Start of main content
Age Range: 11-14
Duration: 60 or more mins
  • Engineering
  • D&T
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

James Webb Space Telescope

IET Faraday® DIY Challenge Day

A set of printable resources and guidance notes giving teachers and technicians the basic ingredients to run their very own IET Faraday® DIY Challenge Day. This cross-curricular activity day brings science, design and technology, engineering and maths together in an engaging way.

The context of the challenge

Since the beginning of humankind we have been fascinated by our night skies. When Galileo pointed his telescope to the sky in 1610 and introduced us to the wonders of Saturn’s rings and the moons of Jupiter our ideas about the natural world changed forever.

The launch of the Hubble telescope in 1990 allowed us a unique insight in to such wonders as the birth and death of stars and evolution of the galaxies. After over 18 years in space, however, it is now to be joined by the James Webb Space Telescope (or Webb for short), which will allow us to see far deeper into the universe than ever before.

Its development has not been easy. Involving countries around the world, including the United Kingdom, it has presented engineers with many challenges along the way. From keeping parts clean and dust free during development, to transporting the telescope, or parts of it, around the world, to its deployment and operation in space, engineers have had to work together to solve many problems. Webb’s mission will last approximately 10 years and we are looking for engineers to join our team in the future.

Engineers will need to assist the engineering mission of the James Webb Space Telescope team and engineer one aspect to help the team. Designs must include an electrical circuit and should be designed as a working prototype.

Can your students help make a difference as an IET Faraday® James Webb Space Telescope engineer?

Activity info and teachers' notes

The James Webb Space Telescope challenge is based on the IET Faraday® Challenge Day of the same name from our 2018/19 IET Faraday® DIY Challenge Day season.

Students are given an engineering brief from Tim Peake (found in the student booklet) where he invites the students to assist the engineering mission of the James Webb Space Telescope team. They will need to demonstrate that they have the engineering skills required to engineer and construct a working prototype of their design and pitch their products to the judges. 

Designed for six teams of six students (36 students in total) aged 12-13 years (year 8 England, and equivalent), the challenge encourages the development of students’ problem solving, team working and communication skills.

This activity day can be tailored to the needs of your school and your students by adapting the PowerPoint presentation and the editable student booklet.

What's included?

The complete set of downloadable materials includes:

  • Teachers' pack
    A list of the practical materials needed, presenters’ notes highlighting key areas and reinforcing key themes throughout the day, some handy hints on how to deliver the day . . . plus printable Faradays currency and student certificates.
  • Student booklet
    Available as an editable MSWord document to allow the booklet to be adapted to meets the needs of your students and your school.
  • PowerPoint presentation
    A step-by-step guide for your students throughout the day, with supporting notes for the delivery of the presentation.
  • Film clip
    Full briefing video introducing the challenge to your students.

Download the free activity sheet below!

All online resources (including film clips!) are free to download, and the student booklet and PowerPoint presentation are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students' and your schools' needs.

You can stream and download the related film for free by clicking on the appropriate link in the Related resources section below.

And please do share your classroom learning highlights with us @IETeducation


Introductory briefing video

Related resources