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News story

We announce the We Wonder: Mission to Mars Reading Challenge winners!

15 Jun 2021

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We established our Reading Challenges this year with the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) to support whole-school literacy and help teachers encourage a culture of reading for pleasure among their classes with an exciting range of different reading tasks.

We are very grateful to Turner & Townsend for the additional funding to support the We Wonder: Mission to Mars STEM-focused Reading Challenge which aimed to encourage pupils aged 7-14 to explore the nature of space, diversify their reading and encourage increased engagement with non-fiction texts, and raise awareness of real world STEM careers and functions.

In this challenge, pupils were tasked with designing a ‘hab’ which is a nickname for the living quarters or habitat of the astronauts.

We had an incredibly high standard of entries, and we’d like to thank everyone who participated.

Teachers can download and print the certificate to congratulate everyone in your class who took part.

Primary School winners

First prize: Zena, from Orley Farm School

Second prize: Charlotte, from St Mary’s Catholic Primary School

The judges found the quality of submissions to be of a very high standard. They could see the pupils had spent a great deal of time forming their response and communicating their thoughts through interesting drawings and innovative ideas. It was clear many pupils had a strong understanding of what sustainability meant and what the environment was like on Mars.

They were also impressed with the number of children identifying that plants would be needed to create breathable air and variety of interesting jobs they would be doing on Mars.

Secondary School winners

First prize: Jasmine, from Norwich School

Second prize: Zainab, from Eden Girls Leadership Academy Manchester

Honourable mention: Hattie, from Penwortham Girls High School

The judges were really impressed with all of the secondary school entries. The level of effort and detail put into each design was commendable. Those who scored well focused on the sustainability of their designs, including a further explanation into how these could be powered i.e. wind turbines, generators and could be used to produce food and water. It was also important to include entertainment in designs, which many students succeeded in, as living on Mars would be lonely!

They really enjoyed reviewing the entries, seeing challenges like this being done and children creatively tackling tomorrow’s problems.

Zena, Charlotte, Jasmine, Zainab and Hattie have each won a £10 book token, plus a a box of books for each of their schools to enjoy, all courtesy of Turner & Townsend!

With special thanks to our panel of judges from the Turner & Townsend Manchester office.

This challenge was open to and completely free for all UK schools and was designed for schools with students aged 7 to 14 (Key Stages 2 and 3). Although entry has now closed the guidance and resources will remain accessible for schools on this page.

We're very happy for you to continue using the resources to promote a reading culture in your school. Perhaps have a go at running your own in-school challenge and keep an eye out for more fun challenges on our competitions page!

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