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Safe cracking science

Published: 18 March 2020

A wild and wet Tuesday evening in Brixham (a fishing town on the south coast of Devon) saw 70 budding safe crackers (Years 7, 8 & 9 pupils with their parents) attend Brixham College’s family learning science week event.

First, a quiz was held in the school hall to provide key information to the location of a safe – but the answers needed further decoding in a cyber challenge to reveal the exact spot. Families then moved to the science department where they worked together to solve six practical challenges in order to discover the code to open the safe. These challenges ranged from finding the resistance of a wire and working out the mass of an object using moments, to testing electrodes to find which two provided the greatest voltage. “It was great to see parents working together with their children to deduce the answers,” said Sally Fulford, Regional Representative for the Ogden Trust.

Children and adults take part in the safecracking challenge

Once a team had completed all of the challenges, they set off to find the safe and try their code. There was tangible excitement in the air as the rush to be the first to open it began, although on this night the tortoise beat the hare!

The event has already been successfully run with different age groups in schools (with challenges appropriate to the age range) but the science week event was the first time families had tried it. Mr Tom Norman, science lead at the college and Ogden Senior Teacher Fellow, commented “There were a lot of puzzled faces at times, but the students did a great job helping their parents with the science! Everyone had a fun evening and the buzz of excitement to try and open the safe first was fantastic. What a cracking evening!”

The safecracking poster


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