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Future scientists of Wales took up the ‘challenge’

29 September 2017

Image of Tryfan students receiving award

Budding young scientists from all over Wales have been competing in the Life Sciences Challenge annual quiz, run by Cardiff University School of Medicine.

The Life Sciences Challenge is an inter-school competition for Year 10 pupils, designed and delivered by PhD students, medical students, scientists and early career researchers within the School of Medicine.

The fun, interactive and challenging quiz has been created to share an enthusiasm for understanding the natural world and to inspire pupils to consider the extensive possibilities of careers involving science.

In February, nearly 400 pupils from 43 schools across Wales entered the preliminary stages of the competition, which takes place online.  The quiz is run for both English and Welsh medium schools in parallel competitions.  Each team comprises four members who have an interest in maths, science and the world around them. The eight top scoring English and Welsh medium schools took part in the quarter and semi-finals held at the start of the summer in schools across Wales.

Image of students from Bishop Vaughn receiving their award

The finalists vying for the title of 2017 Life Sciences Challenge/ Her Gwyddorau Bywydquiz teams of the year were; Ysgol Bro Morgannwg, Barry versus  Ysgol Tryfan,Bangor and  Whitchurch High School, Cardiff versus Bishop Vaughan Catholic School, Swansea. The finals took place at the Henry Wellcome Research Building at the School of Medicine on Friday 15th September.

This year’s worthy winners were Bishop Vaughan Catholic School (English medium quiz) and Ysgol Tryfan (Welsh medium quiz), and both schools were presented with a trophy and a cheque for £150 to be spent on science within the school.

Dr James Matthews, quiz organiser, said: “It is particularly rewarding that in its fifth year the ‘Life Sciences Challenge/Her Gwyddorau Bywyd’ has for the first time become a national competition across the breadth of Wales. Pupils have traditionally had the opportunity to achieve for their schools in the domains of music, sport and drama so it is fantastic that we now have a school team competition that rewards and recognises those who excel in maths and science.  The quiz is all about inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers and doctors in Wales.”

Nia Jones, a teacher from Ysgol Tryfan, added: “It was a very worthwhile experience! The quiz was both challenging and exciting, especially in the final as it was neck and neck between Ysgol Tryfan and Ysgol Bro Morgannwg. The pupils thoroughly enjoyed the element of challenge posed by including questions based not only GCSE and some As level science but also on general knowledge and current developments at the forefront of science.

“Being able to compete at this level in Welsh is an experience that pupils should be allowed to experience but, unfortunately the opportunities are few and far between. I applaud Cardiff University School of Medicine for seeing the importance of running the competition in both languages.

“Flying down to Cardiff for the final and then winning made for a terrific day!! I have year 10 students already asking about next year’s competition!”

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