This year, British Science Week takes place from the 8th – 17th March and schools across the UK will be taking part in experiments and investigations. British Science Week is always a busy week for us because we run workshops in schools across England and Scotland. If you are interested in booking one of these primary school workshops for KS1 or KS2 then click here for more information. We have branches in North and South Yorkshire, Cheshire, Liverpool, Manchester, Lancashire, Somerset, Dorset, Shropshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Glasgow.
If you aren’t based near one of our branches and would like some fun hands on activities to do with your primary school children then we have compiled some of our favourite resources and experiments for KS1 and KS2 below. Alternatively, Find a School Workshop is a website with lots of listings of various school workshops available across the UK.
The British Science Association has created a range of activity packs for early years, primary and secondary schools. These are completely free to download and all revolve around the topic of ‘journeys’. Click here to access this free resource.
We offer our very own free downloadable resource with 3 easy experiments suitable for primary school children. Click here to download these simple experiments for primary school teachers.
Make a temporary magnet
Use our easy step by step instructions to help the children in your class make a temporary magnet. All you need is a magnet, a nail and some paperclips and read on at the end to learn about the science behind magnets.
You will need:
- A permanent magnet (e.g. one you buy at a shop)
- Magnetic nail
- Metal paperclips
- Rub the permanent magnet up and down the nail 50 times.
- Put the permanent magnet to one side so that it doesn’t affect the experiment.
- Put some metal paperclips on the table/surface you are using and hold the tip of the nail close to it.
- Gently lift the nail up – the paperclip should be stuck to the tip of the nail!
The Science Bit:
Lots of metal things have very tiny magnetic charges in them. However, in most things, these little magnetic charges are all jumbled up so they aren’t very strong, a bit like a box full of jumbled up magnets. However, in a magnet, all the mini magnetic charges inside have been forced to line up, making them strong enough for us to see their effects. When you rub the magnet on the nail, the magnetic charges in the magnet pull the magnetic charges in the nail into a line so it acts like a magnet for a little while, before they all jumble up again!
Make a cotton reel car
This year’s British Science Week theme is ‘journeys’. This engineering experiment is perfect to fit in with the journeys car, doesn’t need many resources and will help children to understand how energy can be transferred, stored, and released, as well as making a fun toy to play with!
You will need:
- Cotton reel
- Elastic band
- Stick eg. skewer or pencil
- 1x match stick
- Break the match at both ends (don’t snap it) so it makes a U shape.
- Put the elastic band over the broken stick and thread the band through the cotton reel.
- Place the skewer/pencil through the end of the elastic band.
- Wind up the end of the elastic band with the skewer and let it go, watch your cotton reel move!
- If your car isn’t moving, try pulling the stick away from the cotton reel to stretch the elastic band and reduce friction.
The science bit:
- When you wind up the elastic band it begins to store energy.
- When you let go, it starts to untwist, but because of the skewer it can’t untwist fully.
- This makes the other end of the elastic band start to untwist, and because the broken match stick is attached to the cotton reel, the reel turns with the elastic band!
Why not try?
- Making more than one and racing them!
- Trying different materials.