Fresh from last month's Cheltenham Science Festival, once again the team was keen to present the variety of learning activities which are closely linked to the primary Science curriculum. It was nice to see some of the families who saw us there and for us to hear some of the comments coming from children: "We've been learning about gears in science" and "doing this makes it easier to understand what we've been learning at school".
It was a refreshing chance to play with water and plasticine to create little floating vessels to carry a few weights. Even young children could understand that just by changing its shape, a heavy mouldable ball can be transformed into a saucer-like boat while introducing to a bit of scientific terminology. The interactive hydraulics and mechanics demonstration illustrates real life innovative methods, such as aeriel platforms and swing bridges which are still used on our waterways today.
The Build a Crane activity is a problem solving challenge where children construct a working device to lift a small weight. The crane uses gears to demonstrate the transfer of energy causing mechanical advantage. It is able to compare the different effort required with and without adding a gear train. The enthused young engineers 'won' a dynamo torch to remind them how a little knowledge of physics can light up a wonder of science.