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Three groups of pupils from Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, Canterbury in the final of the KM Bright Spark Awards

By Liz Nicholls

An unprecedented three entries from the same school have made it through to the finals of the KM Bright Spark Awards.

Katerina Easterbrook, Samuel Goldsmith and Thomas Chinnery of the MBP2 Project at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys.
Katerina Easterbrook, Samuel Goldsmith and Thomas Chinnery of the MBP2 Project at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys.

The groups of pupils, all from Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Canterbury, will pitch their outstanding projects at a Dragons’ Den style event staged at Discovery Park, Sandwich. The three entries were Project MBP² and The Beetles Project for the competition’s Investigation category and Project Solegen for the Innovation category.

The Beetles Project analysed the iridescence and structural colour in elytra (beetle wing cases) of the C. Wallacei beetles from Malaysia. Some of the project’s findings have already been presented at the 2017 International Science Conference at St Paul's School, London.

Ilya Carey, pupil on The Beetles Project, said: “This species evolved to be iridescent because it camouflages it. When you have predators looking at this beetle from above, it’s going to look lighter and it’s going to blend in more into its green background.”

Fellow pupil Niamh Alexander added: “There are several applications in the real world for this, for example the fashion industry, arts, and the military.”

The pupils working on Project Solegen have designed and manufactured a shoe sole that harnesses the kinetic energy from footsteps.

Megan Demley, pupil on the project, said: “We decided to use this for a GPS tracker so we put an iBeacon in there. It could be used for many things like parents tracking younger children, or hikers - when they’re isolated they could get lost and it could be quite useful.”

“The technology in our device will be able to link with an app on the parent’s phone and this app will enable a parent to keep track of their loved ones,” added pupil James Mortley.

The third and final entry from the school is the Myelin Basic Protein Project (MBP²) which looked at the causes of multiple sclerosis.

Samuel Goldsmith, a member of the team, said: “We are unable to work with human brain tissue in the central nervous system so we have been working with yeast - due to the incredibly similar biochemistry. Using a licence that we have to work with the human gene, we have been placing the human MBP in yeast and working with it that way.”

Simon Dolby, chief executive of the KM Bright Spark Awards, said: “It is truly astonishing the work going on in schools today to foster an excitement around STEM topics. I am delighted to showcase some of the leading projects at our awards event at Discovery Park next month. It will be an exciting experience for the teams to present their work and field questions from our panel of dragons. I wish all of our amazing competitors the very best of luck.”

The KM Bright Spark Awards competition encourages pupils from primary or secondary school to collaborate using cross-curricular skills in maths, IT, science and engineering. Youngsters compete for trophies and money can’t buy experience prizes plus the overall champions’ prize of £500.

Judging the finalists will be representatives from Astro Communications Ltd, Benenden Hospital Trust, Integrated Technologies Ltd, Pfizer, Golding Vision, Prendon Panels Ltd, BAE Systems, Global Associates, and Megger.

Find out more about the KM Bright Spark Awards at www.kmcharityteam.co.uk and click on the ‘Education’ link or click HERE.

Organisations interested in getting involved with the 2018 event should contact Simon Dolby at sdolby@thekmgroup.co.uk or call 0844 264 0291.

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