Author Options:

Need ideas for basic science! Answered

Hey guys. I'm in my final year of school before we all part ways and go to university, and a small group of us had an idea to do an outreach program to local primary schools- British equivalent of Elementary School with grade 7. As part of the program we are aiming to interest these kids in learning sciences and engineering since we could be doing with more people taking these subjects in the academy. So can you guys offer any suggestions as to what we can demonstrate and what activities we can get the kids involved in? We have a few ideas for biology, chemistry and physics but not so many for engineering...

Just a little side note, I'm not sure how American schools operate but in Britain we have EXTENSIVE (annoying) health and safety crap and risk assessments if a pupil coughs, so nothing too... Explosive


9 Replies

rickharrisBest Answer (author)2013-06-26

Bristle bots
Water rockets
build towers with straws and masking tape
Build bridges the same - straws or spaghetti
Cup / string phone
See STEM web site http://www.nationalstemcentre.org.uk/tep

Harmonic motion
Spin painting on paper plates
Simple colour changes using indicator and household acids and alkalie (vinegar and Bicarb) - making indicator using red cabbage.

CD Balloon hover craft
paper planes (build a launcher)







Should be something there

Talk to your science department.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

thomas9666 (author)rickharris2013-06-26

Wow thanks for the links and all the ideas! There's a few you've mentioned that we had like the bridge and tower but loads we hadn't thought of. Thanks again

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

rickharris (author)thomas96662013-06-26

Been there - Done it. :-) primary like something they can take away. We did bristle Bots I managed to get a load of used phone buzzers for free.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

Josehf Murchison (author)2013-06-26

An egg is a great way to demonstrate engineering principles.

Take 3 or 4 eggs and carefully cut the shells in half and then stack books on them.

This is a good demonstration of domed ceilings and how engineering and nature are similar.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer


We already had a few good egg based ideas, like the diffusion in eggs and the change of pressure in glass bottles to suck an egg passed the bottle neck etc.
Thanks for the suggestion, when you say shells, are you meaning just the shells, with the yolk and albumen removed?

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer


Yes the shells can hold up several Kilos demonstrating structural integrity of a dome and arches.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer


That's impressive! I'll be giving it a go this weekend and hope to include it in the presentations
Thanks again

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

Kiteman (author)2013-06-26


OK, so it's a bit of a cliché, but it does grab kids' attention. Have a look at https://www.instructables.com/id/Missile-Technology-on-the-Cheap./

I've done every one of those with kids as young as 8, in UK schools and with Cubs.

You *can* use "explosive" activities with children, as long as you risk-assess properly. They can make them, but restrict ignition or launch to one child at a time - I regularly make matchstick rockets with 10-15 kids at a time, but I do the launching myself over a candle. The kids enjoy blowing the candle out!

If you want avoid flames, make stomp rockets with pop bottles, or make Huffin' Hoopsters (https://www.instructables.com/id/Launch-it%3a-the-Huffin--Hoopster/), which can be easy to make, then easy to change for a scientific investifation.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

thomas9666 (author)Kiteman2013-06-26

Thanks for the links, we had thought of rockets but weren't really sure how the schools would respond to it. We'll contact the head of science and our deputy head and see if they would allow it then see how the primary schools respond to it. But cheers, I'll let the others know

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer