Sphere Science is a leading provider of practical science activities in the UK

NEWS

big bang in aylesbury!!!

29th June 2016

Sarah attended the Buckinghamshire Big Bang event ... 

click here for more news


Primary Workshops

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All our workshops support the overall aim of the National Curriculum to “develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science;  to answer scientific questions about the world around” and cover the statutory requirements to teach “practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content”.

All eighteen of our workshops are practical, exciting and inspiring - please see below.

Many thanks for coming in to our school and making the day so enjoyable for everyone – your workshops really were the talk of the school (amongst the children and staff) and would definitely recommend your workshops to others in the future and hopefully ask you back in the future too. 

Contact us at email@spherescience.co.uk or click here to complete our online form.  Our standard booking terms can be found here.

Workshop days cost £435 (+VAT) but some workshops which take place in areas where Workshop Leaders live will be available at reduced rates.  Please enquire for more details.  If overnight accommodation is necessary, a supplement might apply.

There are organisations offering grants to support science activities in schools - click here for more details. 

Our workshop programme is extremely popular so the more lead-time (and choice of dates) you can offer, the better. Some workshops are available in all areas - as indicated below.

Three workshop sessions will usually fit into a school day. Workshops are designed for a class of about 30 children with their class teacher. These workshops are designed specifically to develop pupil skills. 

Notes are provided as support for the teacher to follow up the workshop. We hope that teachers will use the workshop ideas in their own teaching.

Some of the workshops need extra support - either adults or pupil helpers. Pupil helpers will have an opportunity to develop science communication skills so the pupils selected to help need to be alert, fairly competent and likely to benefit from taking part in the sessions.

Our full list of workshops (please see each one separately, below, for full details):

Air                                               Citrus                          Rollers                      Wind

Black Gold Challenge                  Fire                              Separating

Boats                                           Fizz                              Solar Circuits

Buggies                                        Light                            Space

Carousel                                      Play                             Story

Circuits                                        Recycling                     Studying Substances

Primary workshops and the English Curriculum - click here

Primary workshops and the IPC Curriculum - click here

Primary workshops and the Scottish Curriculum - click here

Primary workshops and the Welsh Curriculum - click here


Air

Forces:  identify the effects of air resistance 

Context: how things move through the air and how their movement can be altered. 

These are a set of contrasting investigations making gyrocopters, hoopsters and kites. 

  • Space: hall
  • Time: 90 minutes
  • Age group: Y5/Y6
  • Extra support (older pupils or adults) needed
Good progression of investigative skills/ideas. Good discussion of variable/constant. Reinforced good practice in fair testing.

Black Gold Challenge 

Context: how the petrochemical industry extracts and separates components of crude oil.  Thirty children are challenged to produce a small-scale version of the oil and gas industry. Five teams each have a different challenge to solve.

  • Space: hall 
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Age group: Y5/Y6
  • Not available in all areas

Boats 

Forces: identify the effects of water resistance 

Context: how things float (and sink) using different materials and making different boat shapes.

This is a sequence of short investigations making boats and rafts.

  • Space: classroom with access to a tap
  • Time: 90 minutes
  • Age group: Y3/Y4, Y5/Y6
  • Not available in all areas

Buggies

Forces (Y3/4): compare how things move on different surfaces; notice that some forces need contact between two objects

Forces (Y5/6): identify the effects of friction, that act between moving surfaces

Context: how the energy from the release of air in a balloon powers a small car (buggy). 

As the pupils make buggies, they investigate the variables affecting how they work. 

The class keeps the buggies.

  • Space: hall or very large classroom
  • Time: 90 minutes
  • Age group: Y3/Y4, Y5/Y6
  • Not available in all areas
An excellent example of active learning. The class had a brilliant afternoon, and looking forward to conducting more testing next week. 

Carousel

 

Everyday materials: describe the simple physical properties of a variety of everyday materials; use materials with certain physical properties;

Uses of everyday materials: identify and compare the suitability of a variety of everyday materials;

Forces and magnets: notice that some forces need contact between two objects, but magnetic forces can act at a distance; observe how magnets attract or repel each other and attract some materials and not others 

Context: materials and forces. This is a set of five investigations based around the theme of a circus.  

  • Space: hall or classroom
  • Time: 75 minutes
  • Age group: Y1/Y2
  • Extra support (older pupils or adults) needed
Excellent range of fun activities that children could understand, enjoyed, stayed on task throughout. Promoted team work and thinking. 

Circuits

Electricity: construct a simple series electrical circuit, identifying and naming its basic parts, including cells, wires, bulbs, switches and buzzers; identify whether or not a lamp will light in a simple series circuit, based on whether or not the lamp is part of a complete loop with a battery; recognise that a switch opens and closes a circuit and associate this with whether or not a lamp lights in a simple series circuit; recognise some common conductors and insulators, and associate metals with being good conductors.

Context: this is a set of six short circuit investigations.

  • Space: hall
  • Time: 75 minutes
  • Age group: Y1/Y2
  • Extra support (older pupils or adults) needed
  • Not available in all areas
Brilliant! Perfectly pitched and so well set out and prepared. Given me confidence to try out something similar as part of a topic. 

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Citrus

Y6 Animals including humans: recognise the impact of diet

Context: how much Vitamin C (relatively) is found in different citrus fruits. 

This is an investigation by pupils, discussing fair testing and accurate results.

  • Space: classroom with at least one sink.
  • Time: 90 minutes.
  • Age group: Y5/Y6
The children have never been so enthusiastic about science as they were during this investigation. Very well taught, organised, resourced and differentiated. A most impressive experience.

Fire

Everyday materials: distinguish between an object and the material from which it is made; describe the simple physical properties of a variety of everyday materials.

Uses of everyday materials: find out how the shapes of solid objects made from some materials can be changed by squashing, bending, twisting and stretching

States of matter: observe that some materials change state when they are heated or cooled

Properties and changes of materials: compare everyday materials on the basis of their properties, including transparency; demonstrate that changes of state are reversible changes 

Context: the origins and properties of waxes, changes of state and non-reversible changes. 

This is a lively interactive discussion, easily differentiated to focus on specific topics.

  • Space: classroom or hall with electrical point
  • Time: 75 minutes
  • Age group: Y1/Y2, Y3/Y4, Y5/Y6
Covered hundreds of learning objectives! I couldn't possibly ask the children what they had learnt because there was so much! Brilliant! Thanks! 


 

 

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Fizz!

Context: the pupils use litmus to identify acids and then design a fair test to investigate the effect  of temperature on an acid/carbonate reaction.

  • Space: classroom with at least one sink.
  • Time: 1½ hours.
  • Age group: Y5/Y6
  • Not available in all areas

Light

Context: this is a set of five short investigations comprising reflection, casting shadows, how shadows change during the day, light being an energy source.

  • Space: hall or classroom
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Age group: Y3/Y4
  • Not available in all areas

 

 

 

 

 

 

Play

Context: pupils investigate a variety of toys to think about how they work.  Concepts covered include pushing, pulling and twisting, and introducing fair testing.

  • Space: hall
  • Time: 75 minutes
  • Age group: Y1/Y2
  • Extra support (older pupils or adults) needed
The children were buzzing afterwards. The session acted as a real “eye opener” for me – seeing how science can be delivered so easily with everyday objects. 

Recycling 

Context: pupils think about recycling in general and then use old sugar paper to produce small pieces of new paper, and examine different combinations of new fibres.

  • Space: classroom with sink
  • Time: 90 minutes
  • Age group: Y3/Y4, Y5/Y6
  • Not available in all areas
The kids loved this and want to do it again – we will! 

Rollers

Forces (Y3/4): compare how things move on different surfaces; notice that some forces need contact between two objects

Forces (Y5): identify the effects of friction, that act between moving surfaces

Context: how the energy from the release of an elastic band powers a small toy (bandroller). 

This is an investigation, as the pupils make bandrollers, of the variables affecting how they work. 

The class keeps the bandrollers.

  • Space: hall or classroom
  • Time: 75 minutes.
  • Age group: Y3/Y4, Y5/Y6
Very good. Practical, hands on, requiring skills such as measuring, decision making, precision, safe use of equipment etc. 

Solar Circuits

Electricity: compare and give reasons for variations in how components function, including the brightness of bulbs, the loudness of buzzers and the on/off position of switches 

Context: how a simple circuit is affected by a sequence of small changes.

This is a number of small investigations some of which use solar cells.

  • Space: classroom and outdoors (weather permitting).  Lamps will be used in bad weather.
  • Time: 90 minutes.
  • Age group: Y5/Y6
Highly organised, well resourced and children were expected to ‘discover' rather than being spoon fed. Children kept interested with a wide range of activities. 

Separating

Pupils investigate different methods of separating mixtures including sieves, magnets, filters and de-gassing.

  • Upper Primary
  • Room: classroom with at least one sink 
  • Time: about 60 minutes
  • Not available in all areas

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Space

Earth and space: describe the movement of the Earth, and other planets, relative to the Sun in the solar system; describe the movement of the Moon relative to the Earth; describe the Sun, Earth and Moon as approximately spherical bodies; use the idea of the Earth’s rotation to explain day and night and the apparent movement of the sun across the sky.

Students carry out simple investigations into phases of the moon, the solar system, stars, the night sky, and shadows. They also need to evaluate the modelling concepts used.

  • Space: hall
  • Time: 90 minutes
  • Age group: Y5/Y6
  • Extra support (older pupils or adults) needed
  • Not available in all areas
There was a fun element to the workshop and I am particularly looking forward to using the umbragraph next time the topic is being taught. 

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Story

Simple, accessible science investigations, linked to a story book. Parents and carers can be invited to take part.

  • Space: classroom
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Age group: N/R/Y1 and Y5/Y6
  • Extra support (older pupils or adults) needed
  • Not available in all areas
The children loved the activities and it was extremely well organised.  The activities were pitched at the correct level for the children so they could all have a go.  

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Studying Substances

Properties and changes of materials: know that some materials will dissolve in liquid to form a solution; use knowledge of solids, liquids and gases to decide how mixtures might be separated, including through filtering; demonstrate that dissolving, mixing are reversible changes; explain that some changes result in the formation of new materials, and that this kind of change is not usually reversible; 

Context: pupils try ten different experiments to test their ability to follow instructions, observe carefully and record accurately.

  • Space: hall
  • Time: 90 minutes
  • Age group: Y5/Y6
  • Not available in all areas

Wind

Context: pupils design a model wind turbine and investigate variables to improve its efficiency.

  • Space: hall or large classroom
  • Time: 90 minutes
  • Age group: Y5/Y6
  • Not available in all areas
The children really enjoyed making wind turbines. The content was first class and fitted in well with the science topic on electricity. 

Secondary Workshops

All our workshops encourage curiosity in science with investigations of variables that can be changed quickly to enable students to collect data and/or assess results.

All our workshops are practical, exciting and inspiring.

Contact us at email@spherescience.co.uk or click here to complete our online form.  Our standard booking terms can be found here.

Our usual price is £435 (+VAT) a day. Please note that there might be a small contribution towards accommodation if the Workshop Leader is not local to your area.

There are organisations offering grants to support science activities in schools - click here for more details. 

Our workshop programme is extremely popular so the more lead-time (and choice of dates) you can offer, the better. Some workshops are available in all areas - as indicated below.

Three workshop sessions will usually fit into a school day. Workshops are designed for a class of about 30 students with their class teacher. These workshops are designed specifically to develop students' skills. 

Notes are provided as support for the teacher to follow up the workshop. We hope that teachers will use the workshop ideas in their own teaching.

See below or click here to download details.

Buggies

Students each build and test a buggy powered by a balloon. They work out all the independent variables and choose one to investigate its effect on a dependent variable.

  • They can retain their buggies for further testing.
  • Space required: hall 
  • Time: 90 minutes

Chromatography [coming soon]

Students use different forms of chromatography (including radial and ascending) before investigating how to separate the pigments in grass. 

  • Space required: laboratory or classroom with sink
  • Time: 90 minutes

Citrus

Students investigate the amount of Vitamin C in different fruits using DCPIP solution.  They need to identify and control all variables to produce accurate results. 

  • Space required: room with at least one accessible sink.
  • Time: 90 minutes

Rollers

Students each build and test a wind-up toy to determine the optimum value for each variable. They can retain their toys for further testing.

  • Space required: hall
  • Time: 75 minutes

Studying Substances

Students carry out ten simple investigations (all are either physical or chemical changes) which require them to follow written instructions carefully and make accurate observations. 

  • Space required: laboratory or classroom with sink
  • Time: 90 minutes

Space

Students carry out simple investigations into phases of the moon, the solar system, stars, the night sky, and shadows. They also need to evaluate the modelling concepts used.

  • Space required: hall
  • Time: 90 minutes

Wind

Students are challenged to design a model wind turbine and then to make it more efficient by investigating different variables. Their wind turbines will be tested using an electric fan.

  • Space required: hall
  • Time: 90 minutes

Science Clubs

Sustainable Educational Environmental Developmental Sessions is a science club project designed for six Y5 pupils to run sessions (probably at lunch time) for twelve pupils in Y2. This is a really exciting development in promoting science in primary schools and is truly sustainable in that the Y5 pupils will, as Y6 pupils, train up their replacements so that the science club can continue to run indefinitely. 

SEEDS provides thirty numbered activities; each activity is complete in itself and is suitable for a thirty minute session. These sessions are intended to be short, practical, self-contained and fun. 

The main aim is to help the Y5 pupils to develop confidence in presentation, communication, planning and organisational skills as well as consolidating their own scientific knowledge. It also encourages all the children involved to think in a scientific way about what they are doing, ask questions and communicate their observations and ideas. 

Although the activities relate to scientific content accessible to both age groups, they are not meant to be little lessons.  They are not necessarily demonstrations either to provide right answers or to illustrate aspects of the KS1 curriculum. Neither are they necessarily investigations giving opportunities for recording, predictions, fair testing and conclusions based on evidence. The only running costs to the school are one or two small perishable items (needed for some activities) and a small amount of photocopying.

There are two ways of having SEEDS in your school.


Starter SEEDS

This is a small kit containing the specialised materials for fourteen carefully-selected activities. This costs just £140. Other activities can be bought at a reasonable cost as required.


Full SEEDS

A Workshop Leader runs one centrally-located INSET day for the adult supporter and the Y5 pupils from each of five local schools. Ongoing support for the club is available via e-mail.

The cost per cluster of five schools is £3700 plus VAT; this includes the SEEDS activity kits, the INSET and ongoing support. For one school in isolation, the cost is £1000 plus VAT.

Active clubs can also affiliate themselves to the national STEM Clubs Network which can be contacted at: www.stemclubs.net.

During OFSTED my club members presented to one of the inspectors and he was most impressed. He said he had never seen anything like it in other schools! 

"Thanks so much for the brilliant training last week."
Sara Islington 

To find out how to join the SEEDS scheme email us at email@spherescience.co.uk or click here to complete our online form.



Science Communicators

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There are two versions of this exciting programme:

"SPLATS" for secondary schools and colleges

"Cascade training" for trainee teachers

SPLATS

SPLATS = Students Presenting Learning And Teaching Science.

Students present a series of science activities to primary pupils. This project brings together secondary schools and their local primary schools to enjoy an exciting practical science day.

The benefits of this project are:

  • Secondary students developing confidence in presentation, communication, planning and organisational skills;
  • Primary pupils and their teachers enjoying hands-on science activities which develop science enquiry and investigation skills;
  • The pupils meeting secondary staff and students;
  • The secondary school developing closer links with the primary schools.

Each activity also generates resources for the primary school teachers for follow-up work. Typical format:

Eighteen sixth-form students present six workshop sessions to six classes of Y5 pupil and their teachers. This would all be hosted on the secondary school site.

Day 1: the students are trained to present science workshops.

Day 2: pupils meet the students and enjoy an action-packed day of workshop sessions.

 Variations are possible, for example:

  •    Having more than one event day;
  •    Involving Y9 or Y10 students instead of sixth-formers;
  •    Involving more secondary students;
  •    Taking the workshops into local primary schools;
  •    Involving younger primary pupils.

Recent successful SPLATS projects have been held in Wakefield, Luton, Sutton and other places across the UK.

The cost of one SPLATS Project (comprising one training day, one event day and all materials) is £1800 plus VAT. This assumes up to 180 primary pupils participating in KS2 workshops. Variations (including extra event days) can be costed accordingly.

Further event days can be added at up to £900 (+VAT) per day, depending on logistics.

 

"An excellent project that both sets of students gained a lot from. The greatest improvement was in the students confidence in their own presentation and communication skills.
"I would recommend it. It achieved all that I had hoped it would do but in a number of areas exceeded my expectations."
                         Head of Science, Bedfordshire
 
"I really enjoyed the training we received; it was fun, enjoyable and I learnt a lot from the experience. I enjoyed it so much that when our teacher suggested that we could progress our skills further by teaching other year groups I wanted to be involved. In science club myself and a group of friends tried out some experiments and activities that we thought were suitable for year 4s.
"I would really encourage anybody who is thinking about doing SPLATS to try it; the experience was an unforgettable one and I really thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it."
                          Paige from Hall Cross School , Doncaster

"I was chosen to take part in SPLATS by my head of chemistry, having shown a great interest in chemistry and sciences during my GCSE studies.
"Initially we were taught the many activities that we would be teaching … and over the course of 2 days gave lessons to classes of year 5 pupils from surrounding schools in the local area.
"Through being involved in SPLATS I have been inspired to focus my sixth form education towards becoming a chemistry teacher. I would highly recommend SPLATS as it has both improved my teamwork and confidence skills whilst being a thoroughly enjoyable experience."
                  Alfie from Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield


Cascade Training

 

This is a two-day practical science course for trainee teachers. It has been run successfully for fifteen years with students from many universities including Kings College London, Christ Church Canterbury, Sheffield Hallam and Warwick.

The course provides experience and confidence in teaching practical, investigative science.

The first day is a training day and the second allows the students to work with local primary pupils. It can take place at any point of the teacher training course.

"I’m a first year and when I first went into school I had a casual friendly manner and then it is difficult to keep control. This activity has given me a chance to use lots of techniques to manage the class in practical work and I have found class management surprisingly easier than I thought."
Trainee teacher

"My favourite was the electricity we had chance to explore different circuits and the solar cells worked even though it rained."
Trainee teacher
My confidence in teaching science has increased significantly, and I have gained some great ideas as to how I can introduce scientific skills within my own teaching.”
Trainee teacher
The activities chosen demonstrated excellent practice, were highly sound in terms of educational pedagogy and were in line with the most recent OFSTED guidance.   All the children were able to engage with the tasks set, yet there was ample opportunity to extend beyond this.”
Course tutor

 

To contact us please email us at email@spherescience.co.uk or click here to complete our online form

Community outreach 

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If you are running a special event, we can run exciting and engaging science activities for it.

If you want a family fun day, we can organise it for you.

If you are planning a science festival, we can provide exciting activities for it. 

If you are organising an event with sessions for visiting schools, we can provide exciting activities.

We can design and run entire family science days for up to 4000 people.

Whatever your needs, we can design and provide an activity for you and cost it accordingly.

"Thank you again for an exemplary day’s activities at half term. “Exemplary” in a very literal sense: everybody can learn from you. Most particularly, my grandson loved it. What greater accolade could there be!"
Richard Robinson
Director, Brighton Science Festival

To contact us please email email@spherescience.co.uk or click here to complete our online form.



Businesses

Encourage public interest in your company. Create a buzz!

Our hands-on activities:

  • Reflect the science or engineering involved in your business in practical activities for schools
  • Link your business with your local community with school workshops and family days
  • Promote your company to potential employees
  • Stimulate positive media coverage and good public relations
  • Support the teaching of science in schools
  • Are good fun for people of all ages

 

We love what we do and we can make it work for you

  • We listen to your objectives and suggest the best strategy 
  • We ask you what your company does and how it works
  • We are friendly, straightforward and easy to work with
  • We have fifteen years’ worth of exemplary feedback

 

We can design suitable activities just for you. Simply send us an email email@spherescience.co.uk or click here to complete our online form.

 

"Sorting Things" in action

"Sorting Things" in action

On behalf of Urenco Limited, we provide a "Sorting Things" workshop to schools in the Ellesmere Port area. This supports the national curriculum and relates to their industry.

We now have an agreement with the British Council under a framework agreement for the delivery of STEM education services for the Newton Programme

On behalf of Shell, for nearly two decades we have delivered over 6000 workshop days and over 120 Family Days (for up to 2000 people at a time). Please see their website for more details.

Through your workshops, family days and teacher training programmes the Shell Education Service has inspired hundreds of thousands of students about science. The Sphere Science team has worked hard to deliver a consistently popular programme, for which we have received much positive feedback from participants over the years. You have provided sound advice about how to engage and inspire primary age children, and successfully delivered the programme on time and on budget. As a way of exciting young children about science, we are proud of what you have achieved and grateful for your hard work and commitment.

Anna Haslam, Head of UK Social Investment & Sponsorships at Shell 

The Family Days run by Sphere Science have always been extremely popular with local children and their families. Everyone that takes part has a fantastic time and the kids always come away learning something new.

John Raine, Upstream Social Investment Manager, Shell 



Show

Street Science

This exciting show comprises a series of “science tricks” with unexpected and surprising outcomes, challenging the audience to think through, with the help of the presenter, how each one works.

It runs for about 45 minutes.

It is ideal for assemblies (R/KS1, KS2 but probably not the whole school together), as part of a larger activity (eg a Family Day) or for an after-school event.  We are very flexible.

The cost is £400 for a whole day (3 shows), £270 for a half day (2 shows). Please note that there might be a small contribution towards accommodation if the Workshop Leader is not local to your area.

Just send us an email email@spherescience.co.uk


CPD/INSET 

 Investigative Science in the Classroom

We have run courses in Science Learning Centres, universities, teacher centres and schools for twenty years and we continually review and update our materials.

 Our courses are inspiring and bursting with practical ideas.


 

CPD

We offer CPD to increase confidence in teaching science enquiry and investigative skills, for experienced teachers, new teachers, trainee teachers, and teaching assistants.

 CPD for teachers with more experience in teaching primary science, including science co-ordinators and subject leaders, to discuss a small range of contexts which may be challenging to present to primary pupils, are likely to introduce misunderstandings, or which are difficult for class teachers to extend (to level 4 in the English Curriculum and beyond). 

 CPD on creating a buzz in science through science clubs, family days and events. We have over fifteen years' experience of running science clubs and managing family days.

 "Hands on task / lots of great ideas for science lessons to take back. Whole table felt that the presentation was very good wish that we had been inspired by science with explorations like today, when we were at school.
 "Practical ideas / resources / recommended books etc investigative skills, addressed misconceptions. Feel enthused." 
 "Very practical and plenty of ideas across key stages. Excellent."

Exciting practical school-based courses

 We offer primary INSET days to support the teaching of science enquiry and investigative skills. We aim to increase staff confidence in structuring investigations for themselves and in encouraging pupils to ask questions and look for answers.

 We design the day to meet the needs of each school's curriculum, focussing activities on materials and their properties and physical processes. Shorter courses are negotiable.

 We can arrange twilight sessions, but these should normally follow a specifically designed school workshop day with three classes of pupils. As many members of staff as possible should visit the class workshop sessions, so that we can establish an initial framework for discussion in the short twilight INSET.

 

 "I'm glad I made the right choice of selecting Sphere Science when looking for someone to share their expertise with us :)"

 

 "I would like to say huge thank you for a lovely inset. Staff were excited and have been asking for some of the resources they used. The inset also encouraged them to think outside the box and as a result they have adapted some of their plans."

Costs

 The usual cost of our one-day course is £520 + VAT. Costs include materials and assumes up to thirty participants at an agreed venue. Notes are available but photocopying is not included. 

Just send us an email email@spherescience.co.uk or click here to complete our online form.



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