Winners of the Big Science Event at Home announced

21 July 2020


The winners of Science Oxford’s Big Science Event at Home competition have been announced!


First prize goes to brother and sister Leah and Harry Gould (ages 9 and 10, Oxford) who investigated “Which maze will the guinea pigs complete the fastest: sight, memory or smell?”. They will receive £500-worth of Playforce playground equipment for their school – St Andrew’s Primary School in Headington – and a subscription to The Curiosity Box. Congratulations to Leah, Harry and their guinea pigs, Snowy and Toffee.

Runners up were Rowan & Lucy Baker (ages 7 and 10, Oxford) for their ice-cool Corona science experiment; Ewan McGuffin (age 8, Oxfordshire) for finding out “How strong is bamboo?”; Joey & Ollie Harrison (ages 6 and 7, Buckinghamshire) who ran an investigation “To help Flamie, the baking dragon, discover which chocolate melts the slowest?”; and Trinity Beesley (age 8, Kent) for testing paper strength.

The judges also awarded a special prize for the best investigation from a school. This went to Bubble 6A from Brookmead School (Leighton Buzzard) who looked at “How far can you drop a vinegar-soaked egg for it to bounce?”

With many children in lock down this summer, Science Oxford’s first Big Science Event at Home challenged teams of children to create their own science experiment or investigation. Children came up with a question they really wanted to find the answer to, designed and carried out their investigation and shared what they discovered with us. The investigation could be on any topic and the competition was open to all ages. Children could work on their own, with their family, with a group at school or even with a friend on Zoom. Results could be presented in any format – films, reports, photo diaries. The aim of the event was to celebrate curiosity and creativity and encourage young people to have fun with science.

We had 160 entries from over 360 children and 10+ schools. Investigation questions ranged from “How long does it take for spaghetti to become wiggly?” and “Where’s the best place for insects and spiders to live?” to “Which room does our dog Rosie like the best?” Entries were mainly submitted from teams in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire but a few entries came from as far afield as Edinburgh and Essex.

Investigations were presented to our panel of friendly, science-loving judges – including Renee Watson from The Curiosity Box; Sarah Bearchell from Sarah’s Adventures in Science; and Claire Bhogal and Peter Blackman, directors of Abbott – who selected this year’s winners.

The panel of judges said: “We were extremely impressed by the talent of those taking part in the Big Science Event at home. Children were incredibly inventive with their investigations and there was an amazing cross section of entries. As you can imagine, it was hard to select five winners from a strong list of contenders. We were really impressed by the winning entry – the planning, the risk assessment, the tools they used and how they reflected on the order of their experiment. It was very well thought out.”

Thanks to our sponsors and supporters, there are lots of lovely prizes to give away. The winners Leah and Harry Gould will receive £500 of Playforce playground equipment for their school – St Andrew’s Primary in Headington – and subscription to The Curiosity Box. The four runners up will also a Curiosity Box subscription and tickets to our Science Oxford Centre, which is re-opening in August. The winning school entry can book a free outreach session from Science Oxford and each child will receive family tickets to the Science Oxford Centre. We also had some specially-commended entries, who will be sent Curiosity Box subscription or tickets to our Science Oxford Centre.

Science Oxford’s successful Big Science Event has been running in schools across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire since 2009. Thanks to funding from the Evolution Education Trust, this is the first time that we’ve run the Big Science Event at home.

Lock down has severely impacted children’s access to experiential learning by taking them out of the classroom and removing access to clubs and activities. Parents have taken a larger role in how their children learn and supporting and extending what teachers are providing on-line. The Big Science Event at Home has been a great way to get lots of young people excited by science and to explore the world around them.

Bridget Holligan, Director of Education & Engagement at Science Oxford says: “Science Oxford is passionate about encouraging children in STEM. We hope that the Big Science Event at home has given children the opportunity to learn about scientific enquiry and see science as something creative and fun.”

The competition was generously funded by the Evolution Education Trust, sponsored by Abbott, Playforce, and Diamond Light Source, and supported by The Curiosity Box.

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