24 March: Royal Society of Chemistry Top of the Bench Finals, London

A team of four young chemists from Stroud High in Gloucestershire represented the Bristol and District branch of the Royal Society of Chemistry at this event held at the Science Museum and Imperial College.

There were 3 tasks to complete; a written test, an information seeking exercise in the Science Museum galleries and a practical component hosted at Imperial College.
The team  worked with Tim Harrison in preparation for the competition.

Their report follows.

Maryia, a Y11 student, said she found the day ‘interesting and very inspiring’, in her opinion, the practical team task was the hardest challenge of the day as they had a limited time to do the task they were set; furthermore Maryia commented favourably on the general chemical knowledge she gained during the day, due to the various tasks they had to perform. The written test wasn’t as hard as she expected but it was still challenging. Overall, she enjoyed the day and found the trip a lot of fun and very educational.

Lianne, a Y9 student says: ‘I found the day a very educational and fun experience and it was great meeting lots of other students from different schools, and some students were even from Belgium! The day was also great fun because we took part in a range of tasks which both tested our knowledge and improved it greatly. The hardest part was probably the individual test, because I had learnt most of the things in the older test paper and didn’t know the answers to my own.’ Lianne also says that she enjoyed the research part of the day the most because they were actually walking around the museum and finding out different things. ‘Overall, I had a great day, and it was thanks to Miss Ouston (Deputy Head) & Mr Harrison (Bristol).’

Robyn, a Y10 student says: ‘The whole day was really rewarding and I learnt so many new things from the day. The general knowledge part was particularly challenging and the most beneficial part of the day was going around the museum as we had to explore all of the exhibitions to gain the information. The practical task was quite difficult as we weren’t given very many instructions. However it was good fun working as a team and I loved making new friends from the experience. Lastly, I really enjoyed getting the chance to get the trip across to London and explore and experience both the Science Museum and the Imperial College.’

Hilary, a Y9 student says: ‘The day was a sociable and educational experience. The first written test I found to be challenging, but not too much so, it seemed to be the correct standard for my level of education, but I felt that half an hour was too long a time, and I spent 15 minutes at the end being bored. The research in the museum was fun and I learnt a lot from it, as I felt more involved than with the written test. The questions were quite hard to find, but it became easier as I became more familiar with the section of the museum. The final section was more a test of teamwork than chemical knowledge, and I found this part enjoyable. Overall I did find the day beneficial and would be interested in becoming involved with something like it again.’

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