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Some of the brightest minds from local schools were put to the test recently at the annual AWE A-Level Science Challenge.
The event forms part of AWE’s ‘AWEsome Education’ campaign – an initiative which aims to encourage the study of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in education and leading to future careers. Eight schools attended the event, held at Tadley Community Centre on October 14.
The day finished with a talk from Chief Scientist at AWE, Andrew Randewich who spoke about exciting worldwide scientific developments.
Professor Andrew Randewich said: “We are delighted to be supporting this event once again as part of our commitment to the national skills agenda in science, technology, engineering and maths. It’s great to see young minds at work on the various tasks set – with so much enthusiasm, energy and teamwork being shown by the pupils. I am confident that we have in this room the future generation of budding scientists and engineers.”
Throughout the day pupils had to tackle a variety of problems which included identifying a route through a maze for a laser beam to travel and designing and producing a remote handling device to transfer materials from one location to another. The chemistry challenge involved estimating chemical reaction times by performing colour change experiments.
The afternoon consisted of a suite of paper based challenges; each provided an answer to feed into the final challenge of performing experiments to estimate kinetic energy by dropping ping pong balls of unknown mass into a bucket of sand. Following a day of demanding challenges the Reading based school, Little Heath School, clinched first place and a host of prizes including; five programmable robots science-related books, and a tour of Orion Laser facility.
Little Heath School, Head Teacher, David Boddaert said: “I am particularly impressed with their success as the students have not worked together as a team before. They have a range of abilities with some only taking chemistry as a science but they made good use of their individual skills.”
The event was organised by a team of eight AWE graduates as part of their development programme.
AWE Graduate Daniel Crean said: “The day has really stretched the students in a non-classroom fun environment. It is very much about bringing STEM to life with hands on activities. Our aim was to enthuse pupils about science, inspiring them to continue with their STEM studies.”
Kendrick pupil, Melissa said: “I enjoyed the science challenge very much; it made me think about how I can apply my learning in the real world. I am really interested in taking up a career in physics.”
The schools that took part in the challenge included – St Bartholomew’s, Little Heath School, The Abbey, Kennet, Park House, Kendrick, Trinity and Bulmersh.
For more information about how AWE supports local schools go to the AWEsome Education Zone on www.AWE.co.uk