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School in driving seat for Rolls prize
The psychology department at Bay House School near Gosport in Hampshire has made it to the finals of the 2011 Rolls-Royce Science Prize competition. They receive a Special Merit Award of £1000 and a further £5000 to implement a project over the course of the year.
The project aims to enhance sixth-form psychology students' learning of psychological research methods. Psychology teacher Nikki Owen told The Psychologist: 'With the prize money we have been able to purchase equipment such as GSR meters, blood-pressure monitors, visual distortion goggles, video cameras and a digital data logger. So far we've been able to use these in a variety of experiments, such as measuring physiological responses to chilli-peppers, testing the effects of caffeine on reaction times and investigating competitive behaviour. We also read the article about psychology in Antarctica in the January issue of The Psychologist, and I'm now also planning a problem-based learning activity based on some of the issues raised. We're going to set the students a challenge to design a series of selection tests for personnel overwintering in Antarctica.'
Bay House is competing against eight other schools to win a top prize of £15,000, and must submit a film documentary of its activities for judging in May. 'Having a psychology focus makes our project very different from the ones normally seen in the science prize,' Owen said, 'so it's a very exciting time for us!'
Follow the team's progress at http://science.rolls-royce.com/home/index.jsp
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