Thursday, 12 March 2015

British Science Week

bsw2015Here it is!
British Science Week is probably the busiest time of the year for science presenters.
This is when some lucky schools decide to have a whole week off timetable to devote to science....some create assemblies and each class shares some science every day........some schools buy in special speakers - like us!

The week is organised by the British Science Association (BA) and this year with a new name and dedicated website it looks to be bigger than ever.

The BA produces lost of materials  publicity goodies and activity booklets to helps schools and communities put on events.
Some years there is a theme, other years is it more general.

This year we have created a new show to go with one of the new activity packs which isi all about colour.
So our new show is called KALEIDOSCOPE and explores the science of colour, how we see, optical illusions, colour blindness, colour chemisty and colour in physics.
We use colour chemistry to WOW the audience including finding out how our eyes work and why some animals can see lots of colours and others - like dogs - can only see a few.

As part of the "imagine a world in greyscale" theme I have been busy making food.....
I used a polymer clay in black and white which I mixed to get a good grey using what looks like a pasta machine....which it is but only used for clay work...thank goodness!

Then I used an extruder to make strands of "spaghetti" and made some textured balls.
Once on the plate I baked it in the over for about 20 mins to set the clay.
What do you think?? Fancy it for tea? I love making props for our shows

We will be sharing some of our favourite colour chemistry demonstrations including the amazing EXPERIMENT where four volunteers and Helen turn clear liquids bright pink and then clear again - it seems to be magic but it is certainly science!
look carefully and you can see the pink liquid turning clear as it enters Helen's vessel

We will be using some of our gadgets and gizmos from the light show such as the plasma ball and lighting up fluorescent tubes

and of course we will be using our wonderful rainbow glasses so that everyone can catch a glimpse of the visible spectrum.

We are taking part in a day of science fun at Ness Gardens Cheshire on Saturday 14th March so we will be trying out a mini version of the new show back to back throughout the day. It's free so why not come along and see us!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

A Warm Welcome in Wallasey

We have been to a brand new school both for us as visitors and for the school itself.
Well perhaps brand new isn't quite correct.
Somerville Primary school in Wallasey is coming to the end of a major refurbishment which has given them super new teaching spaces but probably the most impressive is their amazing hall.
The space can be split into two and has dining facilities so this is where the pupils have their lunch but also there is the facility to make it a community resource. The hall has totally separate entrance and lobby so that the local community can use it without having to open the whole school.
We were able to park in the designated area in front of the hall and easily unload to get all our equipment in - quite impressive and very useful!
Once inside there were designated toilets - again brilliant because we didn't have to go wandering off around the school to find water and once inside the actual hall we were blown away by a wonderful rainbow effect that the large windows have - there are beautifully coloured panes of glass among the plain.  The effect is one of lightness and airiness with pale wood used throughout.
Parts of the school are still being worked on so some children will be in mobile classrooms for a while yet but once finished it will be incredible.
A new school without closing the old one, being able to carry on while all the work is being done and keeping their footprint....a very important point.

Anyway after being very impressed with our warm welcome - from the Head teacher no less - we were helped by a very friendly caretaker who had organised the fire alarms so that we could set fire to things without worry.

We quickly set up and  ready for a 9 o'clock start with years 1 &2 thinking about Materials and what things are made from and how important it is to get the correct materials for the job. Timmy gave us a hand sorting out whether things were natural or man made

Then it was the turn of year 3&4 and we were thinking about solids liquids and gases using flashes and bangs and flame and ice to get over our ideas.
So that everyone could have lunch we pushed our tables against the wall and covered them over and went off in search of the very youngest scientists!
Somerville is a large school with a 3 form entry so we met 3 different reception classes for some hands on sessions having a good play with some of our most exciting gadgets and gizmos. We changed the colour of paper and plastic straws just by warming them with our hands! We made gloopy liquids much runnier by warming them up, we lit up little ducks by giving them a little hug ( you really had to be there to see how lovely that was) and then we all had a go with the rainbow glasses even the teachers and helpers, which was lots of fun.
After a quick lunch and a much needed sit down it was time for the oldest pupils years 5 & 6 to experience All Change - exploring changing materials by freezing with lots of dry ice, by warming and burning and again Helen got a wow with her flaming custard powder.

Finally we mixed all sorts of weird and wonderful materials and got some very surprising results.

We packed away most of our equipment and then took  big box of goodies to the staff room for a drop in session where teachers could have a go themselves with some of the show demonstrations.
We still had some dry ice left so we pretended we were Harry Potter - huge fun. We set off a few handwarmers and used the heat sensitive paper and straws to see what happened. We had a good play with our incredible disappearing hydrogel balls - and we left a box behind for them all to have a play with and then we all had a go at Art on a Plate - milk, colours and washing up liquid.

Thank you to Mrs Connelly for organising the day - and for being so efficient - this was a school visit that ran flawlessly - mainly due to the school being so organised and helpful. I do hope we can visit there again!!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

All Change at Chester

We had a super day at Upton Heath Primary School Chester as part of their science week.
The school are having an incredible time with visits from all sorts of scientists including Techniquest, Chester zoo rangers, nurses as well as working with a local High school. They even had a visit from the Prime Minister....not to do science though!!

The day started with two All Change shows - the first for years 4,5,and 6 followed after break by years 2,3,4.
The show is full of exciting materials showing how solids, liquids and gases behave. We raced some gloopy liquids and learnt a new word - VISCOSITY.

We had enormous fun with dry ice creating huge clouds tumbling from the tables.

We had a fire rainbow and iron filings sparklers  and magnesium

and then Helen made a fire ball from custard powder which stunned the audience as you can see from the Twitter comment!

We even tried to blow up one of the teachers........

After lunch we were the guests of year 4 Lime class who gave us their room for the afternoon.
They were able to get up close and personal with some of the equipment from the show and to try out some of our other incredible gadgets and gizmos. Then we all made bubble gum fragranced bath bombs to take home.
We stayed in the classroom as Lime class swapped with their other year 4 class so we could do it all again.
At the very end of the day with just a few minutes before home time Lime class came back to their own room and we made a huge electric circuit with all the pupils and us and our Energy sticks.

Thank you to Ms Preston for organising such a super day.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015


It is February and our birthday month
I can't believe that it is three years since we started our company.
It was a great leap for Helen and I to set up Science2U but we knew that sharing science was important to us and that with transport costs being so high many schools just couldn't afford to go out on a visit.
With risk assessments and getting cover and collecting money organising a school visit to a local science centre can be quite a headache.
Our aim is to make getting great science in schools as easy as possible.
So we do all the work - all you need is a space.

To celebrate our 1/3rd birthday we have decided to offer a 1/3 discount to every booking made during our birthday month.

The small print: bookings need to be made and secured with a deposit during February but the actual event can take place at any time during this current school year APART from British Science Week
( 16th - 22nd March )

We offer a range of shows and workshops at a price that makes it possible for even the very small schools to enjoy a science event.
Some of the small schools join together with their cluster schools,some secondary schools bring in their feeder primary schools for a science day.
  Prices vary depending on school size and what you actually want to do - call us for a quote.

Check out our website and see what we can do for you.
Share in our celebrations!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Science for the New Year

The Science Spot, our regular electronic newsletter, is full of ideas, links and resources for science teachers across all Key Stages.

This month we have concentrated on British Science Week ( which is the new name and branding for what we all know as National science and Engineering week)
13th - 22nd March 2015

The new dedicated website has resources to download to help you stage an event or find one near you and also find a speaker ( we are on their lists!!)

They also have activity downloads for all ages from simple hands on have a go through to larger projects. There are two main subjects On the Move and Colour Chaos with an extra pack for SEN with flash cards ( to be honest great ideas for everyone in this one)

We usually create a special show for this week and this year we have gone with the colour theme.
We have written a new show KALEIDOSCOPE which explores colour in science.
For primary schools we look at a range of amazing chemistry reactions that change colour when shaken, stirred or added to. We look at colour and light, how we see, optical ilusions, rainbows. As ever we use lots of volunteers to come and have a go and share with the audience
We have written a KS2 workshop to go with this show.
Have a look at our website for details.
Already it is proving to be popular and dates are filling up quickly!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Christmas Jingle Bells at Daresbury

Tuesday 9th December and we were off to Daresbury labs for our final Chemistry at Work Day of this year with MerseySTEM.
It being pretty close to the holidays we decided to make this one a bit special so when it came to making the usual bath bombs as part of our hands on take home make for the session we created Christmas puddings.

Getting the puddings right took quite a bit of experimenting - we usually use liquid food colouring for the bombs but it is very hard to get a proper brown so after some research we eventually coloured the brown base using powdered pigment especially created for cosmetics which we made into solution - it took quite a bit of trial and error to get a good pudding colour that wouldn't stain the bath, the towels and the person!!
We had splotchy brown hands for a few days.

We topped it off with plain white mix and a holly sprig.

Then of course the all important fragrance.......finally after quite a bit of sniff testing we decided the bath bombs would be fragranced with mince pie mix which made the whole room smell spicy and seasonal. At first I thought it was a very seasonal and cheerful smell but after making a few I began to long for the usual bubblegum fragrance. I am not sure it really was mince pies more like mulled wine without the drink! Quite how that will work in a bath I am not sure plus when we demonstrated using our little bath the water was a decided brown - not the best look in a bath.
Fortunately in a real bath the brown will dilute to a peachy tinge!

There were some teachers from schools we had met before and it was good to see some old friends and to make new ones especially as they joined our mailing list for the newsletter.

So we have completed another year of Chemistry at Work days and look forward to being able to join in the fun in 2105.

As I am writing this post I can see we have broken through 6000 hits - thank you to everyone who reads our blog, thank you for your support.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Tripping the Light Fantastic with Upton Heath Chester

 We had a wonderful time on Thursday with Upton Heath primary school in Chester exploring light and colour through our show Inside the Rainbow.
This show is probably our favourite because it is so lovely to watch expressions of the children as they enter a darkened room full of so many different sorts of lights - disco balls splashing coloured light across the ceiling, fibre optic lamps shimmering, a lava lamp is slowly glooping away, the plasma ball is doing it's thing looking so exciting......
Everyone wants to peep into the darkened hall to see what is happening!!

The first show was with year 1 and 2 who came in so quietly trying very hard to contain their excitement when they saw how amazing the room looked.
This show is such a lovely experience - after feeling so warm and glowing in all this light we turn off everything and realise how different it feels to be in the dark and how little we can actually see. Helen and I are dressed for the occasion and we light up our  EL outfits and uncover our glow bracelets and suddenly we are having a wonderful time playing with all sort of gadgets and gizmos that use light.

We all made huge shadows and kept some on a special shadow sheet.
We explored the rainbow using our amazing glasses and then found out that some insects can see beyond the rainbow in Ultraviolet so we used our special lights to show secret messages.
Helen helped some excited volunteers to set fire to special chemicals and show how how fireworks are coloured and then Sue made a spectacular sparkler with some extra fine iron filings

We bounced light around the room using mirrors, used our muscles to make torches light up and the teachers lit up special tubes using our plasma ball.

All to soon it was time to leave for break.
Waiting at the door of the hall were  a group of reception children who were almost squeaking they were so excited because this was an unexpected extra - a short session with us playing with the toys, dressing up in the EL lights and wearing the rainbow glasses. We got lots of hugs as they left.......

After break we were much more serious with year 2 and 3.....well a little bit! Similar show but with a bit more added science explanation

In the afternoon we worked with year 3 who are studying light and colour right now.
We looked at how with just three colours we can make a whole rainbow - the wonderful coloured patterns they created will make great displays.

We made our own secret messages using two different special pens - one that we revealed using another pen and then we wrote messages that needed the UV light the reveal them.

Finally in small groups we made special lava lamps in deep red  that we lit up to make a super display and one group helped us to make a little video clip