Primary schools battle it out to win Science Oxford’s Big Science Event

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The winners of this year’s Big Science Event 2024 for Buckinghamshire primary schools, run by Science Oxford, is the team from Year 4 at St Nicolas' Church of England Combined School with their investigation on “What foods are insulators and which are conductors?”

The runners up were the Year 2 team from Robertswood School and Year 6 team from Burford School. The finals were held at the Science Oxford Centre in Headington on 9th July. School children from 77 primaries across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire were competing to get to this year’s grand final – a competition to find the county’s most engaging and experimental young scientists.

The Big Science Event, run annually by Science Oxford, challenges teams of children aged 5–11 to create their own science experiment or investigation and present their findings to a panel of judges from Science Oxford and representatives from Diamond Light Source, Abbott and RM Educational Resources.

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The experiment can be on any topic and previous entries have included “How long does it take for spaghetti to go wiggly?”, “Which are faster, big or small snails?” and “How much air does it take to pop a banana?” The aim of the competition is for children to have fun with science while learning about the experimental process.

Year 4 at St Nicolas' CofE Combined School, winners of the Big Science Event for Bucks 2024Year 4 at St Nicolas' CofE Combined School, winners of the Big Science Event for Bucks 2024
Year 4 at St Nicolas' CofE Combined School, winners of the Big Science Event for Bucks 2024

Science Oxford is the public-facing brand of The Oxford Trust, an independent charity established in 1985 by the late Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood, co-founders of Oxford Instruments. Its mission is to encourage the pursuit of science.

This year nearly 5300 children from Buckinghamshire primary schools took part in the Big Science Event 2024.

After several months of in-school judging, 12 Buckinghamshire teams were shortlisted to take part in the finals. The finalists' investigation questions covered topics such as “Can flowers live in different liquids?”, “How long does slime stretch?” and “Which food are insulators and which are conductors?”

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The competition is supported by Diamond Light Source, Abbott and RM Educational Resources Ltd. This year’s winners received a personal microscope from RM Education Resources as well as tickets to attend a Science Oxford Family Day. Their schools’ receiving an Easi-scope from RM plus a free visit to the Science Oxford Centre or in-school activities. Every child competing took home a goodie bag from Abbott, a Power Lab science kit and copies of Whizz Pop Bang magazine.

Sophie Batin, Education Outreach Manager at Science Oxford, says: “We’ve been extremely impressed by the talented young scientists taking part in the Big Science Event in school. The children have so much fun creating their experiments and the judging panel loves to listen to their presentations. As always, the standard has been extremely high so it has been difficult to select a winner. Watching the children get excited by science is wonderful and rewarding.”

Claire Bhogal, Research & Development Senior Director from Abbott’s Diabetes Care facility in Witney says: “Abbott is a long-term supporter of Science Oxford and the Big Science Event for schools – it is a truly inspiring event and we are very proud to be involved. We enjoy seeing the wide variety of ideas that the children come up with and how they take charge of their own investigations. We believe that the curious minds of today will lead to the innovation for tomorrow’s breakthroughs.”

Amy Griffin, Engagement Team Manager at Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron comments: “The Big Science event is always a great way to get the next generation of STEM students engaged in the excitement and innovation of science. This year’s projects – as always – showed that by allowing students to lead their own scientific investigations and journeys, we can help to empower children to ask and answer the big questions that matter to their worlds. World changing science starts with curiosity, and the Big Science Event fosters that year after year.”

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Jo Hardy, Director of Innovation, RM Educational Resources says: “We’re delighted to continue our support of Science Oxford and their Big Science Event. As an organisation, our mission is to provide the tools to ignite children’s passion for learning and discovery, and events like this are a fantastic opportunity to encourage children to explore the world around them.”

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