Wallace High Biology Week

Celebrating the Biosciences with Biology Week 2023

Written by | News

Biology Week was celebrated this year in Wallace from 16th to 20th October.  This annual event is organised by the Royal Society of Biology (RSB), with a view to celebrating the fascinating world of Biology, by offering a myriad of events for students to engage with.

Biology Olympiad

The Royal Society of Biology is a professional association in the UK, dedicated to advancing the biological sciences. It is through the RSB that Biology students in Wallace have successfully competed in the Biology Olympiad, Intermediate Olympiad and Challenge over the last 5 years. Impressively, Wallace students had gained Gold Awards in each section last year.

This year in Wallace, Biology Week began with the Biology quiz, where all students had the opportunity to compete against their peers, and the winners of each year group received a Biology goodie bag.  Winners this year were: Elin Andrews; Amber Butler; Leo Allen; Ava Boland; Lauren Blake; Ben Martin and Sophie Jackson.

Biology week at Wallace High

Biology Week 2023

Tuesday was a day of great excitement for Key Stage 3 students and there was a great buzz throughout the Biology Department after school as over 40 eager Year 8, 9 and 10 biologists had the opportunity to dissect a range of biological specimens under the supervision of staff and 6th form Biology mentors: Ryan, Ellie, Robynne, Sara and Isobel.

For students, dissection is a thrilling and educational experience and the collaborative nature of this activity can spark curiosity among students igniting a passion for biology and a deeper appreciation of the complexity of the human body. The tangible exploration of anatomy fosters a hands-on understanding of the intricate structures and functions of the organs under study.

Throughout the week, senior students in Years 12, 13 and 14 had the opportunity to hear how studying biology could lead them into a variety of careers. We were delighted to have guest speakers come into Wallace from Almac and AFBI (Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute), while a group of students attended an online talk organised by RSB on ‘Brains, Elephants & Biomimicry’. This gave students an insight to the fascinating world of neuroscience, ecological monitoring and biomimetic design.

Almac Speaker – Dr France Weldon

Dr Frances Weldon gave an overview of the huge variety of career opportunities available at Almac, a pharmaceutical and biotechnology company that provides a range of services in drug discovery development and commercialisation. Dr Jane Mueller, who works in biocatalysis, gave an insight into the day in the life of a biologist in the company. Year 13 students enjoyed the interactive nature of the presentations and were amazed at the range of disciplines and academic routes into this large global company on our doorstep.

Dr Phoebe Morton and  Dr Luke Farrow from AFBI gave an overview of their career paths and their current work in AFBI, along with some excellent advice on how to succeed when applying for Biology related courses and jobs. AFBI is a scientific organisation in Northern Ireland that conducts research in the fields of agriculture, food and biosciences.

Thursday was dominated by the highly anticipated Biology Bake Off! Staff took great delight in this element of Biology Week. The cakes were judged on taste as well as biological accuracy. After a morning of taste testing the judges were unanimous in choosing the overall winner: Jack McMullan in Year 13 for his cake of the lungs. Other cakes worthy of a mention were created by Ava McDowell (Year 8), Adam Gormley (Year 10) and Daniel Campbell (Year 14). Huge thanks goes to the WHS support staff along with the Biology teachers in being unbiased judges for this year’s competition, and congratulations to all the students who created biological showstoppers.

Biology Week Spelling Bee

Friday saw the final of the Biology Spelling Bee, a new event for WHS Biology week. The top students in each year group competed against each other to see how many bioscience words they could spell in 2 minutes. This proved to be a hugely popular event across all year groups resulting in tie break on finals day of 29 words in 2 minutes.

The tie was between Archie Rodger (Year 8), Kate Kamalarajah (Year 10) and Susanne Conroy (Year 13). This was settled the following Tuesday with Archie being crowned the overall winner with an impressive 38 words in 2 minutes! The participants’ linguistic precision and speed were an impressive showcase of academic excellence!

Head of Department, Dr Susan Terris was delighted by the success of Biology Week 2023:

“The success of Biology Week in Wallace reflects the dedication of everyone involved in the variety of activities offered this year.  This week has been an enriching experience for all of the students involved.  Well done to all staff and students who contributed to making it such a success!”

Last modified: December 4, 2023