Issue 63 : Biology Olympiad
14 Dec 2018
The first International Biology Olympiad took place in 1990. This is an annual event where secondary school students, from around the world, compete on a number of challenges including experimental skills, subject knowledge and creativity. The purpose of these events is to bring together gifted and talented students and provide them with opportunities to demonstrate their abilities and skills. Biology Olympiad events also take place nationally as well as regionally every year.
The Biology Department spent months planning for this event and I am pleased to say it was a great success and well received by the participating schools, who gave us excellent feedback that they had thoroughly enjoyed the activities and were impressed with our facilities.
The student competitions involved three rounds of challenges; planning of a scientific investigation, successful execution of experimental procedures and finally a subject knowledge round.
In the scientific planning category, students were assessed on their ability to write a full risk assessment for each experimental procedure as well as suggesting how these risks might be mitigated, writing an accurate and detailed method for each procedure, choice of correct equipment and use of right volumes of the chemical reagents provided.
On the experiment challenge, students had to make various diagnoses from fabricated urine samples. These included physical injury to the kidneys, liver disease, urinary tract infection and diabetes. Students carried out a number of tests and analyses to establish the presence of unusual chemicals in the urine and then relate this to the symptoms for the above diseases. In this category, students were assessed on their ability to make accurate measurements, using the correct scientific apparatus, make accurate observations and draw the right conclusion from their results: i.e. the diagnosis for each patient.
The final subject knowledge category was completed in the ICT suites where students had to complete a number of questions that covered almost all the biological concepts and processes that they would have encountered in KS3 and KS4 courses.
Students thoroughly enjoyed the day and the winners were awarded certificates for bronze, silver and gold.
Head of Biology