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Age range: 11-14
Duration: 60 or more mins
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • D&T
  • Computing
  • Physics

Network Rail

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

Our railways help us to get to work, to go on days out, to travel to our favourite sports and meet up with friends and family. They also help transport things we use in our daily lives, our food, our post, even our vehicles. Without them our lives would be very different.

In the past decade rail travel has become ever more popular. Stations like London Waterloo and London Victoria now handle more passengers than the UK’s busiest airports and the numbers continue to rise.

Network Rail owns, operates and develops Britain’s railway structure, including 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and thousands of signals and level crossings. They also manage 20 of the UK’s largest stations and it is here that they need your help.

The rate of increase in rail passengers coming through their stations means they have to manage more waste, keep more passengers safe, comfortable and happy and ensure everyone can access the railway network.

They need to make sure that passengers can use the rail network and the stations to do the things they want to do and to move in the ways which suit them. Some want to get to their destination quickly whilst others prefer to take their time, perhaps have lunch along the way or chat with friends. They may be carrying heavy luggage or have a child in a pushchair or even be taking their pet with them. Some may have mobility issues which make it more difficult for them to move around the station or get onto trains from the platform.

Engineers will need to help Network Rail to help manage one aspect of increased passenger use on their stations.  Designs must include an electrical circuit and should be designed as a working prototype. Considerations will need to be taken into account for energy, sustainability and capacity for growth.

Can your students help make a difference as a IET Faraday® Network Rail engineer?

Activity info and teachers’ notes

The Network Rail challenge is based on the IET Faraday® Challenge Day of the same name from our 2020/21 IET Faraday® Challenge Day season.

Students are given an engineering brief (found in the student booklet) to assist Network Rail to manage one aspect of increased passenger use on their stations. 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.

Remember, it’s all free!

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.

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

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

Available downloads

Download all the above

Related resources