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Competition inspires next generation of A-level Scientists


Stockport Grammar School hosted its annual Science Competition in July, challenging 44 Fourth Year pupils from 11 local high schools.

The scientists competed in groups of four with each team taking on the name of a famous scientist to complete hour-long tasks in each of the sciences.

In Biology, the sustainability of the use of antibiotics in the future was investigated through a practical looking at the susceptibility of a species of bacteria to a range of antibiotics.

The Physics department tasked the competitors with constructing an electromagnet. The electromagnets were then used to transfer paperclips from one bowl, across a fixed distance, to another on a mass balance. Each team had three attempts with the highest mass transfer being the victor.

The Chemistry task had two aspects: firstly, the teams had to find out what proportion of a polylactide sample had degraded to lactic acid by titration against sodium hydroxide. Secondly, with a water sample that had been polluted with the catalyst for making polylactides, they had to carry out a reaction to create a precipitate followed by a reduced pressure filtration, to determine the aluminium concentration.

The level of competition was high and the results were very close. Overall victors were ‘Team Einstein’ from Reddish Vale High School. ‘Team Pasteur’ from Droylsden Academy were in second place and ‘Team Newton’ from Werneth School finished third.

The competition aims to inspire and challenge pupils who have a passion for science with the opportunity to use advanced lab equipment and to engage in Science beyond the curriculum.

Head of Physics Mrs Heather Fenton commented: “Like detectives, scientists learn from clues that we find through experiments, then figure out how the clues piece together. The more we learn, the more questions we find to ask!

“Science requires us to continually challenge the status quo, to hypothesise and then to back up these ideas with experimental evidence. The competitors performed their experiments with accuracy showing competent practical techniques and analytical skills. It was a pleasure to host such an enthusiastic and inquisitive group of scientists.

“A number of our SGS Sixth Form scientists were on hand in the sessions to assist with the use of equipment and it was nice to see the sharing of knowledge and interest for sciences between them and our visitors.”