3M Young Innovators Challenge – coming soon for 2022!

We are planning to hold the 3M Young Innovators Challenge in 2022 for primary schools with a welcome return to face-to-face judging and presentation events, subject to government Covid-19 guidelines in force at the time.

Watch this space for further information. If you are a Year 3-6 primary school teacher or Science Coordinator in Leicestershire, South Nottinghamshire, Bracknell Forest or Wokingham and would like to be added to our mailing list for further information, please send your details to younginnovators@mmm.com

DizTech Challenge

Leicestershire / South Nottinghamshire

DizTech Challenge

  • DizTech Challenge

    What's it about?

    Our DizTech Challenge for secondary schools is aligned with the Design & Technology curriculum, with an emphasis on iterative design. We've teamed up with the Sense College, Loughborough, to consider the needs of young people with physical disabilities. Students are asked to design and construct either a sensory toy; a product to make a sports activity or hobby more accessible; or a device to make performing an everyday task easier for a young person aged under 18 years who has a single or multiple physical disability. Judges will be looking for strong evidence of background research into user needs, innovative material use, and design development including modelling and prototyping - as well as a quality finished product.

    Eligible school year groups: 7-11

    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: Leicestershire and South Nottinghamshire Authority Schools, Academies and Private Schools. Home-educated children may also participate. See our Terms and Conditions.

  • British Science Association CREST Awards

    CREST Bronze Awards

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

Important Dates

Closing date for entries: 25 March 2021

Virtual judging: 21 and 25 May 2021 by Microsoft Teams meeting. Please indicate your preferred judging date/time on the entry form.

Entries will be screened to ensure they meet the entry criteria. Students, supported by their teacher, should make a video diary of their project work, from the initial gathering of ideas and concept development, through to design modification, testing and problem solving. The video should be a maximum of five minutes duration and should be submitted in advance of the judging session. Students will be asked to deliver a presentation of up to 10 minutes length via a Microsoft Teams meeting to demonstrate their product and talk through their background research, material selection, design experimentation and construction processes. Prototypes showing the evolution of the design should also be included. The judges will ask questions about the sensory toy or device and their work. All members of a team should play a part in the presentation.
Mark Scheme
Up to 15 marks for background research including target audience and material sources
Up to 15 marks for initial design concepts
Up to 40 marks for design development including models/prototypes and construction of final design
Up to 10 marks for innovation
Up to 20 marks for quality of the presentation and video
Total marks available = 100

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

Judges will select up to five finalists who will be invited to attend the virtual 3M Young Innovators Challenge presentation event on Thursday 10 June 2021, where the winner will be announced.

£750 of design and technology 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) Links to the Design and Technology Curriculum (England)

Key stage 3

Experimental skills and investigations; through the content pupils should be taught to:

  • ask questions and develop a line of enquiry based on observations of the real world alongside prior knowledge and experience
  • make predictions using scientific knowledge and understanding
  • select, plan and carry out the most appropriate types of scientific enquiries to test predictions
  • make and record observations and measurements using a range of methods for different investigations; and evaluate the reliability of methods and suggest possible improvements

  • Analysis and evaluation; through the content pupils should be taught to:

  • apply mathematical concepts and calculate results
  • present observations and data using appropriate methods, including tables and graphs
  • interpret observations and data, including identifying patterns and using observations, measurements and data to draw conclusions
  • present reasoned explanations, including explaining data in relation to predictions and hypotheses
  • identify further questions arising from their results

  • The skeletal and muscular systems

  • the structure and functions of the human skeleton, to include movement
  • biomechanics – the interaction between skeleton and muscles, including the measurement of force exerted by different muscles

  • Key stage 4

    The sciences should be taught in ways that ensure students have the knowledge to enable insight into working scientifically, and appreciation of the relevance of science to their everyday lives, so that students:

  • develop and learn to apply observational, practical, modelling, enquiry, problem-solving skills and mathematical skills, both in the laboratory, in the field and in other environments

  • Working scientifically

    Through the content students should be taught so that they develop understanding and first-hand experience of:

    1. The development of scientific thinking

  • explaining every day and technological applications of science; evaluating associated personal, social, economic and environmental implications; and making decisions based on the evaluation of evidence and arguments
  • evaluating risks both in practical science and the wider societal context, including perception of risk

  • 2. Experimental skills and strategies

  • applying a knowledge of a range of techniques, apparatus, and materials to select those appropriate both for fieldwork and for experiments
  • carrying out experiments appropriately, having due regard to the correct manipulation of apparatus, the accuracy of measurements and health and safety considerations
  • making and recording observations and measurements using a range of apparatus and methods
  • evaluating methods and suggesting possible improvements and further investigations

  • 3. Analysis and evaluation

  • applying the cycle of collecting, presenting and analysing data, including (i) presenting observations and other data using appropriate methods and (ii) presenting reasoned explanations, including relating data to hypotheses
  • communicating the scientific rationale for investigations, including the methods used, the findings and reasoned conclusions, using paper-based and electronic reports and presentations

  • KS4 Biology

    Coordination and control

  • principles of nervous coordination and control in humans
  • Key stage 3 & 4

    They should work in a range of domestic and local contexts (for example health, leisure)


  • use research and exploration to identify and understand user needs
  • develop specifications to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that respond to needs
  • develop and communicate design ideas using annotated sketches, detailed plans

  • Make:

  • select from and use specialist tools, techniques, processes, equipment and machinery precisely, including computer-aided manufacture
  • select from and use a wider, more complex range of materials, components, taking into account their properties

  • Evaluate:

  • analyse the work of past and present professionals and others to develop and broaden their understanding
  • test, evaluate and refine their ideas and products against a specification, taking into account the views of intended users and other interested groups
  • understand developments in design and technology, its impact on individuals, society and the environment, and the responsibilities of designers, engineers and technologists

  • Technical knowledge:

  • understand how more advanced mechanical systems used in their products enable changes in movement and force
  • apply computing and use electronics to embed intelligence in products that respond to inputs (for example, sensors)

  • Important documents to download

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

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


    • Corinne Walkley

      Corinne Walkley

      Corinne Walkley began her career as a print and packaging designer before training and working as a Design and Technology teacher in Leicestershire. Corinne has worked for leading exam company, OCR, for the last fifteen years. Currently she is Principal Moderator for GCSE Design and Technology: Graphics, a Lead Setter of assessment materials and a senior examiner and team leader for the written examination. Corinne left teaching in 2015 to start her own freelance graphic design business and continue with her exam work.

    • June Murray

      June Murray

      June Murray has worked at the Sense College in Loughborough for over 20 years, and as Principal for the past seven years. As a qualified teacher of students with sight loss in further education, she is passionate about ensuring that people with sight loss have the best opportunities to achieve their potential through education.