Monday, 26 March 2018

A Review of our British Science Week 2018 adventures

March 9th - 18th 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.

So Monday morning bright and early we set off for Hayfield Special school to spend the day with KS1. They had a short version of our Science Magic show followed by 6 short classroom sessions.
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.
Again the show went down extremely well and our colour change umbrella was very popular as was the car windscreen wiper from the rainy day story.
In the afternoon we worked with class sized groups exploring plastics and seeing just how much water a disposable nappy would hold.

Day 5 saw us going over to Warrington to St Benedicts CPS and having a super time especially playing the pirate game discovering the link between sailors, Vitamin C and the cold virus.
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!
This time we were at Oakdene primary in Rainhill with our show and a couple of brilliant dead bodies and then working with year 5 & 6 who knew lots about pollution and plastic.

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
or getting STEM Ambassadors in to talk and demonstrate to your pupils
 or like some of our friends you are getting a company in to do incredible science shows
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

BRITISH SCIENCE WEEK 2018 Activity packs review 3

Secondary Pack
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.
 The challenge comes from real life in Nepal where mountain tomato growers need to get their produce down the mountain to market undamaged. There is supporting resource in posters, video and powerpoint plus teachers notes and worksheets but the real event is to build a contraption to carry the tomatoes down a slope undamaged without throwing them or making  them "fly"!
If you don't want to use real food you could use soft red playdough which shows any damage easily.

The second activity I like is Colours to Dye For examining natural and man made dyes supported by the Textile Skills Academy

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!!