Davenies School

Cheltenham College Science Competition

As one of only seven schools successful in their application to take part, six boys from Year 6 represented Davenies at the Cheltenham College Prep Schools Science afternoon – a fun filled mix of Chemistry, Biology and Physics in the College’s Science Labs. Together, Aarav and Joe give their account of the competition’s exciting range of hands-on activities…

On this science competition trip there were seven schools (including Davenies), a comfortable amount. For our Davenies group we had: Aarav, George, Kai, Thomas, Joseph, and Sebastian. We had three sections/activities: chemistry, physics, biology, in that order.


For our first experiment we used about a quarter of a test tube filled with hydrochloric acid, and we dropped a shard of magnesium into the liquid and trapped the gas that it had released with a second test tube over the top of the one with the magnesium inside of it. We then removed the second test tube and set the trapped gas a light using a stick that we had inserted into the flame of a Bunsen burner. This made a loud popping sound and a small little explosion.

For our second experiment, we had 4 sticks which had been coated in different types of metals and powder chemicals. These consisted of copper, magnesium, strontium, and potassium. We each had a Bunsen burner set to the blue flame and when we put the sticks in the flame, they changed colour.

For our third experiment, we had 2 mystery solutions. We were told to combine them and when the teacher turned off the lights, the new liquid gave off a blueish hue. Any leftover liquid was used up happily by all the students, to make other blue hues go popping up around the room.


We had ten experiments to do. We had all teamed up with different people from the other schools. One of the experiments was dropping 2 different types of metal balls into a tube of oil, and we had to time how long each ball took to float down the tube.

Another one was where we had 2 weights and a ruler. We had to put one of the weights, which was heavier than the other one, onto the ruler and find the correct measurement that the weights had to be placed to balance out the ruler.

For the final experiment, that we will talk about, is one where you had an image that was on a projector and you had a light. You placed a 1 metre ruler where the image was projected, and you had to work out what measurement the light had to be away from the image to get the crispest picture.


For biology we had been given an owl pellet (owl vomit) with all of the bones inside. We had to pick apart the bones from the fleshy bits. We also had a sheet that would allow us to match up the bones we found to the type of animal they were from. This allowed us to identify what our owls diet was. There was an array of bones from frog ones to voles and even other bird skulls.

The Prizes

At the end of the experience, there were prizes awarded to 3 people from different schools, for being inquisitive, enthusiastic, engaging, and curious. We are delighted to say that Kai Burgess won one of those prizes, which consisted of a box of sweets, a specially designed Rubix Cube of the Cheltenham College grounds and badge on it. We all received a pen and a copy of the periodic table.

All fun and games

We all got the choice of chocolate muffins, flapjack, brownie, and biscuits to eat as a well-deserved treat for doing so well in the experience. We all came home with smiles on our faces, very glad that we were selected to go on this trip.

Aarav and Joe, Year 6

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