A number of fantastic schools from across the North West have made the finals of this year’s The Big Bang Competition, part of The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair.
The Fair is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for young people in the UK and will be returning to the NEC Birmingham from 11 to 14 March 2020.
The award-winning event, now in its 12th year, demonstrates how classroom activities – for example slime making – can lead to big careers in the world of STEM, such as becoming a chemical engineer. Hundreds of STEM professionals, graduates and apprentices will be on hand for visitors to talk to about what they do and how they got there, while taking part in some seriously fun and hands-on activities with an aim to inspire them to consider a career in STEM.
The Big Bang Fair is also a chance to check out the projects created by students from across the UK that have made it to the UK finals of The Big Bang Competition.
The competition hosts over 200 finalist projects and rewards young people’s achievements in all areas of STEM. Visitors can see inventions and projects that aim to prevent pollution, investigate gravity, help the less fortunate and provide aids for people going through mental health problems and much more.
On the 13 and 14 March, the UK Finals will take place and entrants will compete for over £20,000 worth of amazing prizes, including top and runner-up prizes in the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories for science and engineering, as well as the coveted titles of the GSK UK Young Engineer of the Year and GSK UK Young Scientist of the Year.
The North West schools include:
Chester International School in Chester
A group of students from Chester International School have been selected to compete at the UK finals. The team, made up of Gloria Bellini, Ciaran Hughes and Lucas Duthie, has been announced as one of the winners with the project entitled ‘Conservation Drone Technology’. As part of the project, the group modified a drone to monitor and track the critically endangered red wolf species. Red wolves have lost 99.7 percent of their historical territory and given that the entire current population is located in a small coastal area in South-eastern Texas, the impacts of climate change, such as storms and rising sea levels, makes it a major threat to their future and population. By reducing the drone’s sound and visibility they aim to re-introduce the amount of red wolves into the wild.
St John Rigby RC Sixth Form College in Wigan
Year 12 student, Jade Bentham, from St John Rigby RC Sixth Form College, is one of the winners of the online heats at The Big Bang Fair, with the project entitled ‘HGA’s effect on turkey tendons’.
Jade’s project is centred around a genetic disease called AKU. She wanted to replicate the disease in the tendons of turkeys to understand how it behaves on a deeper level. Turkey tendons act in a way similar to human tendons which could later be used to trial new medicines. She conducted various experiments that involved adding a chemical called HGA at different concentrations, which is found in AKU patients at high levels. The tests allowed her to observe the elasticity and chemistry of the tendons, as well as allowing her to view them under a microscope, to look for changes by eye.
Weatherhead High School in Wallasey
Year 10 students from Weatherhead High School will take their place in this year’s The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition.
The team, made up of Sanjita Akter, Emma Baldwin-Quirk and Libby Evans, devised a project entitled ‘Water Aid Filtration Crate’. The girls developed the idea for an aluminium, reusable and recyclable crate to replace the cardboard and plastic-wrapped crates that are used to transport aid to refugees who have been displaced across the world due to their religion, war or extreme weather conditions. Once emptied the aluminium crate could then be put to another use, that of collecting and purifying rainwater, stream water or other contaminated water to make it fit for human consumption.
Crewe Engineering and Design UTC in Crewe
Two year 13 students from Crewe Engineering and Design UTC, Samuel Suggate and Olaf Zelazko, have been announced as one of the winners of the online heats at The Big Bang Fair, with the project entitled ‘Transit Bolt Challenge’.
As part of the project, they aim to develop a new design which will stop the drum of a washing machine from causing damage during transit back from the customer. Their product is a combination of two 3D printed brackets that fit to the inner rim of the washing machine drum, a strut bar that connects the two brackets together and a brace belt / ratchet strap that tightens the brackets to the drum which pushes it towards the door and holds it in place. This design will reduce costs, increase profits and ultimately reduce the waste of unusable washing machines.
Loreto Grammar School in Altrincham
Year 8 students, Beth Moore and Lauren Cuthbertson, from Loreto Grammar School have won one of the online heats at The Big Bang Fair, with the project entitled ‘MediPlus’.
As part of the project, they have conceptualised an innovative new concept in the health sector that revolutionised the way the UK’s health system copes with the flow of patients in their A+E departments. MediPlus solves the waiting time problem with an app available to those with devices such as smartphones, computers and laptops. It stands apart in the market because it is an all-encompassing health app, with many features such as a hospital mapping feature, a car parking feature and accounts for everyone. The app alerts patients to the nearest free A+E department or specialist hospital. This can aid doctors in giving the best care to a smaller group of patients.
A group of students from Liverpool College have been announced as one of the winners of the regional heats at The Big Bang North West.
Sarah Doran, Emily Tsang, Lucy Crawford and Ethan Field created a project entitled ‘Hygienegg’. The students made a product which is a one-use body wash, shaped in an egg; it is packaged in a rubber pouch which is made from recycled rubber gloves. Rubber, being waterproof and a biodegradable material, makes for an extremely suitable material for packaging the product; after all, many people want to be able to store their products in the shower. The rubber itself is yellow on the outside and white on the inside, which fits in with the egg theme. The egg itself is slightly bigger than a chocolate mini egg and when used, it should dissolve in the person’s hand, ready to use as a body wash.
Liverpool Life Science UTC
Five teams from Liverpool Life Sciences UTC, from years 10 and 13, have been selected to compete at the upcoming finals.
A total of 11 students were winners of the regional heats at The Big Bang North West. One team was made up of Reuben Jackson, Jake Giles, Elliot Storer, Hunayn Ahme and Macauley Wright, and their project is entitled ‘Building Blocks to the Future’. Their idea is to replace asbestos and fibreglass in the average UK home/industrial buildings, as a result of the horrible long/short term effects of asbestos on the body.
Joe Thomas and Sofia Wright made up another team, who’s project is titled ‘Hydro – Filtricity’ and as part of their project, they have combined a filter to remove micro plastics from household waste water with a water turbine, that uses kinetic energy from water to generate electricity, to create a product that will be beneficial in both high income and low income countries.
A team of students involving Saule Pakenaite and Alexandra Stravaridou along with Kim Hendrik-Murk (solo project) came up with ideas help the global issue of tackling plastic waste. Their projects are titled ‘What poisons the fish, poisons you too’ and ‘Finding the energy in plastics’, respectively.
Another pupil who did a solo project was Ben Monaghan who’s project was titled ‘Spectrophotometer’. In this project, a device that measures the absorbance and transmittance of a substance by firing a particular wavelength of either visible or UV light through it has been designed, this device has been named a Spectrophotometer.
Sandbach High School and Sixth Form College
Keerrthana Mohana Kumran and Cassia Pearce from Sandbach High School and Sixth Form College have been named as one of the winners of the regional heats at The Big Bang North West, with the project from the group titled ‘Modular Hospitals’. As many people around the world don’t have easy access to medical care, sometimes natural disasters or epidemics mean that hospitals need to be built quickly and cheaply. One solution is to build modular hospitals. Their aim is to design hospitals that could be adapted for natural disasters.
The Sutton Academy in Merseyside
A team of excited students from The Sutton Academy will take their place in this year’s The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition.
The group, made up of Libby Hanlon, Leah Birchall, Louise Williams, Georgia Lake, Jasmine Crosby, Kaley Harrison, Bethany Hosker, Caitlin Unsworth and Emily Billington, has been announced as one of the winners of the regional heats at The Big Bang North West, with the project from the group titled ‘Interactive Biology’. As part of the interactive project, the students will be hoping to enable young children to understand how their body works and how to keep it healthy.
Birkenhead School in the Wirral
Birkenhead School Year 12 students will also compete at the UK finals of the upcoming science and engineering competition after their exciting project caught the eye of judges.
The team, made up of Will Blessing, Chris Kenchington, John Nguyen, Kevin Wu, Cahan O’Driscoll, Alex Herod, Rohan Shenoy, Edward Oulton and Shivank Sharma have devised a project entitled ‘Hydration of the Nation – Why the Complication?’ As part of the project, their aim is to balance the need to hydrate and focus on the demand on our resources. This involved a critical look at the range of beverages available, the impact of the sugar tax, the increased use of artificial sweeteners and the need for a sustainable approach.
St John Plessington Catholic College in the Wirral
A group of students from St John Plessington Catholic College have been announced as one of the winners of the regional heats at The Big Bang North West.
The team, made up of Luke Chadwick, Cameron Pierce, Ben Weedall, Daniel Larway and Aaron Larway with the project from the group titled ‘Can axolotl (AKA Mexican walking fish) slime fight disease?’. As part of the project, the students have conducted experiments on their own axolotls to see if their slime can fight disease.
The Big Bang Fair is aimed at young people primarily aged 7-19. It will see over 100 experiences, several interactive shows, a STEM playground and careers talks and guidance taking place from 11 to 14 March, with school days on Wednesday to Friday and a public day on Saturday.
In amongst the young talent, viewing their projects and speaking to competitors you will find a host of judges and VIPs, all looking for the next GSK Young Engineer and GSK Young Scientist of the Year. Among the list of industry professionals are the likes of Head Stemette & co-founder of STEMettes Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, UK Tech Expert, children’s author and television presenter Jason Bradbury, TV personality, author and maths teacher Bobby Seagull and inventor and co-founder of Kids Invent Stuff, Ruth Amos.
The Fair is free to attend and for both schools and families, but you must register in advance. Registration is open now: www.thebigbangfair.co.uk
Within the North West region, The Big Bang Fair North West is organised by Educate Awards sponsor for the Outstanding Commitment to STEM category, All About STEM. The Fair will takes place on 7 July 2020 at the Exhibition Centre Liverpool.
For more regional events to do with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, visit www.allaboutstem.co.uk.