News - Science Challenge

National Schools’ Analyst Competition

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Westwood College was invited to compete in the Midlands regional heat of the Schools’ Analyst Competition which was held on Friday 26th April 2013 at Keele University. 

The Schools’ Analyst Competition is a national competition run by the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Analytical Division for students studying AS level Chemistry.  To compete a team of three students was needed and Miriam Hares (12WS3), Emily Woodcock (12WS2), and Charlie Eardley (12WS14) enthusiastically accepted the challenge to enter.  Participation did not require the students to have had prior knowledge of the techniques assessed in the competition and all training necessary was given on the day. 

The aim of the competition is to promote an interest in the study of Chemistry, particularly Analytical Science, and encourage students to consider Analytical Science as a career option.  Analytical measurements pervade through all areas of science and society from ensuring safety in the food we eat to detecting trace evidence for use in criminal convictions.  In the 21st century, analytical science is a combination of Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Mathematics and Engineering.

 The experiments undertaken in the competition allowed the students an insight into the exciting technologies that are used routinely throughout analytical science.  The competition enabled them to gain hands on experience with instrumental techniques that they otherwise would not get the opportunity to perform in school.  Mrs Blake accompanied the students but was not able to communicate with them during the competition, and joined other teachers on a separate CPD schedule.

The 10 teams were judged on their skill, understanding, and accuracy, their ability to work as a team and for their safe working practices in the laboratory.  Westwood were placed highly in the competition, just missing out on 3rd place.  The judges commended our team as being the only one to complete one of the graphing activities that the teams were set.  I’m really proud of what Emily, Charlie and Miriam achieved, and they were great ambassadors for Westwood College.  Certificates of attendance and a book token were given to each of the students and they gained some good experiences out of the event which should help them in their career decisions.

 The team had this to say about their day:

We were privileged and excited to be given the opportunity to take part in this competition.  It enabled us to gain hands-on experience in modern well-equipped labs, to wear white coats and goggles, and to use techniques we don’t have access to in school.  Ten teams took part and each team was given the same three tasks.  We had to carry out High Performance Liquid Chromatography, Titrations and Ultra Violet spectroscopy, and we did one of these tasks each.  It was a very inspiring and enjoyable day and we were proud to be placed fourth as we were up against many private schools. 

 

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