Pupils’ bio-diversity project scoops top school-science award
A team from the Tenterden Schools Trust has been named champions in the South East’s top school-science competition, the Bright Spark Awards, winning the £500 top prize.
Students from Homewood School and Sixth Form Centre, Tenterden C of E Junior School and St Michael’s C of E Primary School worked together on the Preserving Diversity Project, designed to increase biodiversity on the schools’ sites and in Tenterden town centre.
The awards were open to primary and secondary schools throughout the South East, and encouraged teams of pupils to use cross-curricular skills in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects in practical projects.
Schools from across Kent and London gathered for the Dragon’s Den-style event and awards ceremony at Discovery Park in Sandwich on Friday 5 July. A total of 13 finalists were quizzed by the judges about their projects before the announcement of the overall champion, eight other winners, and special prizes in the three awards categories of Investigation, Innovation and Invention.
Bright Spark Awards coordinator Hannah Hawksworth said: “One of the things that distinguished the Preserving Diversity Project was the emphasis on co-operation between children of different ages and at different sites. And that sort of collaborative approach is the definition of good scientific practice.”
As well as the overall title, two separate Homewood School teams picked up judges’ awards in two of the three categories. Emily’s recycling and creating project was chosen by Global Associates in the Innovation category. Meanwhile an innovative fuel tank cleaning invention, using fluidization, from William, Ben and James, was selected by Kent Renewable Energy.
The Trust’s entries were organised by Homewood School’s STEM Co-ordinator, Lucy Johnstone: “It’s been very rewarding to see students working together and really thinking about both process and outcomes for their ideas. In particular, the older Homewood students really stepped up not only with their own projects but also in coaching the younger ones – a step nearer to being both engineers and leaders of the future.”