Pupils make science fair with a big bang

Monkseaton Middle School pupils Isla Heenan, Elize Burn, Louise Curry and Frances Bell. Picture by Dan Barron.

Monkseaton Middle School pupils Isla Heenan, Elize Burn, Louise Curry and Frances Bell. Picture by Dan Barron.

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Pupils at one school have shown a flair for science after making it the nationals finals of a major competition.

Monkseaton Middle School, in Whitley Bay, is celebrating after two of its Year 8 teams made it through the finals of the National Science and Engineering Competition, to be held at the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham next March.

Monkseaton Middle School pupils Hannah Gilder, Daire Truemann, Beth Orchard and Kayleigh Reid. Picture by Dan Barron.

Monkseaton Middle School pupils Hannah Gilder, Daire Truemann, Beth Orchard and Kayleigh Reid. Picture by Dan Barron.

The three-day fair is the UK’s largest gathering to celebrate the achievements of young scientists and engineers and is expected to attract over 70,000 visitors.

The eight students wowed judges in the regional heats, each with their tests to explore whether there are similarities between fingerprints and looks, and the affects social media has on our brains.

Their theories and subject matters were so impressive that forensic specialist, Dr Latha Sundar of Arro Supranano Ltd, based at Newcastle University, has now offered them use of their own high tech laboratories to prepare for the final.

Gillian Whitmell, head of science at Monkseaton Middle School, said: “We’re so thrilled for all the girls because they’ve put so much time, effort and thought into the process.

We’re so thrilled for all the girls because they’ve put so much time, effort and thought into the process.

Gillian Whitmell, head of science at Monkseaton Middle School

“Their theories were ambitious, so it was up to us to find ways to help test them. We’re so thankful to the wider educational establishments in Newcastle that have now allowed them to prepare in the right manner.

“They’re working very hard now on being ready for the finals in March. They’ve achieved so much just getting to the finals.”

The teams are made up of Hannah Gilder, Daire Truemann, Beth Orchard and Kayleigh Reid, plus Isla Heenan, Elize Burn, Louise Curry and Frances Bell.

Colin Wilkinson, who works with North Yorkshire Business and Enterprise Partnership (NYBEP) to organise the Big Bang North East programme, added: “The judges, who are all experienced STEM professionals, were very impressed with the girls’ commitment to investigating their projects properly, and these skills are precisely what the north east economy needs to continue to do well.

Monkseaton Middle School pupils Isla Heenan, Elize Burn, Louise Curry and Frances Bell. Picture by Dan Barron.

Monkseaton Middle School pupils Isla Heenan, Elize Burn, Louise Curry and Frances Bell. Picture by Dan Barron.

“We wish them the best of luck in the finals, and hope they’ll continue to remain enthusiastic about STEM subjects and the fantastic opportunities they offer.”

The Big Bang Fair takes place at the Birmingham NEC from March 16 to 19 next year.