Colyton Grammar School
Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths
salters chemistry challenge - winners 2016
In May 2016, four year 8 students, Annabelle, Rebecca, Grace and Sasha, travelled up to Bath University with Dr Davies and Mrs Tiller to take part in an event for the Salters' chemistry festival. We arrived at Bath University at 10am, where we had a quick drink and snack before the challenge was introduced. We went upstairs into a university lab, where we would work together as a team. Then the challenge was introduced: we would become forensic scientists and work with the information we were given to carry out practicals and solve clues which would identify the chief suspect of a fictional murder mystery. There were five challenges we needed to complete to identify the murderer: three of these involved solving codes, riddles and clues, the others were practical investigations. As a group, we carried out investigations involving chromatography and test tube analysis. We worked through the experiments first in two pairs, and then compared or results to draw up a conclusion.
After a quick lunch break we were back in the lab, this time doing a challenge run by the university, called ‘Save the TARDIS’. To do this we had to use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and citric acid to create an endothermic reaction that would reduce the temperature of a beaker of water to 10.5°C in one minute. We measured out our ingredients and, after some trial and error, we got it to consistently reach 10.5°C after a minute, which we were really pleased about. Unfortunately, when it was measured and recorded twice, it came up with 12.1°C both times - we think this may have been due to the thermometer we had previously used being a bit faulty.
To end the day we watched an awesome ‘Chemical Magic’ demonstration, which involved, among other things, some ammonium dichromate ‘Indoor Fireworks’, and a reaction using jelly babies that almost, but not quite, persuaded us not to eat sweets!
Overall it was a great day, and we were delighted when we gained first place for the Salters chemistry challenge, winning a set of Molecular Models for the school's chemistry department. The experience of working in a real university lab was really engaging and interesting, and I think the trip really enhanced our knowledge and showed us how much fun chemistry can be when applied to potentially realistic scenarios.
f1 in schools finalists 2016
Six Year 12 students have won the ‘Best Research and Development’ prize in the F1 in Schools national finals at Silverstone Circuit, as well as coming third out of 28 teams in the ‘Reaction Racing’ category.
As part of the F1 in Schools Technology Challenge Competition, run by F1 in Schools UK, students had to design and build a miniature Formula One racing car, which then raced against cars from other teams in the finals.
Members of the Colyton team ‘Impulse’, were Jonny W (Team Manager), Harry W(Design Engineer), James H (Manufacturing Engineer), Richard C (Research and Testing), Izaac C (Graphic Designer), and Michael O (Marketing).
Zeus Braking, Westec Precision Ltd, and Barden Aerospace and Super Precision all agreed to sponsor the Colyton team, as did locally-based engineering firm SC Group (formerly known as Supacat), and the University of Exeter.
Michael said: “F1 in Schools has been a fantastic experience and a great insight into the world of Formula One. The team punched well above their weight, up against established teams with as much as £25,000 sponsorship.”
Richard added: “F1 in Schools is the perfect opportunity to have lots of fun, learn about Formula One, and improve important skills.”
The students were also treated to a gentle lap of the circuit in the School Minibus!
By student reporter Alfie H
VEX Robotics National Finalists and winners of the National Grid Energy Award
On 17 March 2016, the CGS Robotics team travelled to Birmingham for the VEX ‘Nothing but Net’ Nationals. Held at the National Exhibition Centre, the competition ran over three days, with over 40 teams at the competition. We were an all-girl team, with students from years 11 and 12, who had won the equipment to build the VEX Robot in another competition in 2015.
Facing a series of challenges throughout the three day competition, we competed in a number of matches as well as answering questions from the judge about the robot design and the building process. Whilst we didn’t win, we were awarded the ‘National Grid Energy Award’ for extraordinary enthusiasm when it came to competition.
The experience was invaluable for us, allowing us to create contacts with other teams, gain advice and learn more about the competition and VEX robotics – all of which will hopefully help when we compete in the VEX ‘Starstruck’ competition later this year.
Tallie B (Year 11)
ULTIMATE STEM CHALLENGE FINALISTS 2016
The Ultimate STEM Challenge is a nationwide schools competition, run by BP, STEMNET and the Science Museum and it challenges UK students aged 11-14 to put their Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills to the test by tackling real-world problems.
Hundreds of schools from all over the country took part in the competition for a chance to attend a celebratory event at the Science Museum in London.
In the autumn term 2015, Moris, Mithal, Grace and Abhijit in year 8 decided to enter the work they had been doing on an investigation on the efficiency of wind turbines, into the Ultimate STEM Challenge. Their dedication to both their scientific investigation and the video they entered to the competition led to them being invited to the final at the Science Museum in London, to present their findings in the IMAX cinema.
The final was a day that I am sure Moris, Mithal, Grace and Abhijit will remember long after they have left Colyton – not only because they got invited to the Science Museum, but also because they got to present their work to expert judges on a screen over five storeys high!
I was incredibly impressed with the way that they all calmly and clearly presented their findings in what was an imposing setting. They then answered the judges’ questions very thoughtfully. They didn’t win, but they were all fantastic ambassadors for the school and reaching the final in itself was a significant achievement.
The team each had the following to say about their experience:
“Through the process of the ultimate STEM challenge, I felt as if I ventured into the real adult world where you have to make important decisions, keep up with deadlines, deal with the unexpected and manage effort and time. When I realised our team had been selected for the final in London, I was filled with joy as I knew that our hard work had paid off. At the final of the ultimate STEM challenge, I gained experience and confidence at public speaking and presentations.”
"I think that working on our project for the Ultimate stem challenge has really enhanced our understanding and application of STEM subjects. It was a fantastic experience to present our findings in the IMAX theatre to a panel of judges at the Science Museum in London. The challenge was a great opportunity and it really made us think about ways that new research and technology are changing the world, whilst making us appreciate how creative and engaging STEM subjects can be when applied to real-life problems."
“I think that this challenge has really pushed us in terms of keeping a balance between school work and project work. We did certainly work really hard throughout the whole project and it was all shown in the final. We went to the Science Museum in London for the final where we had to present on the IMAX stage. It was an amazing experience.”
“I really enjoyed the challenge and have learnt a lot. I also enjoyed the investigations that we did and I was really happy that we got into the final. It was a real experience, presenting in the IMAX to professional judges. I will never forget that… The London Science Museum and 'Engineer your Future' gallery was a great place to have the final. After doing the investigations, I learnt a lot about teamwork and to motivate ourselves throughout our journey towards the final.”
#LovePhysics Video CompetitioN WINNERS AND RUNNERS UP 2016!
Two pairs of Colyton Grammar School students have won both first and second prize in the Exeter and East Devon Ogden Trust School Partnership’s #LovePhysics video competition.
The competition, open to all students in schools in the Exeter and East Devon area, was to create a film that explained any Physics-related concept in under three minutes in a fun and entertaining way. And, in honour of the 2016 Rio Olympics, the video had to include a pineapple in some way.
There were eleven entries in total, four of which came from Colyton students, covering the topics of projectiles (Japser and Charlie), neutron stars (Damon and Keir), neutrinos (Richard and Hannah), and the structure of the atom (Harry and Alfie).
In the KS4 and above category, Jasper and Charlie’s “Legomation” won first prize (along with £100 of Amazon vouchers), with Damon and Keir’s video coming second (along with £50 of Amazon vouchers).
Charlie said that it was “a really valuable experience to be recognised in this way”, while Keir (whose video with Damon won the competition last year) said “It was a good achievement, and I feel that our video was entertaining and educational.”
The competition was launched by the Ogden Trust just before Christmas, with Valentines Day being the deadline for entries, and the winners were announced during British Science Week.
Dr Usher, Head of Physics at Colyton, congratulated everyone who took part in the competition, saying “The students did a fantastic job, as covering these demanding concepts and producing informative and engaging videos in only three minutes, is a real challenge.”