GRADUATES from the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) have encouraged more than 400 pupils from Hampshire and Berkshire to enter this year’s AWE Primary Science Challenge.

The annual challenge is run in partnership with the educational charities Educational Business Partnership West Berkshire (EBPWB) and the Basingstoke Consortium.

It is run as a graduate project and involves a series of one-hour workshops across 14 primary schools in the Hampshire and Berkshire areas, to promote science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

With more AWE graduates involved than ever this year, the 14-strong group decided to split into two independent teams to cover as many primary schools as possible.

Pupils took part in experiments including making slime, creating dry ice bubbles, building a wind turbine and making a bridge with craft materials strong enough to carry a remote-control car.

AWE scientist Rachel Wilson said: “It’s very rewarding to see the children thrilled by the interactive classroom sessions and so keen to develop their own ideas.”

All participating schools brought along a team to the annual competition days.

Berkshire’s winner was Calcot Junior School while Burghclere Primary School took first prize for Hampshire’s entry.