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GSK Schools Challenge

The six pupils who volunteered to go the GlaxoSmithKline Challenge this year were Finley Arbon-Donovan (me), Archie Boyd, Sophie Hermele, Amy Gilbert, John Holman and Amy Ullo.

We left for GSK by mini-bus with our packed lunches and our bags as we were not returning to school. The journey to GSK took about 20 minutes. After we had collected our visitor badges from reception, we were led across the complex and told that there are two divisions, the R and D site we were in and the manufacturing facility down the road. I was amazed by the sheer scale of the facility. It took us 10 minutes to cross over to the meeting area. When we arrived we had a very speedy explanation of the first challenge which was to build a hovercraft. To do this we had: 2 types of tape, polystyrene, cardboard, scissors, 1 large fan, 1 small fan and some elastic bands. We worked well as a team and sored highly in this category but were unable to get the hovercraft to move, this was a problem for quite a few of the schools.

The second challenge took place in the lab, which was another 10 minute trek for us. On reaching the lab we were given gloves, lab coats and glasses which we were told to wear at all times. The second challenge was to perform a titration with sodium hydroxide and an indicator. We had to titrate a vitamin C solution.
While the titration was being performed a small group had to fill out a questionnaire on the experiment. The vitamin C solution had to be mixed with the indicator and then titrated by slowly pouring sodium hydroxide into the solution until the indicator turned pink and measuring how much sodium hydroxide had been used.

After this challenge was over, we were taken back to the meeting area where all teams were quizzed 10 questions on each science. The round we did best in was Physics.

After that the awards were handed out. We were then reunited with Mrs Taylor and taken back to the entrance where we were picked up by our parents.

It was an unforgettable experience.

Finley Arbon-Donovan Year 10

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