Well done to our four Years 9 and 10 students who came 3rd in the Royal Society of Chemistry Top of the Bench (TOTB) competition last week at the University of Oxford – Jasmine (9L) and Mia (10L) reflect on the competition.
‘The TOTB was a fascinating and eye-opening experience, not only encouraging me to tackle complex problems with my team but also inspiring me for the future. In TOTB, we were in a competitive yet friendly environment, utilising the University of Oxford first-year lab for the challenge.
At the beginning of the day, I felt overwhelmed and confused but, as I pushed through, it became easier to communicate with my teammates and devise creative solutions to our complex problems. Using the developed and modern equipment was exciting, and I felt fortunate to have the opportunity.
One of my favourite moments was hearing an inspiring word from a female scientist-entrepreneur; she broadened my views on the future and made me look forward to my career. At the end of the day, I was overjoyed to learn that we came 3rd in the competition and felt proud of the complex solutions we created to address our issues. Overall, the day went by quickly – and I thoroughly enjoyed it.’
‘In the competition, we were given a chemical mixture that we had to separate, and then we had to identify the compounds in it. It was quite challenging, especially since we didn’t have a Year 11 in our team compared to other schools, but we were able to learn a lot about different experiments and equipment. I really enjoyed the learning and the fact we worked so well as a team, which I think was a crucial part of how we managed to achieve 3rd place.
We worked in the University of Oxford first-year chemistry lab, and it was astonishingly huge. There were countless benches to work on and each team that worked in the lab got their own fume cupboard. It seemed to have everything you needed!’