The 2016 competition called on UK students aged 11–16 to design an educational poster to appeal to their peers, explaining particular applications of copper and the properties that make it essential to modern living.
Within the two age groups (Key Stage 3, 11–14 and Key Stage 4, 14–16) a winner and a runner up were selected from each of the following categories. Students were expected to address the questions, although innovative explorations of each subject were also welcomed.
Buildings and Design
Copper and its alloys have been a material of choice for architects and designers for centuries. Why? What are the properties of copper that make it such a versatile and attractive material?
Electronics and Communication
Copper has played a key role in the development of electrical applications and is used everywhere from smart phones to space exploration. What are the properties that make it so useful?
Health and Medicine
We need copper in our diets to stay healthy, and its inherent germ-killing ability makes it the ultimate hygienic material. Why is it essential to our health? How can it contribute to safer hospitals?
The winners are presented below.
Ages 11–14 (Years 7–9, Key Stage 3)
Buildings and Design Winner Harry Andrews, Chesham Grammar School
The judges chose this poster as the winner partly because of its attractive design—which very effectively puts copper front and centre—but also thanks to the in-depth research that went into its making. Alongside general copper facts, it also features excellent information on the chemistry of copper (including different-coloured compounds) as well as a range of buildings that have benefitted from copper's aesthetic and durable qualities.
Buildings and Design Runner-up Anna Brown, The Sandon School
For this poster, a great deal of information has been gathered, translated into the author's own language and then presented in an attractive, well laid out and engaging way. It explains what parts of the copper story help architects design beautiful and long-lasting buildings, such as the examples chosen to illustrate this poster.
Electronics and Communication Winner Sophie Downey, The Sandon School
This poster presented good background information on copper—such as how it is used to construct wires and cables—but then goes further and explores other properties explaining how copper helps remove heat from components in modern computers. The judges were impressed that the author of this poster has begun with copper's electrical conductivity, but also looked beyond this at other properties of copper that contribute towards its effective use in electronics.
Health and Medicine Winner Sabrina Torris, The Cotswold School
This poster is laid out very attractively in two separate halves, one discussing copper's use in hospitals and medicine and the other covering copper's essentiality for human health. It draws the viewer in to find out more information on each of the topics in a clearly shown and well-illustrated account of copper's contribution to reducing dangerous germs in hospitals, and how it is used in the human body.
Health and Medicine Runner-up Isabelle Matharu, St Edmund's School
This poster is neatly-designed, taking a wealth of information and separating it into clear blocks of text that inform without overburdening the viewer with lots of technical language. It features an appealing illustration of a copper atom, showing its electrons and explaining some of the properties that are listed underneath. It relates this effectively to how copper contributes to a healthy body, and sources of copper in our diets.
Ages 14–16 (Years 10–11, Key Stage 4)
Buildings and Design Winner Sneha Pimpalnerkar, King Edward VI High School
The judges chose this poster as the winner because of its clearly-presented and well-explained information, design details such as the colour of a copper roof being represented by the background colour of the poster. It goes beyond other competition entries by discussing the use of copper in other countries such as Sri Lanka and Egypt.
Buildings and Design Runner-up Demelza May, Exeter School
This poster received second place as lots of information has been converted into easy-to-understand sentences that convey the concepts in an accessible way. The details presented are also very effectively illustrated by the chosen images.
Electronics and Communication Winner Ben Harvey, Exeter School
This poster was given first place thanks to its well-researched information and clear layout. The chemistry and physical properties of copper are discussed on one side—explaining what makes copper so valuable in cables and electronics—and on the other side the author covers how those properties enable communication to happen quickly and effectively.
Health and Medicine Winner Imogen Evans, King Edward VI High School
The judges awarded this poster first place thanks to its innovative design and excellent information. The inside explains the role of copper in the diet and how it contributes to human health. The side panels then cover copper's antimicrobial properties and how it is being used in hospitals to help reduce the spread of infection. The broad-ranging spread of information, and beautiful presentation, were very impressive.
Health and Medicine Runner-up Felicity Bagwell, Exeter School
This poster received second place as it presents the information clearly and with humour. It is easy to read and well-presented and balanced. It draws the viewer in and invites them to learn more about copper in health and medicine.
At just 10 years old, Aston Merry is below the required age of entry, but the judges wanted to recognise the high quality of his poster with a special award. The depth and evident understanding of not only copper's uses in the human body, but also the science behind it, is extremely impressive. This is matched by the quality of the graphics and the humour with which the information has been presented.