Here at Wonderstruck we take things that move fast, catch fire or blow up and turn them into exciting team-based workshops with a competitive edge or make them part of our blisteringly edge of the seat science shows.
Our workshops involve racing fan-powered Cars, building hovercraft, fighting with robots, launching two –stage boosted water rockets, blowing up model castles with gun powder and quite a bit more. On top of that we can work with anything from class-sized groups (or less) up to 600 students all in one go!
Our shows are nothing short of spectacular, with demos that include fireballs, dangerously loud explosions, some wincingly gruesome biology and setting our presenters on fire in a bid to remove congealed wax from their hair (it’s a long story). But it isn’t all about spectacle – we also explain the science as we go along!
Our workshops are team-based, practical and most have a competitive element. They're all based around simple design and construction problems involving devices that move. In short they're a brilliant way to get participants engaged in STEM learning without them necessarily even realising!
All workshops begin with a short, fun introduction to the necessary science and most of them finish with an exciting competitive event.
Compressed Air Rockets (KS1-3). Children build massive rockets and shoot them high into the sky with our tailor made compressed air rocket launcher. These rockets are 75 mm in diameter and over 70 cm long and can reach an altitude of 30 to 40 metres. They can be equipped with parachutes for a soft landing and you can keep them when/if they come back down!
Water Rockets for Beginners (KS1/2). Children learn the basics of rocket science and build their own water-powered sub-orbital launch vehicles.
Castles (KS1/2). Children work in small teams to build their very own castles from small stone blocks and oak beams. They then use a variety of seige weaponry to destroy them. Along the way they learn about forces and motion and get to build their very own take-home trebuchet or catapult.
Sound and Vibration (KS1/2). Children investigate the nature of sound and look at the link with vibration using string telephones, speaking tubes and the amazing Rubens Flame Tube.
The Projectile Workshop (KS2/3). Pupils learn about the history and theory of artillery and then build their own projectiles for firing from our awesome compressed air cannons. We can expand the workshop to include rockets and also our compressed air bazookas.
Advanced Rocket Science (KS3-5). Pupils spend a day learning rocket science in a practical way from the bottom up. They design and build their own water rockets using a wind tunnel and a data logging test rig. If space allows we also look at techniques for building two stage rockets capable of reaching 200 metres altitude. At KS5 we add DV cameras and accelerometers plus a bit of calculus.
Hovercraft Workshop (KS3/4). The session starts with an introduction to Newton’s Third Law then pupils work in small teams to build, test and race their very own model hovercraft over a variety of terrains.
The Fan-Powered Car Workshop (KS2/3). Pupils learn about Newton’s Third Law and then design and build their own fan powered model racing car. It all has to be done to a budget though and we finish with a competition to find the best car.
The Rocket Car Workshop (KS2/3). Similar in format to the Fan-Powered Car Workshop but, instead we use cars powered by water rockets. As you might expect we need access to a tennis court sized outdoor area for this one.
Throwing Your Weight Around (KS1 and beyond). Our brilliant new show focuses on making things move, specifically rockets and cannons, so plenty of bangs, flashes and objects flying through the air. A perfect option for National Science & Engineering Week 2012/13.
The Fantabulous Exploding Science Show (KS1 and beyond). Does what it says on the tin! Highlights include the Desktop Thermobaric Bomb and Flammable Gas Shampoo. This show that ends with a bang – literally.
The Wonderstruck Rocket Show
So how does a rocket engine work? Well, this show has all the answers. It also explains the difference between solid and liquid propellant motors and follows the history of rocket science from the days of the Ancient Chinese to modern space tourism. All of this is accompanied by fireballs, rapidly burning fuels a demo of our very own hybrid rocket motor and a ride for one lucky volunteer in our very own 2 metre long rocket car!
For the past six years Wonderstruck has worked in schools, museums and various visitor attractions delivering science and design & technology workshops. We’ve also worked with a wide range of organisations and institutions to develop new educational resources and materials. Along the way we’ve developed a fair few ideas that we would like to think could be described as ‘engaging’ or even ‘innovative’ and we’re happy to share.
We run INSET sessions, ranging from an hour or two to a whole day focusing on the delivery of great practical science. The sessions are fun and it’s all hands-on, so come prepared to get your hands dirty!
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