10 December 2020

During the fortnight of the 2nd to 13th November 2020, Year 9 students took part in the UK Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge. The Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge (BCTC) introduces computer science to students and is designed to get them excited about computing. The BCTC is a problem solving competition with a focus on computational and logical thinking. Over 208,000 students took part in the competition throughout the UK this year!

Computational thinking involves using a set of problem-solving skills and techniques that software engineers use to write programs and apps. Examples of these techniques would include the ability to break down complex tasks into simpler components, algorithm design, pattern recognition, pattern generalisation and abstraction.

Questions are inspired by topics in computer science but only require some basic reasoning ability. Students had to answer up to 15 questions in a 40 minute time period. The questions have varying degrees of difficulty and the points awarded reflect this.

Balshaw’s students have taken part in this competition each year for the past eight years. This year, 175 students in Year 9 at Balshaw’s took part in the competition! The ‘Best In School’ winner was Ralph Pollard with 144 points. In second place was Phoenix Coyne with 135 points and in third place was Lucie Clipston with 129 points. These students received a certificate and a prize from the Business & Computing Department. The top 7 students from Balshaw’s were in the top 10% nationally and also received a Gold Award Certificate! The top 25% of students received a ‘Certificate of Distinction’, those in the top 50% received a ‘Certificate of Merit’ and everyone else who entered the competition received a ‘Certificate of Participation’.

The top 15 students will compete in the second round of the competition in February next year.

UK Bebras Challenge 2020