A team of children from Wantage Church of England Primary School Nursery won this year’s Big Science Event for Oxfordshire with their experiment on What makes snow melt faster? and The Disraeli School’s Year 2’s experiment Will a grape turn into a raisin? are the 2021 winners of the Buckinghamshire competition.
Runners up in the Oxfordshire competition were Year 3 and 4, Aston Rowant Church of England Primary with “Which food absorbs the most water?” and Year 5, St Michael’s Church of England Aided Primary School who posed the question Which liquid is the most effective at stopping an apple slice from turning brown? Millbrook Combined School Year 3’s Which liquid produces the fastest and the slowest time for Alka Seltzer rockets to pop up? and Bledlow Ridge School Year 6 Which tree saplings grow the fastest? were the runners up in the Buckinghamshire competition.
Primary school children from 18 schools took part in the Big Science Event grand final online today to find the most engaging and creative young scientists in our region. Thanks to sponsors Playforce, both schools received a generous £250 voucher for playground equipment. All the finalists also received prizes of science kits and learning supplies thanks to global healthcare company Abbott, based in nearby Witney.
An annual competition, Science Oxford’s Big Science Event challenges teams of children aged 5–11 to create their own science experiment or investigation and present their findings to a panel of friendly judges. The experiment can be on any topic and this year’s entries included: Do people judge books by their covers? and one for current times Which style of face mask is the comfiest to wear while doing activities?
The main aim of the competition is to encourage pupil-led investigation in science – where children are allowed to choose what or how they investigate. Giving children ownership of their investigations in this way increases their engagement and enjoyment of science.
Our friendly, science-loving judging panel said: “The teams answered the questions really well and understood the purpose of their experiments and the different variables. It was great to see that children were really enthusiastic about the experiments.”
Andrew Kensley, Head of Education at Science Oxford, said: “Science Oxford is passionate about encouraging children in STEM. As always, we’ve been extremely impressed by the talented young school scientists taking part in the Big Science Event. The children have been really engaged when creating their experiments and we love to see their presentations. Despite the pandemic, the standard this year has been as high as ever and it was difficult to choose a winner. Watching the children getting excited about science is very rewarding and we look forward to supporting this initiative for many more years to come.” Abbott’s Site Director at Witney, Shaun Smith, said, “Abbott is proud to support Science Oxford with the judging of the Big Science Event and we would like to thank all the young people who entered. We were very impressed with the enthusiasm of the teams and their understanding of the experiments they presented virtually on posters. We believe this event is important – as a healthcare company, we want to help advance STEM education and inspire the next generation to discover new ways to meet the health needs of tomorrow.”
Dr David Price, Public Engagement Manager, Diamond Light Source, sponsors of the competition said: “Diamond Light Source is really proud and pleased to be able to continue our support of Science Oxford’s Big Science Event. At Diamond we carry out world leading science research that has a global impact on areas as diverse as vaccine development, jet engines or plastic recycling. However, what all of these things have in common, and where they all start, is with the ideas and enthusiasm of scientists and engineers. Generating this spark in people from a young age is incredibly valuable and the Big Science event helps to do just that. By giving children the opportunity and support to investigate their own ideas lets students see that science isn’t just about learning facts, but about creativity, enjoyment and asking the questions they want answered. The past year has been very challenging in terms of reaching students and giving them opportunities such as this, so it is fantastic Science Oxford have been able to run the program and we hope that in the future these students will grow to bring their ideas to facilities such as Diamond.”
Marketing Manager at Playforce, Claire Thew said: “We are so happy to be involved in the Big Science Events again this year. It gives Playforce an opportunity to explore amazing new ways of taking science into the playground and to see exactly the type of experiments and creative learning that children across the UK love. It’s incredible to see the investigations they design and it’s inspiring to see how schools are incorporating outdoor learning into their STEM subjects.”
“Well done to all the schools for their fantastic investigations and a special well done to Wantage Church of England Primary School and The Disraeli School who will receive a £250 voucher for outdoor resources from Playforce. ”
Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Big Science Event. We hope to have the final at our Science Oxford Centre next year!