Mr Thomas, Head of Science at Bethany School, gives the latest thoughts from his department and how a broad knowledge of all the sciences may just help you eat your breakfast.
A fistful of Gold Awards in National Science Challenges for Bethany Pupils
There is a longstanding national myth that today’s school pupils are not challenged in sciences because all they do is spend more time on their screens while others are landing on the Moon and Mars! Well, this isn’t always true for Bethany scientists. They also go through gruelling national competitions in Science including sitting Olympiads and Science Challenges in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.
One of our highflyers, Max B, sat the Chemistry Olympiad and he is waiting for the results to be released in March this year. The Physics Challenge, another national competition, ran from Monday 24th to Friday 28th January 2022. Max B, Alex B, Nathan Y, and Sebastian S all achieved Gold Awards in the Senior Physics Challenge. Arthur C, Albie C, Kelvin C all achieved Silver. Edward A and Olaoluwa A each achieved a Bronze Award. Biology Olympiads will take place from March onwards.
The Physics competition usually consists of two sets of challenging questions which are largely about physics ideas, but also encourage some wider reading and interest in the subject. It is an opportunity for pupils to take part in a national physics competition and to develop their confidence in the subject. This is not merely for the very top pupils, but for all those who like to engage in problem-solving questions and develop those skills. Of course, the best preparation is through working through some past papers.
The Science Challenges and Olympiads for A Level pupils are an exciting opportunity for them to stretch their problem-solving skills and apply fundamental science principles to novel situations. The Challenges and Olympiads provide an excellent tool to assess and challenge pupils’ ability to work at a high level in Key Stage 5 and beyond. Little knowledge of A Level topics is required, whilst the style of questions is more advanced than pupils will generally be acquainted with. Thousands of pupils take part in the Biology, Chemistry, and Physics national competitions each year.
The good news is that it is not expected that pupils train up for this. They are only encouraged to read around the subject and be familiar with the ideas. Science pupils should develop a broad outlook and an interest in science and not see it all as an exam. This is a competition!