Thursday, 23 March 2017

Out the Other Side - a review of Science Week 2017

Wow! I hope you had a good science week - we certainly did!

Our BSW started early because there were just too many schools to fit into one week.
We decided that as this year the BSW theme was Changes and we had such a great programme that fitted we would create a 50% discount offer for anyone booking the shows and workshops during the two weeks we had set aside as science week.

As soon as we published the details the phone went mad and our email account was red hot with schools asking for information and securing a date.

We publicised the offer on this blog and gave a good rundown of what schools could expect on their day. We had plenty of info on the website and we kept pushing it on Twitter.
Our friends and supporters passed the news around and soon we were down to the last few dates left.

One school even took advantage of the offer by booking us for two days!

All the schools apart from one were new to us - which is great news for us because the more contacts we have the better.

Our first school was Florence Melly primary school North Liverpool and we were there for two days. Our first morning we set up in the large sports hall for two shows. All Change for KS2 and Amazing Science for KS1. We had a great time especially blowing up a teacher and creating fire balls of milk powder. The teachers took some super images:

Day two was full of workshops - we set up in the sports hall and the classes came to us.

 The next school was Bidston Village CPS on the Wirral and we were eagerly waiting for a delivery of dry ice to the school very early in the morning. The van pulled in after us so a surprised delivery man laughingly handed over the ice as we pounced on him!
Many thanks to Chillistick for their very reliable service throughout this busy time.

The day went really well - the school was friendly and welcoming and although it was our first time with them we felt right at home.
In the afternoon we were with year 2 and year 5 making bath bombs. Year 2 did very well following instructions step by step and everyone got a good quality bath bomb to take home.

Next up we were off across the countryside to a very pretty school St Thomas of Canterbury. We were not able to do our flames and fire bit here so we added extra amazing smart materials and plenty of dry ice using the popping lids as a finale. Huge fun.
We had an extra session with Early Years sharing some of our smart materials like the colour change straws and thermal paper and then we had alot of fun with the rainbow glasses.

Then we were in Runcorn so a hop skip and jump for Helen. Victoria Rd is an old school that has been beautifully redesigned inside especially the foyer. We pulled into the school yard to unpack and then I took the car off site to find a parking space. I think Helen thought I'd gone home because I had to wander quite a distance down the road and round the corner until I found a space!
The children were very excited and we had such a good time - again we couldn't do fire but it really didn't matter we had such good material to share. As this was the last day we would be using dry ice we were able to have a fantastic dry ice finale and the school took video of it all!!

We spent the afternoon with years 3 and 4 who were very excited after our morning show! We really enjoyed being with this school and hope to go back soon!

Our final day was with our friends at Summerhill Maghull for a totally different show. This school chose to do  Into the Future which looks at inventions and discoveries that we use everyday.
From nappies to torches to lasers to books with a good look at toys for the younger ones. We love this show because as we find out about the latest discovery we try to add it in. In the afternoon we worked with years 3 and 4 looking at Pretty Amazing Polymers from slime through polymorph to an investigation to see just how much liquid a disposable nappy can hold. A great time for everyone.

So this has been our most successful BSW ever. We took more bookings than ever before and met many more new schools. Helen kept a rough tally and we think we have shared science with more than 1500 pupils through 10 shows and 14 workshops and made over 400 bath bombs.
Now time for a lie down.......


Saturday, 4 March 2017

Getting Ready for British Science Week

In case you haven't heard - and where have you been??
British Science Week takes place  10th - 18th March.

This past week we have been collecting our resources for our BSW events - my postman always asks me what I've bought this time - he loves my job!!
Parcels have been arriving sometimes with chemicals, sometimes weird things - like 500g of hydrogel balls, sometimes everyday but we will not be using it that way!

We have 150 baby nappies - toddler size - for a workshop on 17th.

We also have 2000 paper mini muffin cases and 100s of tubes of bubble gum fragranced oil for bath bombs not to mention 15kg of bicarbonate of soda!!

I shall be making up 5 litres of PVA this weekend for slime.

Helen has just been to buy 2 litres of vinegar because we plan to do our giant freaky hand demo which was such a hit at Big BangNW last summer

One of the things I love about social media is the fact that so many schools especially primary schools have now got really active Twitter accounts and use them to share the excitement of whatever they are getting up to.
For example on World Book Day my feed was crammed with pictures of 100s of children and teachers dressed up.
Lots of the schools we visit then follow us so as a courtesy we follow back and this means we get a glimpse into their everyday world.

Right now schools and organisations are gearing up for British Science Week. In fact many schools have already started - we are out this week in schools and we are fully booked for the main week.
I am loving seeing the ideas, experiments and events that schools have planned.

AllAboutSTEM worked with Birkenhead School to run a mini BigBangNearMe for uniformed organisations last week. They filmed and photographed the activities and shared them on Twitter so we saw some very excited cubs and brownies having a go at experiments and watching a science show but what I was really impressed with was that the school pupils were doing the experiments - what a great way to inspire the next generation!! Well done!

Just today I've been out in the garden with my hubby going through a demonstration called Lilac Flame  (using potassium permanganate and glycerine to apparently spontaneously combust and produce copious smoke and a lilac coloured mini volcano)
Our neighbours know we are science mad and were laughing at us but hubby is doing this demo as part of a lecture and needed to see quite how violent (or not) it would be so that he can do an accurate risk assessment for the university he is visiting.
this isn't a picture of him doing it....we were outside and there was much more smoke than flame!

There will be talks, debates, science parties and of course lots of demonstrations especially on Thursday 16th when teachers and technicians are encouraged to share in DEMO DAY. We will be out in school doing our All Change show that day which will have lots of demos and we plan to teach the staff of that school how to do a demo - they don't know it yet!
this is the anti gravity bottle demo which we will be teaching staff

I do hope your school is able to take part and that you have a great time.

Thursday, 9 February 2017



It's our birthday!  Five years ago this week Science2U was officially registered as a company and Helen and I began trading
It didn't seem real at first - we had a bit of trouble finding a name - we were "science in a van" for quite a few days but then realised we probably hadn't got enough money for a van so after much thought Science2U was born - great idea Rob - thank you!

Creating our website took time but was easy - we wanted a site that reflected us - bright, enthusiastic and friendly. I think we've nailed that one!

Coming up with shows to share was easy - we knew what we enjoyed and the ideas bubbled up. Searching for resources was fun, finding everyday things that we could use in science, buying some "real" science equipment.
a tiny bath used to demonstrate bath bombs

The day we got our first booking was amazing - I didn't expect to have such a surge of joy.
The day we got our first cheque we broke open the champagne!

Bookings were quite sparse at first - mainly freebies to drum up trade but slowly word got round and we started to get a real feel that we were a proper company.

One of the early highlights for us was a two day booking in Oldham. We decided that rather than trail all the way back home after a long day we would stay overnight. A road trip!
forces through toys at Oldham

A trip during Science week up beyond Preston to the Ribble Valley was a real treat - at first we had no idea where we were going but when we arrived at the school in a quaint village we realised that this was something special. Brabins Endowed primary school is very very old

Working with the then MerseySTEM team took us back on the road around Cheshire and the following year around Merseyside delivering secondary shows.

Last year we worked for a whole week with IGNITE at the Ellesmere Port boat museum during Science week. Five workshops every day sharing Smart materials and making bath bombs

Working with Mexichem as a sponsor has brought us great joy because we have been able to share science with some wonderful young people at Chestnut Lodge Special School.
Our days with them have been full of laughter!

Probably one of the highlights has been appearing at BigBangNW science fair.

2014 - total surprise to be on the show stage
The first year we went was a total surprise - we didn't expect to be one of the main acts - so no nerves because we thought we were going to be in a small room doing a little demonstration.
We ended up on the show stage with 100s in the audience
Things have grown every year as has our show.
dry ice finale

Helen became the poster girl in 2015

and the 2016 photos have been seen by 1000s

We have had some amazing times and judging by British Science Week bookings for this March it looks like we many more to come
Thanks for all your support!

Friday, 20 January 2017

The All Change Show

As British Science Week approaches with the theme of Change our regular readers will know we have an amazing 50% discount offer on bookings of the show so I thought it would be a good idea to do a review so that anyone booking will have an idea of what they will be getting.

The KS2 show is based around Materials and their Properties especially thinking about changing materials.
We explore what actually defines a Solid, a Liquid and a Gas using everyday objects and some not so usual!
Can you squash a liquid? How can you change a liquid to a gas or  to a solid?
Are all liquids the same? Try racing them and see!

racing liquids - exploring viscosity

We look at what happens when you warm things up like our colour changing plastic straws

 cool things down - what happens if you freeze fizzy pop?

and set fire to things - did you know powdered milk does this?

Then we get very exciting as we mix materials to make unexpected changes.

instant snow

vinegar and bicarb

We try out an incredible plastic that turns like transparent toffee when warm and you can mould it then goes back to being a strong solid as it cools

Of course it wouldn't be a Science2U show if we didn't have dry ice so we experiment making bubbles that you can catch and clouds of  spooky"fog"

And what about some really weird materials like slime?

This is a great show to get pupils thinking about Change and with plenty of ideas to try out at home hopefully to encourage everyone to have a go themselves.

The offer is for half price on a day consisting of 2 shows and 2 workshops or 3 shows.
The workshops are an opportunity for a class size group to get up close to the gadgets and gizmos from the show - to actually handle some of the materials and we will make a bath bomb to take home - a classic example of mixing materials.

You can find details of our half price show offer here:

Give us a call but hurry dates are booking up quickly

Saturday, 14 January 2017

British Science Week Information

Just in case you haven't heard......
British Science Week 2017 will be held on 10th - 19th March
All over the country people will be engaging with science through schools or their local community or perhaps a science centre or museum,
This year the theme is Change which could be the changing seasons, the environment, the climate, energy or changing materials.
We are very happy with that last one because we have a super set of shows and workshops that fit changing materials exactly!

We are running a brilliant 50% discount offer for booking All Change - you can find details on our website here:
We have also decided to extend the"week" because so many schools want to take part so our Science Week starts on Monday 6th and will run until Fri 17th.

The BSW website has some brilliant resources to help you get the most out of your science week
although they would be great at anytime. The  Activity packs are now available to download for Early Years, Primary and Secondary. They are full of ideas for hands on activities.

Thursday 16th will be Demo Day when everyone is encouraged to excite pupils with a demonstration. There are ideas on the website for secondary schools but we have lots of ideas for primary.
Some of them can be found on the YouTube Primary Science Clips here:

but we are offering to help with ideas on other themes if schools get in touch. Why not pick a demo and use it in assembly or teach it to year 6 and let them share it with the younger ones

One of the easiest ways to get involved is through the citizen science project Penguin Watch which is a very large ongoing project to collect data on penguins. All you have to do is look at a camera image and click on whether you can see an adult or a chick penguin. Sometimes  it is so snowy you can't see anything  and sometimes there is nothing to see but the view!
You'll find the link on the BSW website - the link is at the top of this blog
Have a go and see for yourself!
Image result for penguin

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Review of the Year

Happy New Year to all our friends!
I thought we would share with you a review of the year and some pictures from 2016.

 This year has been one of ups and downs.
The good times - WOW! great events such as BigBang North West and Chem4All with LJMU but also we have missed getting together with old friends because budgets in schools are so tight that they haven't been able to afford us. That is very sad because we know how enjoyable a day with us is and how inspiring it can be for the staff.

our friends at Chestnut Lodge

We have tried hard whenever we have secured funding to share it around and we were thrilled when Mexichem sponsored a day with our friends at Chestnut Lodge. We had so much fun and even though we were saying goodbye and good luck to some of the older pupils we knew we had made an impact.

We had a wonderful if exhausting week at Ellesmere Port Boat museum with local schools at a STEM event organised by IGNITE. Every day we met new pupils and shared our smart materials workshops with them and made bath bombs to take home. We made over 500 during the week and smelled so much of the bubble gum fragrance that we stopped noticing it....our families didn't!

We met new schools this year - some in Cheshire and others in Liverpool where word seemed to get round about us resulting in a flurry of bookings. We also worked with AllAboutSTEM and Techniquest Glyndwr doing shows and workshops

Towards the end of the summer term we got busier and busier as schools used us for an end of year treat. We were happy to be asked back to a primary school by their PTA who decided rather than an end of year disco they would have a science show!

End of June/beginning of July was the culmination of the amazing Chem4All year. This project at LJMU is a long term intervention enthusing staff and pupils in Merseyside schools. We were part of the celebrations - three days of shows and loads of dry ice!

Probably the highlight of the year was BigBang North West which had a new venue - the Liverpool Exhibition Centre right on the waterfront. An amazing venue suitable for an amazing event. It just gets bigger and better each year.
Again we were on the main stage but this time because we were all in the one hall everyone stopped what they were doing to come and watch - 100s of people all fascinated by our science. The publicity pictures are incredible, the Tweets went wild on the day and overnight Helen became the poster girl for the event!!

This Autumn has been much quieter but that has given us time to be creative and we have updated our shows, streamlined our workshops and gathered some great gizmos. We are already getting bookings for British Science Week and our birthday month discount offer so it looks like things will be just as exciting in 2017. Our adventure continues.......