Saturday was a dark and cool January morning and four of our finest pupils climbed on the bus to head off to Lancaster University for the Royal Society of Chemistry Top of the Bench Competition. Not a run of the mill Saturday by any means and the closure of the M6 posed a logistical problem to us. Six teams from Lancashire were pitting their wits against each other for one of the places in the final, to be held this year in London.

Our team of four contained Harrison, Matthew, Olly and Sam, who donned their lab coats and safety goggles and braved the elements! First up was the practical challenge “Christmas…the Aftermath!” with the group being split in two. Harrison and Olly undertook a task to find out who Santa was involving chromatography, fingerprint and ions analysis and Matthew and Sam used titration and colourimety to work out which indigestion tablet was the best at combating the excesses of Christmas!

The afternoon session was a written test with each pupil set an age specific paper to challenge the most able to their limit. The day ended with the custard mini rocket challenge. The team had to prepare a mini rocket to launch and after a practise launch the teams were up against each other to see whose rocket went the furthest. Oakhill’s Super Rocket shot past the others to claim first place and the coveted title of Rocket Challenge Winners 2020. In the end Lancaster Girls Grammar School were the Top of the Bench winners in a very tough but close competition. Well done to our fantastic team who really showed they could blast past the others!

Watch the winning rocket launch here.