A mixture of nerves and excitement filled Freddie, Sasha, Hamish and Zara as we made our way into Bradfield College’s fantastic Science department ready to start the Prep Schools’ Science Challenge.
Children from 20 different prep schools started to arrive with similar feelings to the Pinewood team and the atmosphere was tense! The children were briefed that the challenge would consist of 3 practical challenges and a quiz in each science and that they needed to work as a team in order to do well. Our first challenge was Biology, which involved observational skills whilst looking at plant cells through microscopes and studying the behaviour of maggots when put on a petri dish, that was half in the light and half in the dark. The next challenge was all about Physics where the children were tasked with making a loudspeaker out of cardboard, paper and copper wire that would play music from an iPhone. A much needed biscuit and juice break followed the Physics challenged and once the children were recharged and ready to go they headed into their final challenge: Chemistry. Here the children had to identify unlabelled chemicals by mixing them with other, labelled chemicals and observe the reactions between them. This, I was told, was ‘really cool’! Dr Brooks, Bradfield’s Director of Science, who then gave a Whizz, Bang, Pop demonstration that involved hydrogen balloons, liquid nitrogen and a little bit of scientific ‘magic’ that left both children and adults in awe. We then headed over to the quad where we were treated to a Nitrogen ‘bomb’ demonstration and then the all-important results. The children all fell silent for the first time that afternoon whilst Dr Brooks read out 3rd place (no mention of Pinewood), then 2nd place (still no mention of Pinewood) and then, with suspense at its highest, he announced that Pinewood had won!! A huge well done to the Pinewood team, they worked sensibly, scientifically and as part of a team and we are all very proud of them!