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Minds Exercised in Physics Olympics

Friday, 03 December 2010

Gifted and talented Year 9 pupils from fifteen schools from across the borough had a day of fun and learning as Bolton School hosted a Physics Olympics.  

The event was organised by Mr Mark Ormerod, who is Bolton's Ogden Physics Teaching Fellow based at Bolton School.  He enthused: "It's been a great day for further stimulating interest in Physics among local 11-16 year old pupils.  We have clearly met our objective of making sure pupils have fun, whilst being asked to think and learn; we have also provided an opportunity for them and their teachers to meet fellow Physics enthusiasts.  I would like to offer my thanks to the teachers involved in making today such a success and to the Sixth Form students who helped out.  I would also like to thank Mr David Morris from St Peter's School in York for inspiring me and helping me with the event." 

Each school sent a team of four pupils (with some schools sending two teams) who moved around the laboratories undertaking a range of Physics-related tasks, ranging from designing and building, taking measurements and testing.  There was also a Fermi Quiz, completed over lunch, which involved estimating answers to the nearest power of ten.  

Mrs Barbara Grundy, North West Consultant for the Ogden Trust, thanked the pupils for their participation in their event by saying: "We have definitely seen some budding Einsteins at work today and I hope you have been inspired.  The country needs to see more young people studying Physics and going on to University." 

The five tasks revolved around the following themes - Delayed Timing (won by Deanery High School), Generation X (also won by the Deanery High School), Too Hard to Resist (won by Westhoughton High School), Sink or Swim (won by Bolton School Boys' Division) and Jelly Baby Towers (won by St Wilfrid's Church of England School).  The Fermi Quiz was won by Bury Grammar School Girls, 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. 

Emma Crofts of Bury Grammar School Girls said: "The day has been really good fun - my team-working skills have been developed and so too my Physics knowledge!" 

Bolton School is 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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Five different tasks

Pupils took part in five different Physics tasks during the day - they were assisted by Sixth Form helpers

Physics Fun

Pupils had fun whilst they learnt during the day

Bury Grammar School for Girls

Bury Grammar School for Girls were the overall winners, pictured here with Mr Ormerod and Mrs Grundy