Physics Olympics 2007

St Peter's School

Physics Olympics 2007

Physics Olympics 2007

Seventy two 13 year old (Year 8) pupils from  fifteen schools across York and the region took part recently in an event created by David Morris, Head of Physics at St Peter’s School, designed to promote the fun of Physics.

Each school brought a team of 4 pupils, to take part in a series of Physics related ‘games/exercises’. All were designed to show the practical application of Physics. One, called ‘My Generation’, entailed optimising the design of turbine blades to see how much electricity was generated by a moving turbine. Another, using Jenga bricks, was designed to show the leverage and counterweights needed in construction. All activities were to a tight time scale and the whole day was competitive with each team amassing points across the day and competing for medals and a trophy.
1st     Fulford School
2nd     Joseph Rowntree School
3rd     Huntington School

The event was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Institute of Physics and local industry sponsorship.

Every year for the last ten year’s or so St Peter’s have been entering a team of Upper Sixth formers into the Liverpool University Physics Olympics Competition. Without fail we have an excellent day and I always come back and think wouldn’t it be a good idea to run a competition for the York Schools and some of our feeder schools from the area.

The idea is that the day is fun, but also challenging and a learning experience. We had an encouraging response with 15 schools sending 18 teams of four year 8 pupils to our inaugural event held on the 20th June. The Institute of Physics very kindly sponsored the event to the tune of £500 and a further £100 came from local industry. The day consisted of six individual egg - race style competitions and all of the winning teams received T shirts and medals. Exercises included designing a turbine for a wind generator, building a marble run, supporting a tile with the lightest mass of straws, building a boat and producing the biggest overhang using a set of bricks.  We were also able to send everyone home with a drinks bottle as a memento of the day. A special Olympics logo was designed with the help of Gavin Harper from the ICT department and thanks must also go to the sixth formers who assisted on the day. I would also like to thank my physics department colleagues, Andrew Rogerson and Graham and Barry, the technicians, without whom the day would not have been possible.

Eight different schools won prizes on the day with the overall winners being Fulford School. We have had lots of positive feedback and are already thinking of events for next year’s competition. Hopefully we will be able to build on this year’s fine start and this will become a date to look forward to for York’s budding physicists.