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Science day

Launch rockets across the cricket pitch at Brackenhurst while at the same time ticking off all those key science skills. Make wind turbines to generate electricity in a practical design and technology activity. Working in small teams, who can make the most efficient turbine to make the most electricity? Find out in our new science day activity.

Suitable for:
½ or full day
Available at:

• On arrival one of our tutors will welcome your group to the Centre and go through the schedule for the day, learning objectives and health and safety issues.

Session A: Usually led by centre teacher.

  • The day can be tailored depending on time, age and ability.
  • The children will be asked to jump in the air - what forces are acting on you?
  • Next, we will discuss gravity and predict what happens when you let go of two pieces of paper. What happens if we scrunch one piece up? So what happens?
  • Introduce the rocket and ask what forces act on the rocket from take-off to landing?
  • Demonstrate assembly, filling and firing of the rocket.
  • Does the amount of water affect how far it will fly? Children to put forward their predictions.
  • Looking at the recording sheets we will discuss about repeatability of tests. How do we make this a fair experiment? What is altered each time?
  • Take equipment out onto cricket pitch and explain safety procedures.
  • Launch rockets and investigate our predictions!
  • Carefully children record the amount of water, angle and distance travelled by the rockets.
  • Calculate mean and present data as a class set of results.
  • On looking at our graph what conclusions can we make about either the amount of water?

A second session could comprise of the class being asked a follow up question

  • Does the angle of launch affect how far it will fly?

Using the optimum amount of water from the first investigation children use ramps built at different angles to investigate the question.

Session B (can be led by either centre teacher or class teacher following instruction guide. Teacher may need a pre-visit to Brackenhurst)

  • What is renewable energy? Discuss examples with the class such as solar, wind, wave, geothermal and bio-fuels.
  • Explain solar energy and how is wind power a form of solar energy.
  • Demonstrate making a turbine using equipment and instructions.
  • What affects amount of electricity generated? Take predictions and write on flip chart.
  • How can we keep the experiment a fair test? Only change one variable. e.g. Size of blade, angle of blade.
  • The children build their own wind turbines in groups of 3.
  • Each group test each turbine and generate their own electricity. Investigate what hap-pens if the variable is changed.
  • If everyone has generated electricity then we will have a class competition by using the bigger fan. Each group tests their turbine to discover whose produces the most electricity out of the class.
  • Finally, we will summarise our findings and discuss the key question. What conclusions can we make about either the size or angle of blade?
  • Tidy away
  • Children will carry out fair testing to include key skills such as: use instructions, make a prediction, work safely, make measurements of volume and distance, record in a table, present findings and make a conclusion.
  • Develop team building skills.
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Further information

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Some outdoor clothing and footwear is available at the Centre but please ensure children are dressed warmly with suitable waterproof outerwear. Please dress for the weather. Detailed activity sheets will be provided at the centre for group’s self-leading sessions. Please note all activity programmes may vary depending on number of pupils and their needs, length of visit and weather conditions.

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