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Olympic Physics Challenge for Local Schools

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Year 9 scientists from across the borough enjoyed a day of fun and learning as Bolton School hosted its third annual Physics Olympics. The day saw teams of four gifted and talented students from local secondary schools compete in a series of day-long challenges while utilising the expertise and facilities at the School.

The event was organised by Mr Brendan Ickringill, who is Bolton's Ogden Physics Teaching Fellow based at Bolton School. He enthused: "This is the third year that the Physics Olympics has taken place at Bolton School, and this year 19 schools from across Bolton and Lancashire enjoyed a day of challenging but fun activities. It is fantastic to see so many pupils engaging with Physics and enjoying themselves. There has been a real buzz about the day and I hope that pupils carry this enthusiasm back to their schools and continue to see Physics as a vibrant subject with a rich variety of opportunities. I would like to offer my thanks to the teachers involved in making today such a success and to our own Sixth Form students who have been a great help throughout the day.”

Each school sent a team of four pupils (with some schools sending two teams) who moved around the laboratories undertaking five 30 minute Physics-related tasks. Delayed Timing involved pupils having to maximise the time a ball-bearing spends on a ramp over a set distance; Generation X saw them constructing a turbine to turn a generator to produce the highest possible voltage; they attempted to build and launch an air-powered rocket in the Pressure Bullseye challenge; Sink or Swim, using marbles, tested their understanding of buoyancy; and Jelly Baby Towers their construction skills. There was also a Fermi Quiz, completed over lunch, which involved estimating answers to the nearest power of ten.  

The Fermi Quiz was won by Bolton School Boys’ Division, Delayed Timing by The Derby High School, Generation X by Bolton Muslims Girls School, Sink or Swim by St Josephs RC School, Jelly Baby Towers by Rivington and Blackrod High School and Bullseye by Harper Green School who, due to their high ranking across all tasks, were also the overall winners on the day. Every pupil walked away with a goody bag containing various Physics related items from the Ogden Trust and the Institute of Physics. 

Bolton School was the first school in the country and second only to the University of Warwick in having an in-residence Ogden Physics Teaching Fellow.

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Bolton School Physics Olympics

Year 9 scientists from across the borough enjoyed a day of fun and learning at the third annual Physics Olympics

Bolton School Physics Olympics

Students completed a number of Physics related tasks including Jelly Baby Towers

Bolton School Physics Olympics

The overall winners on the day were Harper Green School