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Top young scientists from Kent and Medway schools rewarded at KM Bright Sparks Awards staged at Discovery Park, Sandwich

By Liz Nicholls

Ten teams of science whizz kids have tamed a group of dragons to emerge victorious at the KM Bright Spark Awards 2017.

Overall winners from Simon Langton Girls' Grammar School, Canterbury for their project 'Does Biodiversity Make Us Happy?' plus contestants and judges at the KM Bright Spark Awards 2017.
Overall winners from Simon Langton Girls' Grammar School, Canterbury for their project 'Does Biodiversity Make Us Happy?' plus contestants and judges at the KM Bright Spark Awards 2017.

The youngsters presented a variety of innovations, investigations, and inventions to an impressed panel of judges at the dragons’ den style competition final. Staged at Discovery Park, Sandwich by the KM Charity Team, the exciting event saw the top 10 teams compete for trophies, experience prizes, and the title of KM Bright Spark Awards Champions 2017.

This year the champions’ crown and £500 prize money went to pupils from Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar, Canterbury for their ‘Does Biodiversity Make You Happy?’ project. Their investigation involved testing more than 600 individuals to confirm a positive correlation between spending time in the school’s orchard and improved psychological and physiological wellbeing.

The champs also received a certificate for their school to display plus a money can’t buy experience prize donated by Astro Communications that will be tailored to the group.

All of the finalists were filmed prior to the awards to show their projects in detail and each video was screened before the team of pupils took to the stage. The young boffins were questioned by a panel of dragons including Sofie Wheelgon of Prendon Panels and Graham Heritage of Megger.

Sofie said: “The projects have been incredible and the young people’s presentation skills were phenomenal. I’m really impressed with their ideas and their inventions.”

Graham added: “I was impressed by the diversity of the entries, the thought that had been put into the projects and the sheer determination to succeed. Wonderful set of teams and I wish them all success for the future.”

Other judges quizzing the contestants included Tom Ackrill of ITL Group, Steve Hodges from Astro Communications, Robert Cook of Pfizer, John Giles of Benenden Hospital Trust, Kimberley Anderson from Discovery Park, David Land of Global Associates, Helen Critcher of Golding Vision, and Emma Gibbons from BAE Systems.

The dragons dished out experience prizes to the teams including Project Solegen by Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys who impressed ITL Group and Megger; the Discovery Park prize went to Greenacre Academy’s ‘Solutions for the Planet’; and Team MBP2 from Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys were rewarded by Benenden Hospital Trust.

‘Is There Life Out There’ by Invicta Grammar caught the eye of Golding Vision; Canterbury Academy’s Graphene Water Filter Project was selected by Pfizer; and a first aid drone initiative from The Hayesbrook School was the winner of Global Associates’ experience prize.

BAE Systems rewarded the Beetles Project by Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys; and in addition to the overall champions Astro Communications donated an experience prize to Zurafa Sakel from Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar for her investigation into the effects of classical music on short term memory.

Pupils from Chiselhurst and Sidcup Grammar didn’t go home empty handed receiving goody bags donated by Megger for their work on Project Luminescence.

Simon Dolby of the KM Charity Team said: “The range of talent on display was extraordinary. Not only are the teams required to collaborate on a STEM project but also to articulate their work in front of an audience - and think on their feet to field questions from an esteemed panel of industry experts.”

He added: “Previous finalists have clinched highly sought-after apprenticeships due to their performance at the KM Bright Spark Awards. Taking part in the competition is an excellent way to ignite and reward an interest in STEM subjects and encourage young people to pursue an exciting career.”

To find out more, visit www.kmcharityteam.co.uk or click HERE. To view photographs of the event, click HERE.

Businesses interested in becoming a dragon at next year’s event should contact Simon Dolby on 07989 164 752 or at sdolby@thekmgroup.co.uk.

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