Pupils from a Brent school proved themselves ‘top of the class’ in a competition among young scientists. The event was held by Middlesex University at its Hendon campus, on 13 March as part of National Science and Engineering Week and was attended by pupils from junior schools in Brent and Barnet.
Amy Nagle and Dominic Quayson (pictured) who are in year 6 at Brent’s Our Lady of Grace Junior school overcame stiff competition from pupils in no less than 14 other junior schools to emerge triumphant in Middlesex’s Young Scientist and Engineer competition.
Almost 60 children aged 10 and 11 competed in different science and engineering related workshops held on the University campus. Potential crime scene investigators found out about biomedical science; fitness and hand-to-eye coordination was tested in the sports science workshop; the youngsters had the chance to build their own computer using electronic components and program it in another workshop; and they instructed robotic vehicles in the ‘Cafe Storm Challenge’. The day was also an opportunity for these youngsters to experience student life on a university campus.
Brent youngsters Amy and Dominic were very excited to win their prizes – a voucher for their school to spend £100 on educational toys produced by Middlesex University’s Teaching Resources department, as well as one each of the robotic vehicles they had worked with in the workshops.
“I was quite overwhelmed because I didn’t think I’d get it. I guess I knew more than I thought I did”, said Amy Nagle. And Dominic was “kind of surprised; I didn’t think we’d done that well.”
Both Amy and Dominic want to continue their interest in science. Although Dominic has not yet decided what kind of career he wants to pursue, he says that his favourite subject at school is maths. On the other hand, Amy has an unusual reason for wanting to pursue a career as a vet. “I’m obsessed with horses and if I’m a vet I won’t have to pay any vet bills!” she says.
Amanda Spate is Middlesex University’s Outreach Coordinator and organised the University’s Young Scientist and Engineer competition. Afterwards she commented: “This is the third year we have run the competition and we get more and more schools and children taking part each year. We were very impressed with the level of enthusiasm for science that the children demonstrated, and hope to see quite a few of them back at Middlesex when they are old enough for university. Many of them, including Amy and Dominic, are our scientists and engineers of the future”.
National Science and Engineering Week is a ten-day celebration of science, engineering and technology which is running from 12 to 21 March 2010. It is coordinated by the British Science Association.