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Search and rescue team wins school science contest

The Bright Spark Awards 2020 contest has revealed the most enterprising young scientists in Kent schools.

Bright Spark Awards Champions 2020: Submersible Search and Rescue System Team from Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, Canterbury.
Bright Spark Awards Champions 2020: Submersible Search and Rescue System Team from Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, Canterbury.

Organisations judging the youngsters’ entries were Pfizer – whose COVID-19 vaccine in collaboration with BioNTech began its UK rollout out last week – along with Kent Renewable Energy, Integrated Technologies Ltd (ITL), Discovery Park, BAE Systems Rochester, Global Associates, Megger, Golding Homes, and EDF Energy.

The Bright Spark Awards Champions’ Trophy and £500 cash prize went to a group from Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Canterbury. They designed a Submersible Search and Rescue System to detect debris or bodies in the water, narrowing the search area and cutting response time for accidents in open water.

Wowed by the group’s presentation, the judges commented: “It felt like it was a tangible project - something that was well thought out and could really work.”

As part of their prize, the team will get to spend a day at the Dover headquarters of electrical testing kit manufacturer Megger.

Finalists who missed out on the top spot but still impressed the judges included Project Jumpgen, also from Simon Langton Grammar. The group designed children’s play equipment that promoted fun, exercise and eco awareness, and created aspirational superhero Captain Jumpgen.

They were awarded an experience day courtesy of pioneers in medical technology ITL.

Pfizer, Discovery Park, and Kent Renewable Energy together agreed to provide an unforgettable experience day for the F1 in Schools team and solo entrant Daniel Hampton, both from Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Faversham.

Daniel, whose ambition is to become a marine biologist, carried out an in-depth investigation into identifying and quantifying microplastic pollution in Faversham Creek.

The F1 in Schools team – winners of many regional, national and worldwide school STEM competitions – have used their time and sponsorship money to ‘give back’ to the local community and inspire students, delivering exciting activities in schools such as the Primary STEM Challenge Project.

Global Associates awarded iTunes vouchers to the Preserving Biodiversity Project team from the Tenterden Schools Trust. Last year, students from Homewood School and Sixth Form Centre, Tenterden CofE Juniors and St Michael’s CofE Primary worked together to increase biodiversity on site and in the town centre. This year, they extended the project by linking with the dementia-friendly community venue Just the Ticket Memory Café, investigating how to use colours and flowers to create a ‘chill out’ area that will assist happiness and wellbeing.

Bright Spark Awards judges.
Bright Spark Awards judges.

Bright Spark Awards is an initiative from children’s health and wellbeing charity the KM Charity Team. Each year, groups of primary or secondary students are encouraged to collaborate using cross-curricular skills in STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths – to innovate, investigate and invent.

The Dragons’ Den-style element of the competition, whereby teams take to the stage at Discovery Park in Sandwich to present their work and answer questions, was shelved this year due to the pandemic. Instead, a virtual meeting of the judging panel determined the winners based on entrants’ video presentations.

The 2021 contest will be open to entry soon here with the best projects invited to an exciting live final in the summer term in a bid to win the champions' trophy and £500.

Businesses interested in joining the judging panel should contact event organiser Maxine Tarquini of the KM Charity Team at mtarquini@thekmgroup.co.uk.

The charity’s initiatives include the Kent Teacher of the Year Awards 2021 which is open now to nominations from members of the public at www.KMCharityTeam.co.uk/TOTY

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