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Children from seven local primary schools recently took up the Atomic Weapons Establishment’s (AWE’s) annual Chain Reaction Challenge.
The event, held at the Tadley Community Centre, Newchurch Road, aims to encourage young people to develop a passion for science with its thriving schools programme and inspire future generations by showing just how much fun it can be.
The Chain Reaction Challenge is run every year by a group of AWE graduates. Participating pupils are tasked to design and construct a ‘chain reaction device’, using only classroom and household objects
This year, the first challenge tested engineering skills of the pupils from years 5 and 6. They were asked to build the strongest tower out of newspaper and tape to carry the heaviest ‘Olympic flame’.
A second activity encouraged the children to recycle materials as they made and decorated watering cans out of milk bottles and planted seeds in kitchen roll tubes. The last activity promoted science with some exciting chemistry demonstrations.
During the afternoon, the pupils, aged between nine and 11, put the last touches to their Olympic-themed chain reaction devices and talked the judges through their designs.
The judging was carried out by AWE’s Graeme Nicholson, Director Science & Technology, and Acting Director Production Operations; Shan Martin, Director Human Resources, and Duncan Broughton, a materials scientist and project sponsor of Chain Reaction.
Rachel Strickland, one of the members of the graduate team: “The event was designed to encourage the children to think about science and engineering and an early age. “The pupils’ chain reaction devices were excellent, making the judges’ decisions difficult. The graduate team has received nothing but positive feedback. Seeing how much the pupils enjoyed themselves during the day was very rewarding.”
The schools which took part were: Aldermaston CofE Primary School, Wasing Lane, Aldermaston; Ashford Hill Primary School, Thatcham; Brimpton CofE Primary School, Brimpton Lane, Reading; Sonning Common Primary School, Grove Road, Reading; South Lake Primary School, Campbell Road, Woodley; The Willows Primary School, Pyle Hill, Newbury; and Whitelands Park Primary School, Sagecroft Road, Thatcham.
The first price trophy was awarded to Whitelands Park Primary School, who received a cheque for £300. Second place and a cheque for £200 went to The Willows, and third place went to Brimpton CofE Primary School, together with a cheque for £100.
Every pupil who took part received a certificate and goody bag.
Notes to Editors
1. AWE plays a crucial role in national defence by providing and maintaining warheads for Trident, the UK's nuclear deterrent
2. AWE is contracted to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) through a Government-owned Contractor Operated (GOCO) arrangement. Whilst our sites and facilities remain in government ownership, their management, day to day operations, and the maintenance of the nuclear stockpile is contracted to a private company AWE Management Limited (AWE ML). AWE ML is a consortium comprising three equal partners: Serco Group plc, the Lockheed Martin Corporation and Jacobs Engineering Group.
3. For further information contact Media@AWE.co.uk or 01189855888.