Each workshop lasts 45 minutes. Typically we visit 4 class groups of approximately 30 children in a day. Extra sessions may be organised if required. Every child gets to participate in some hands-on science.
Choose from the following workshops:
In this workshop for Infants we look at some food chains found in Marine habitats. All living things need energy to survive, they get this from the food that they eat. Food chains show how different living things get food to eat. To help them understand and learn about food chains they make a science game.
The 1st and 2nd classes learn about shark teeth. Shark have existed for hundreds of millions of years. We discuss the different types of sharks and how what they eat affects the types of teeth we see, from Great Whites to Tiger Sharks. The children then make their own model shark tooth to take home.
Aimed at 3rd and 4th classes this workshop involves a discussion of the different ocean layers and how these differing habitats affect the creatures living in them. We look specifically at the anglerfish with children making a model of the anglerfish to take home.
Aimed at 5th and 6th classes our mussel dissection workshop is an extremely engaging way to explore the anatomy and physiology of a real creature. While comparatively simple, mussels have several distinguishing parts, from the shell to the beard, or the gills to the foot. The children are instructed through a step-by-step dissection of an animal they would usually find on the dinner table.
Energy and forces
Magnetism and electromagnets
The infants investigate magnetism and make a racing track where the cars are “driven” using magnets.
1st and 2nd classes investigate magnets and make a gravity defying paper clip.
3rd and 4th classes compare the strength of different magnets.
5th and 6th classes make electromagnets.
Bright Sparks – the hair raising story of Electricity
The junior children investigate static electricity. 3rd – 6th classes investigate what frogs and cola drinks have in common as they make their own batteries.
Focus on Forces
In this very popular activity the children will be introduced to the idea of using what you know about science to do difficult jobs. The juniors are going to make a machine or mechanism to lift an adult. The children will think about balance and good shapes for balancing. The see-saw will be introduced as a toy which uses balance to work. The children will all make small see-saws on their table and test what happens when a small person gets on the see-saw alone, with a big person and with a person of the same size as themselves. The big challange is to see if they can adjust or change the see-saw so that the little person can lift the big person. This is then scaled up so the children can easily lift the scientist.
The seniors (3rd – 6th classes) are going to design an experiment to find out how strong jelly sweets are. We need the answer to be a number so that sweets in different locations can be compared by different people. Might Robert Hooke’s work on springs and their behaviour be any help in this task?
A variation or extension of this activity is to make a weighing scales and use it to measure the weight of an unknown.
Light – reflection and refraction
The children from the junior classes investigate what you need to see, transparency, reflection, shadows and an optical illusion.
The children from 3rd – 6th classes investigate reflection from curved surfaces, refraction, and writing using mirrors.
Solids, liquids and gases
The infants learn about solids, liquids and gases. In solids the molecules have very little energy, in liquids they have more and in gases they have lots. They play a game to reinforce this.
1st and 2nd classes measure water into a beaker and examine it. They then add a solid, another liquid and a few raisins to get an interesting effect.
3rd and 4th classes are given a number of materials and asked to find the odd man out and explain why. Most materials are either solid, liquid or gas but there are a few exceptions that seem to be neither one or the other. The children then make slime.
The 5th and 6th class children investigate the properties of solids, liquids and gases. They investigate changing the state of a number of materials.
In this activity the children will be introduced to science sorting and the primary and secondary colours. Having mixed 2 primary colours – say blue and yellow would it be possible to separate them again? Through investigating the properties of water and the the concept of chromatography the children will investigate markers to establish when they were making colours such as green and brown which inks did the factory use.
The children from 3rd – 6th class will find out what chemistry is, the sort of things that chemists are interested in and how chemists apply their knowledge to find out interesting things. Using chromatography, the food colourings used by different sweet manufacturers will be investigated.
Flame testing as a means of identifying different metals will be demonstrated as will other light producing chemical reactions.
Acids, Bases and Indicators
The children will be introduced to the idea of grouping materials using a test. The properties of acids and bases will be discussed and possible tests explored. The concept of a chemical indicator will be introduced. Each child will do a science painting on “indicator paper”, pre-prepared by us, using red cabbage juice. They will paint on this paper using “chemical paints” made from lemon juice and bread soda. Children from 1st and 2nd classes will be asked to test some unknown materials (soap, citric acid, etc) to establish whether they are acids or bases.
The older children (3rd – 6th) will also be introduced to the concept of strong and weak acids and the pH scale. The range of colours given by red cabbage juice at the various pHs will be demonstrated. The children will then be asked to investigate the “recipes” to make a range of samples – red, pink, purple, blue and green, starting with 2 colourless liquids and red cabbage juice.
The infants, will be asked to test a number of items to see whether or not they float and group them accordingly. The results will be discussed and particular attention given to items such as shells that float in some circumstances. The children will then be asked to make a boat out of a piece of modelling clay, which previously sank, float.
1st and 2nd classes will be asked to predict whether or not materials will float or sink and then test their predictions. The results will be discussed and particular attention given to items such as shells that float in some circumstances. The children will then be asked to make a boat out of a piece of modelling clay, which previously sank, float.
3rd and 4th classes will look at the idea that materials, solids, liquids and gases weigh different amounts for the same volume. The weights of equal volumes of liquids will be measured. Archimedes’ principle will be explored and the volume of irregular solids measured. A number of density demonstrations will be done. The children will be asked to assist and to explain what happened.
5th and 6th classes will look further at density. The possibility of changing the density of a liquid will be investigated and the effect for items, which previously sank or floated, tested. The implications of this for boat building and loading will be discussed. A number of density demonstrations will be done. The children will be asked to assist and to explain what happened.
Environmental awareness and care
The infants learn about the sun and how it is the source of energy for the universe. The concepts of renewable and non-renewable energies are introduced
The 1st and 2nd class children also learn about the sun as an energy source, renewable and non-renewable energy sources and how we should always design things to use the minimum amount of energy. A windbag is used to explain this concept.
3rd and 4th class pupils learn about the sun and make solar ovens.
5th and 6th class children are challenged to melt jelly using the minimum amount of energy.
Anyone 4 Maths
Mind Reading Maths
This workshop is suitable for children from 4th to 6th class and also for first year in secondary school.
The students are introduced to the concept of logic and of using the information you have to find out an unknown. Other number bases are introduced. The students make mind reading cards which are based on binary numbers. How the cards work is explained to stronger student groups.
Maths – Shaping our Future
This workshop is suitable for 4th to 6th classes. It investigates the concept that numbers have shapes. It investigates square numbers, binomials and square roots. Some interesting proofs of Pythagoras’s theorm are demonstrated.
Maths in Architecture
A dome is a structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. Dome structures made of various materials have a long architectural lineage extending into prehistory. Domes have a great deal of structural strength when properly built and can span large open spaces without interior supports.
A geodesic dome is a spherical or partial-spherical shell structure based on a network of great circles on the surface of a sphere. Based on a series of equilateral and isosceles triangles they have local triangular rigidity and also distribute the stress across the structure. The first geodesic dome was built in the early 20th century. It was part of a “more for less” philosophy looking at making cheap, light housing for dispossessed people.
During this workshop the students build a geodesic dome from paper, which is strong enough to be lifted and big enough for a small person to fit inside.
Make your own calculator
For centuries mathematicians have been trying to simplify and remove the tedium from arithmetic calculations. Electronic calculators have done this for us. In this workshop you will find out how mathematicians did this long before the discovery of electricity and electronics and you will make your own calculator which you can use to change any multiplication sum into an addition one. This workshop is suitable for 5th class up to 6th clas.