Inspiring students on a Carbon Challenge Roadshow


BP is one of the worldʼs leading energy companies with the responsibility to produce educational resources that inspire both teachers and students. This reflects BPʼs focus on energy, environment, leadership and business skills. Working with teachers and other educational experts, BP produces a range of materials which are available to schools in the UK and around the world.

The Enterprising Science program is one of BPʼs key initiatives, designed to enthuse and inspire through the context of carbon emissions and climate change. The program consists of two main elements: Talk Science and the Carbon Challenge Roadshow, with each designed around the needs of their specific audiences. Teachers receive training via the Talk Science element, while the Carbon Challenge is aimed at educating students.

The Carbon Challenge is a high-impact Science, Math and Enterprise roadshow for 12 to 16 year old students, and reaches 400 schools per year via three touring teams. During each visit, BPʼs educational specialists help students examine the factors that contribute to a schoolʼs carbon footprint and learn about carbon reduction through a variety of activities. The hands-on activities use a combination of film, 3D-style activity mats and visual material, all designed to encourage discussion and debate.

The Carbon Challenge was developed in consultation with teachers to inspire and motivate secondary school students, linking directly with all UK curricula and educational guidelines, as well as supporting individual schools to develop sustainability and carbon reduction plans. The format involves up to 180 students over two sessions, each lasting two hours. A team of three expert facilitators use the first part of the session to set the scene for the rest of the day. They ask ten knowledge-based multiple-choice questions, many of which are extremely visual.

“TurningPoint has enhanced the sessions we provide the students. The ability to visualize what the entire group is thinking, and allow all students to participate is invaluable.”

—Emma Kemp

These are then followed by five attitudinal questions to gauge the groupʼs opinions on climate change. For instance, they may ask the students what they think a “carbon footprint” actually is, or whether they consider carbon emissions to be a problem. Following this, students are split into groups and work on specific tasks, then re-grouped to share their results. The importance of the interactive nature of the roadshow led BP to look at using a technology that could reflect an inclusive approach, allow them to collate findings easily and, therefore, gauge any changes of opinion over the course of the day.


After a short pilot of the roadshow format, an interactive response solution was confirmed as the way to provide a critical part of the program. BP reviewed key players in the market, with the intent to find something engaging, that could be used with many students and ensure total involvement. The TurningPoint handsets are completely portable and easily scalable for use in sessions, making them ideal for any audience. In addition, the ability to run corresponding photos on a Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation for the knowledge-based questionnaire – and provide immediate results – was a very attractive prospect. TurningPoint provides a truly native integration with PowerPoint. As such, TurningPoint interactive polling software and student response system was integrated into the launch of the Carbon Challenge from the beginning, with almost 300 handsets actively used in schools.


Since initial implementation, TurningPoint has proven to be extremely easy-to-use. Creating presentations that support both the objectives and structure of the roadshows has been quick and efficient. “As the introductory part of the workshop is a high-energy introduction to create interest and gauge existing knowledge, it is important that results and feedback can be quickly collated. Therefore, TurningPointʼs instant response feature is of huge benefit to the roadshow presenters,” said Emma Kemp, BP Educational Service.

The data that is collected throughout the day is presented to the students in the form of charts and diagrams, and key trends highlighted by the roadshow facilitators. This not only encourages a higher level of interaction and debate, but also makes the importance of the issue appear much clearer. Emma continued, “Feedback from teachers and students alike has been extremely positive. Itʼs greatly enhanced the sessions we provide to students. The ability to visualize what the entire group is thinking, and allow all students to participate is invaluable.”

Schools are encouraged to create goals and objectives based on the collected data, and they can share this with other schools interested in applying for a place on the Enterprising Science program by visiting www.enterprisingscience.com. BP has enhanced its Carbon Challenge roadshow by using TurningPoint to engage and inspire teachers and students. The technology was trialled and incorporated into the structure of the program since the beginning. The implementation reflects the importance of the interactive nature of the sessions. Feedback has been positive all round.