On Friday 19th January five of the most talented Year 10 scientists (Anastasia Balanyuk, Jay Foster-Mills, Jamie Huxley, Adriana Kurka and Matthew Keeble) competed in the inaugural Science Olympics, held at Stoke 6th Form College. As our “Olympians” set off from school, buoyed by the return of their 5th competitor, Matthew, excitement turned to trepidation of what was to come. Would the rival schools know more about Science? Had they been training for 4 years? What would the lunch be like?
The first activity saw Ormiston Meridian students tasked with building a boat to carry the maximum mass possible, using only card, plastic and sellotape. Anastasia’s competitiveness was infectious, and soon the team were desperately cutting, sticking and folding, in the hope of making the best boat. What resulted was described as a “floating samosa” by Matthew, but still the team managed to come second in the heat, their boat carrying a mass of 550g. Unfortunately in heat 2 the other schools all surpassed this mass, leaving the team trailing in 5th place.
In the second challenge pupils were introduced to the subject of Geology, and were given the challenge of extracting the most metal from an ore, for the least money. A miscalculation by the team saw them penalised for a poor budgeting, resulting in a bronze medal in this event. A quick pep talk amongst the team before the next task soon bolstered their spirits.
The third activity couldn’t have been any better suited to our skilled scientists. Having only recently used “molymods” in their chemistry lessons our budding biochemists set about building a number of biological molecules from a 2 dimensional picture. As expected, this was a challenge that our team excelled in, with a winning time of 6 minutes 37 seconds, a full minute faster than any other school. Some controversy arose towards the end of this enthralling event, with Anastasia demanding a steward’s enquiry as Ormiston Meridian were awarded the silver medal. Upon closer inspection it was apparent that the school who took the gold were deserved winners for outscoring our team in the quiz.
Confidence was high as the team took on the final practical round; chemistry. Knowing that victory in this round would place Ormiston Meridian in the medal positions the team performed admirably. Adriana and Anastasia started the round off well, quickly applying their knowledge of collision theory to the proceedings. Matthew, Jay and Jamie soon formulated their plan for collecting gas, and the team worked together to set up their equipment correctly. A flash of inspiration from the team resulted in them producing the most gas, as quickly as they could, and romp ahead in the round. Struck down by the curse of all champions elect, over-confidence, the team failed to complete the written aspect of this round in the allotted time. This oversight saw the team go into the lunch break unsure if they had done enough to secure a place on the podiums, and in need of nutrition.
Lunch gave the team no time to relax though, with a challenging maths quiz given to all competitors. This was to be Ormiston Meridian’s defining moment in the competition, as ingenuity, teamwork and resilience came to the fore, and the team secured an (almost) unrivalled 100% result. Was this enough to guarantee a gold, silver or bronze?
Ormiston Meridian Academy achieved a sensational second place, securing a silver medal and the honour of being Science Olympians. The five members of the team were fantastic throughout the day and their speed of thought, application of knowledge, teamwork and humour made this an enjoyable enrichment experience to be part of.
Well done Team OMERA!