The winner of 2011 Queen's University Bioscience Olympiad is
St Mary's Grammar School
+Down High School
+Our Lady and St Patrick’s College
+Royal Belfast Academical Institution
+Royal School Armagh
+St Mary Grammar
+St Patric;s Academy, Dungannon
+St Patrick’s Grammar
Congratulations! We invite these teams for the Second tour 3 November 9.00, Medical Biology Centre, Queen's University, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast, BT9 7BL
The list of winners invited for a second tour on 4 November will be announced shortly.
At present, biological education in secondary schools makes biology a collection of facts and answering a question is usually limited to finding the right page in a textbook. The goal of the Bioscience Olympiad is to develop bioscience-oriented “academic thinking” and a creative approach to problem solving in school children. We aim to make the event not a contest of factual knowledge (with questions such as how many vertebras does a frog have or what is the name of an enzyme which cuts proteins) but one of intuitive and creative thinking. Answering the questions requires some basic textbook knowledge, but participants are invited to suggest as many "hypotheses" or "explanations" as they can, invent experiments to test their hypotheses and create a new classification of biological objects/processes (see Examples section).
In November 2010 the first pilot Olympiad was successfully carried out in the Medical Biology Building at Queen’s University and a team from Antrim Grammar School won the Champions’ cup. The contest consisted of a practical with theoretical components where participants had to do some experimental problem solving as well as answer questions.
Due to the success of the last year we decided to do it in two steps this year. The goal of the first tour is to allow the participation of any school regardless of the background. Each school is advised to form a team (4-5 members 14-17 yo) which, if successful, will represent the school in a second, practical competition. The list of questions for the first tour will be available from the Queen’s webpage and will be open to the public on 12th September 2011. Teams will be given at least two weeks to compile written answers and the finished PDF file or Word document should be uploaded or sent via email to email@example.com. Results as well as model answers will be available online following the submission date.
Around ten of the best teams will be invited to compete at the second tour of teh Olympiad held at the MBC (school of Biological Sciences, Medical Biology Centre) during the first week of November. The layout will be similar to last year, consisting of a practical section requiring hands on experimentation and problem solving and theoretical questions requiring creative thinking based on previously held knowledge of the subject. Outstanding individuals will receive prizes along with the winning team who will also take home the Champions’ cup for their school to display until next year’s competition.
The event will be covered by the QUB media office as well as by local media outlets. During the problem solving part teachers will be given a talk from the QUB Careers Adviser and School representatives on research within the School and educational issues.
Participation in the Olympiad is free for any NI schools.
Unlike many similar contests our Olympiad is not focused on “knowledge-testing,” but rather the provision of alternative waysstudents to understanding natural sciences for the students (see our Practical Tips section). Another main goal is career-guidance for talented and capable school children and improvement of the quality of their education.
Please send your answers as a Word document. It must be submitted in Verdana or Arial Type Face size 10. There is no size limit, but please keep it appropriate. Answers should be clearly numbered and each answer has to be started on a new page. Pages in the document should be numbered. Figures and pictures can also be attached or included in the document (however check the printing resolution of the images and teh size of resulting file prior to sending).
Regarding teams: we are looking for mixed teams containing at least one GCSE student, one lower 6th/AS-level student and one upper 6th/A2 student. Schools have free choice on the other team members (maximum team size is 5). One team per school.
Important Days and Deadlines
29 August – Memo will be sent to Schools NI
12 September - Release of the first tour questions
26 September - Deadline for answers submission
Middle of October - Announcements of results of the first tour and review of the answers
3 November – Second Tour at the MBC building, Queen’s University Belfast (97 Lisburn road, BT9 7BL, Belfast)