Hello and even though the holidays are a distant memory, welcome to a new school year.
We have some great things happening and wanted to share them with you so that you will be in the loop especially when it comes to your planning.
Over this school year we will be running special discounts for certain shows starting with a treat for the second half of this term.
Sorry to mention the C word but as a Christmas treat we are offering primary schools 20% off Inside the Rainbow our show all about light ( the room looks likes Santa's Grotto so it is very appropriate plus we will include some seasonal coloured demos)
February is our birthday month - we will have been running as a company for 7 years so we are offering 25% off any booking made for that month
March 8th - 17th 2019 will be British Science Week and we will be running our incredibly popular 50% off the special themed show for primary schools - the British Association have chosen the theme JOURNEYS for 2019 so we will be putting our thinking caps on and coming up with a brand new show and workshop(s). As soon as we have something to share we will let you all know!
We will also be offering this discount throughout the whole of March because we get so booked up that we can't fit everyone in
Wednesday, 15 August 2018
We started working together in 2007 as part of the education team at Catalyst Science Discovery Centre
She also has a brilliant talent for hunting out a bargain as far as kit is concerned. She scours the shops looking for things we can use in the shows and often gets quite funny looks at the stuff she buys ( her mini baths are a famous part of the bath bomb experience)
Often in the shows it will be Helen that actually does the demonstration and I will do the talking so most of the pictures that get taken are of her.
She has such a gentle way with little ones that they love coming out to volunteer ( she usually chooses our volunteers and is famous for not being bribed by chocolate!)
She loves getting out into the audience to interact with everyone
She is great at working out routes to the gig and finding out exactly how to get into schools - not always the easiest thing to do.
So Happy Birthday Helen and thanks for being one half of our exciting adventure.
Monday, 23 July 2018
A friend who is a book reviewer shared this wonderful little gem with me this week and I couldn't resist spreading the word!
Written for children of all ages but especially suitable for the youngest this book explores microbes in such a charming way that you get totally wrapped up in the adventures of Min.
Every place you explore with Min is well known to everyone especially little ones and as they are encouraged to touch their teeth, their shirt even inside their belly button we discover who is probably living there and why.
At the every end of the book we see that even though our new friends are little cartoons their shape and behaviour is not random but based on real microbes.
And if you simply cannot resist actually licking the book? Right on the back cover is a small shiny circle just for you!
A beautiful idea sharing the amazing world of the Scanning Electron Microscope and microbes all around us.
Written by Idan Ben-Barak with images by Julian Frost and SEM images by Linnea Rundgren
I loved it and will certainly be buying my grandson a copy and we will get my microscope out!
Monday, 23 April 2018
As many of you know new rules about data protection and collection come into force at the end of May.
We will have to comply with the rules along with many other small businesses and this could affect those of you subscribing to our newsletter.
Messages have been sent to everyone on our mailing list which is and has always been an opt in/by your request only list - we have never just sent it out blindly.
We have changed our website to encourage people to download it directly and so avoid the need to sign up to anything and for us to keep data.
Official message over....back to normal business.....enjoying great science!
Monday, 26 March 2018
This year we decided to create a brand new show to go with the British Science Association chosen theme Discovery and Exploration
Our show "Where Shall We Go Next?" looked at inventions, scientists and engineers in recent years with a focus on trying to share diversity.
We packed up a box of exciting goodies for some hands on science and moved from classroom to classroom sharing the fun.
Some of the children have very profound needs so sometimes our science was sensory and quite simple but some of the children are exceedingly interested in science - a feature of their autism and we had to be on our toes because they know so much about their favourite subject!
On Tuesday we returned to Hayfield for a day with KS2. This time we took dry ice which gave our show a real WOW! factor. The classroom sessions were a little longer and for some groups quite intense as far as the actual science. The range of questions and statements of fact were amazing.
Back home to unpack and repack for a totally different third day
We were off to some good friends at Bidston Village CE school to deliver our new show. We were all very excited because this was the first time we had done the entire show.
The show is divided into four stories and the forensic one was certainly the most popular with KS2. Our dead body caused quite a stir as did dressing up in a bullet proof vest and a Tyvek scene of crime suit.
In the afternoon we worked with year 4 looking at plastics all around us. The classes were amazed at our "Not a plastic cup" made from corn and really enjoyed getting up close and personal with the hydrogel balls.
Day four and we were off to a tiny and very old ( 1600s) school Woodchurch CE.
In the afternoon we worked with class sized groups exploring plastics and seeing just how much water a disposable nappy would hold.
We were the special guests at the golden tables at lunchtime (children earn a place at a special table by good behaviour in break times).
In the afternoon we stayed in the hall and year 2 followed by year 6 came to us. They especially enjoyed exploring the thermo moulding plastic and putting hands into the hydrogel ball container.
Day 6 - yes we worked on Saturday too - we were off across country to Alsager to take part in a Big Bang@ school event. Families, friends and feeder primary schools had all been invited to a day of activities and we were the big show in the main hall.
We did three shows during the day with lots of fire, flame and dry ice. One of the AllAboutStem team Liam took some amazing pictures which you can see here:
Day 7 - we couldn't fit everyone in so spilled over into a second week!
Finally we were done!
An absolutely brilliant BSW2018 with a great new show which we will tweak and then put into our permanent programme.
Probably the best quote of the week - " I liked it when you killed Riley and drew round him" one of our dead bodies in the forensic scene.
Definitely the best image of the week from BB@Alsager by Liam at AllAboutStem.
Here is a montage of all the fun
Monday, 12 March 2018
After all the preparation and anticipation we are finally here.
Whether you are doing something hands on - maybe from the activity packs
or joining in the citizen science project by analysing environmental plastics
SHOUT OUT to
Hayfield Special school Bidston Village primary school Woodchurch CE school
Oakdene primary St Benedicts primary Alsager School
Then we hope you have an amazing time and we will post all about our adventures in a couple of weeks time hopefully with some great images to share.
See you soon!!
Friday, 9 March 2018
The range of activities suggested in this pack covers science, geography, archaeology and design technology.
Some of the activities could be theoretical if practical is not suitable - some of the designs and data research.
Most activities are quite short but could well be incorporated into a longer project.
Growing seeds over a hidden wall to create a crop marker and looking in detail at a local water source all have the opportunity to link to the locality.
Designing polar food with a calorific value but a low weight to carry with you on an arctic adventure
Designing a pengrip for ergonomic use to aid strain when writing those loooong essays!
One of my favourites is the ever popular Squashed Tomatoes from the charity Practical Action.
If you don't want to use real food you could use soft red playdough which shows any damage easily.
The activity itself is quite simple - comparing depth of colour in different weight fabrics but I would extend it to explore natural dyes - onion skins work well so do nettles and other greens plus you could try any red vegetable or fruit. There is opportunity to research online for other natural dyes.
Different fabrics take up dyes differently so you could try a range of fabrics and compare using man made dyes.
With older pupils you could explore salts and mordants - quite a bit of nice chemistry.
Whatever you choose have an amazing British Science Week and we will see you all on the other side!!
Tuesday, 6 February 2018
This pack has 14 different activities in three categories plus ideas for the poster competition and links to the citizen science project for this year.
The three categories are: Exploring our Home; Exploring the Outdoors and Exploring the World.
There are acivities which are very practical and some which are more research based.
Some of the activities are also eligible for CREST awards.
It is hard to pick a favourite from this pack but we especially like:
what could be more appealing to a primary class that to make their own ancient poo. Using a salt dough and brown colouring ( although I think I would use paint rather than the suggested beef stock cube - not sure my senses need that much stimulation) and then adding " dietary evidence" - what a great phrase - you create a coprolite from history.
You can tailor this activity to your history theme by researching the diet of your chosen time period/geographical location and adding the suitable elements such as corn and seeds for the Aztecs. Once allowed to set the coprolite is examined!
This is a great project from the ever popular Practical Action team based on a real life problem faced by the tomato growers in Nepal who need to transport their produce down the mountain side.
I like the way that this activity can be accessed at different levels by a range of age groups and the support material is extremely comprehensive.
You could make this into a whole day event for your upper KS2 and earn a CREST Discovery Award.
AUGMENTED REALITY MINIBEASTS
If you have access to the right technology in your classroom you might like to try using augmented reality - where images "come to life" on screen - as part of a minibeast ID and hunt.
I downloaded the app to my phone and didn't even print out the silhouettes of the ant and the spider
(although that is really what you should do). I opened the app and pointed my phone at the silhuette on my laptop screen and a giant ant came to life! Not for the arachnophobe but the spider is quite incredible - holding your phone with an apparently larger than life spider about to pounce is slightly unnerving. I can imagine if you linked your device to your whiteboard it could be quite an experience!!
I think as an activity this is really a bit of a gimmick to add something new to a minibeast identification game but well worth a try for the novelty even if you just do it yourself.
Download the activity packs here:
Download the augmented reality app using either the i-store or app player suitable for your device.
Wednesday, 31 January 2018
A review of the Early Years activity pack produced by the British Science Association for British Science Week 2018
Every year the BSA produce some great packs to encourage schools and other organisatons to take part in BSW.
This year using the theme Discovery and Exploration the early years pack looks at three areas : the outdoors, the home; the world.
Within those areas there are hands on activities for 3 -5 year olds.
Exploring the outdoors by looking at minibeasts and building a bug hotel or growing seeds
Exploring the home looking at what happens if you mix oil and water or finding creature figurines frozen in ice
Exploring the world by making giant bubbles or a rocket
There is also the opportunity to gain BSA explorer certificate - you can find out more info here:
I think my favourite of all the activities is Mr Seahorse from the Exploring the Home section.
There is a link to a beautifully illustrated science book by Eric Carle
Mr Seahorse explores the science of fathers in nature - the seahorse of the title who incubates the eggs and gives birth and various other male creatures that in one way or another are responsible for the raising of their young.
Youngsters are encouraged to create a sensory bottle filled firstly with coloured water then sea creatures and perhaps glitter or other small particles and finally topped up with oil. Once sealed the bottle is tipped gently from side to side as the oil and water swirl and create patterns and bubbles.
What you get is a beautiful but stimulating science conversation starter that links to the story.
I will definitely be trying this one out with a certain young scientist I know!
Thursday, 25 January 2018
This year BSW will be from 5th - 17th March and schools and organisations all over the country will be running special events to celebrate.
The theme is Discovery and Exploration and the amazing activity packs have just been released.
There are 3 types - early years, primary and secondary, full of ideas across the science curriculum.
You can download yours here:
WHERE SHALL WE GO NEXT?
We have created a special new show for this year celebrating people who have explored science and engineering and have discovered amazing new materials or inventions that affect our everyday lives. We have been doing plenty of research ourselves especially looking for inventions by women often gone unsung.
For example did you know that a woman invented and patented the first windscreen wiper?
|Mary Anderson inventor of the windcsreen wiper|
We will be telling the story of a rainy day through these and other inventions such as hydrochromic inks ( we have an wonderful colour chage umbrella)
Volunteers will be able to try on our bullet proof vest because Kevlar is another invention by a woman.
|Stephanie Kwolek invented Kevlar while working at DuPont|
But it isn't all about the girls - we look at some other smart materials especially super absorbent polymers in nappies, instant snow and hydrogel balls.
In the activity packs there is an experiment to devise a nappy for an astronaut. We have been using this idea for a long time in our polymers workshop which we have updated to link with the new show. We look at super absorbent polymers such as sodium polyacrylate, thermo moulding polymers, biodegradable polymers and link to the citizen science project The Plastic Tide which you can find here:
We are really pleased with this new show and depending on how well it goes during science week we may incorporate it into our programme on a permanent basis.
Last year we ran a special half price offer for primary schools to encourage them to get involved in BSW. It was a storming success so we have done it again.
There are actually only 5 school days in BSW so we have stretched the dates to include the week before and after so any primary school wanting to book us for this show can have it for half price ( plus travel costs)
The actual BSW week is fully booked but we do have space in the week before and after - they are going quickly of course - so any school wanting to book us needs to get in now!