Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Mr Seahorse - British Science Week 2018 Activity pack review 1

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


Image of front cover of the Early Years resource packThis 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:

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
 And another women built on that invention by automating it.

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!