positive attitude towards STEM subjects.

      Dr Sharman has been chair and vice chair of governors at schools in Canterbury and Whitstable and is currently a trustee at Dartford Science & Technology College.

    • Sarah Chapman

      Sarah Chapman

      Sarah Chapman is an Application Engineering Manager at 3M. She graduated from the University of Southampton with a first class degree in Chemistry and joined 3M in 2005. Sarah has held a variety of technical roles including technical service engineer, regulatory specialist and project manager for the 3M Customer Innovation Centre. As a STEM Ambassador Sarah has relentlessly promoted STEM careers to young people for 15 years helping to develop 3M UK’s award winning education community programme. She is recognised for inspiring colleagues and external peers and has won multiple awards, including most recently a STEM Inspiration Award and WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) Outreach and Engagement Award. Sarah is thrilled to support the Young Innovators competition and is looking forward to judging creative projects in the Mighty Monument Challenge.

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