18th March 2009 – Manor Park Science Day

Manor Park School and Nursery Science Festival

Following an article in The Knutsford Guardian covering his work with schools, Dave Thompson (founder of Knutsford SciBar) was invited to visit Manor Park School and Nursery.  It was decided to put on a Science Festival for the whole school encompassing 3 year-old to 11 year-old children for a whole day to interest them in Science.


– A daunting task, but not for Dave……

Volunteers were solicited mainly from the Knutsford Scibar and their families. Lectures were set up for each set of children including, “Earth History & Tectonic Plates”, where Graham Barlow used a theme of travellers in time to introduce the concept of deep time to the children.


Treasure Island with its creator, Scibarian Roger Gittins

Practical demonstrations, involving a lava lamp and cardboard continental boundaries, introduced the children to the concept of plate tectonics and continental drift.

Ged Thompson covered “Forces” for 4-6 year olds, incorporating Pirate Galleon races across a paddling pool to Treasure island, which itself incorporated a smoking volcano and dinosaurs.

Brian Thompson demonstrated “Magnetism – It’s a kinda Magic” featuring levitating magnets, floating compasses and many other electrical and magnetic phenomena.


Launching Alka Seltzer rockets

“Interesting objects in Space” were discussed by Dave himself, followed by the making and launching of Alka Seltzer powered rockets at many of the space objects discussed in class.

There were demonstrations in class by STFC-Daresbury Labs, making banana hammers and ice cream using Liquid Nitrogen at minus 196 degrees C.

Scibarian Roger Gittins had visited the the top classes two weeks earlier to deliver a lecture on how to make pop bottle rockets capable of carrying a raw egg over 100m and landing it unbroken. The children then made rockets at home and brought them to school to be launched. Five rockets containing raw eggs were launched and all five eggs SURVIVED the experience.

Classes were combined into composite classes of about 50 children and each class had one period during the day to visit the Science Fair that was set up in the school’s main hall. The largest feature of the Fair was a Planetarium from STFC-Daresbury Labs into whose dark igloo the children could crawl to see projections of the constellations of stars in the night sky.

The Science Fair also consisted of a number of stalls for the children to visit:

There was a Moon rocket stall, run by David & Christine Skinner, from which the children fired rockets at the moon (indoors!) over the heads of the crowd.

21032009006_medScibarian Kevin Griffiths ran a Visual Illusions stall incorporating dragons with heads that appear to follow you as you move (see right).  There was also a pair of parabolic mirrors and a quiz about many other optical illusions. The children were given dragon templates to take home and make up for themselves.

mamod_medAn Energy stall, managed by Roger Hall, incorporated working steam engines, steam-powered boats and rubber-powered boats chugging across a large paddling pool as well as single coil electric motors.  There was also a hand-built working steam-powered boat made from just a coke can, two straws and a polystyrene chicken tray from Tescos. Oh – and a small candle.


A stall, run by Jon & Jane Cartmel, encouraged the children to build paper aeroplanes and fly them to compete for model plane prizes.  They could also examine the strange properties of the Mobius Strip.

All the stall managers were ably supported by our willing volunteers.

The end result was a very exciting day for the children (and the teachers and volunteers) which culminated in the children showing their parents round the whole Science Festival when they came to pick them up at the end of the school day.


This event was repeated 20th March, 2013.  This time the paddling pool was outside!

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