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BSB Students take on the MIT 2nd Challenge

  • MIT Data Curious Challenge
  • MIT NAE 2nd Challenge Spring 2017

Students at The British School of Beijing (BSB), Shunyi are undertaking an ambitious project to collect data in order to understand problems facing Beijing. Working with researchers and experts from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), as well as leading local organisations, students will collect and analyse data to identify and research a current issue in the city as part of the Data-Driven Curiosity Challenge. Students will then use the results of their analysis to educate members of their school and the wider public, helping them to understand and connect with the issue.

The Data Driven Curiosity Challenge is the second phase of a three-part annual challenge designed by MIT experts based on STEAM subjects and the scientific method.

The 1st Challenge

The first part of the challenge stimulated students’ curiosity and critical thinking. Students were challenged to think of something about which they were curious and worked collaboratively in small groups to not only research their question, but also to find interesting and interactive ways to present their newly gained knowledge and understanding. During the presentation day, we had proud presenters, articulate orators, reflective thinkers, questioning visitors, confident researchers, engaged learners, collaborating investigators and much more. Not only were students keen to present the findings of their research to the visitors in their classrooms, they were just as keen to look further afield and see what their peers had been investigating and finding out about. Click below to read more about the 1st challenge.

The 2nd Challenge

Students will now combine the skills of data analysis and communication in this second phase.

Topics that students are researching:

In small groups, students will select one of the problems below and draft a presentation persuading their classmates to select it as the most important issue facing our city. 

  • Air pollution
  • Water pollution – rivers, streams, lakes
  • Excessive downtown travel – ways of controlling it

Data could be gathered through questionnaires, the internet or other sources, and presented in the form of a series of infographics or other visual means of their choosing. The best will be sent back to MIT for feedback.

The final stage of the challenge will see students design and build a solution to their chosen local issue.

Mr. Andy Puttock, Principal of The British School of Beijing, Shunyi said,

“This continues to be a wonderful opportunity for our students. It is now well accepted that STEAM initiatives are the future for our young people, as they bring a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of these most important of subjects. All schools are moving in this direction, but the chance to develop our curriculum approach in a formal collaboration with an acknowledged world leader such as MIT is something very special indeed for us.”

John Durant, Director of MIT Museum, said:

“I am delighted to see the MIT STEAM Challenge move into its second phase of operations. The new challenge being posted to Nord Anglia students will cultivate skills in data collection and analysis that are at the heart of effective problem solving in many areas of life and work. We look forward to working closely with Nord Anglia teachers and students over the coming months.”


This challenge is part of a wider collaboration between MIT and Nord Anglia Education schools incorporating the interdisciplinary subjects of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics). At the core of the collaboration is the reflection of MIT’s philosophy of ‘Mens et Manus’, ‘mind and hand’, which calls for a hands-on approach to problem solving. Through this approach, BSB Shunyi students will develop key transferable skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, curiosity and communication, which can be employed across all academic subjects, and in future careers.

The Nord Anglia-MIT collaboration launched in September 2016 in 13 inaugural schools and will expand to educate more than 37,000 students at Nord Anglia’s 43 international schools in following years. This new venture comes more than one year after Nord Anglia Education launched its performing arts collaboration with The Juilliard School.

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