It may still be a few months away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about British Science Week! Recently, we shared our top tips for planning a science week for your school, and as part of that, suggested a few out-of-the-box ideas you could try. In this post, we’ll be expanding on those ideas, giving you some great free activities for science week that you could try running in your school. We think that adding a couple of these, alongside workshops and science shows for schools from external providers like Braintastic! Science, or delivered by your own science department, is a recipe for an unforgettable science week.
1) Scientist fancy dress
We all know the stereotype of a scientist- an old white man with wild hair, wearing a lab coat and safely goggles. But at Braintastic! Science we think that young people deserve to know that this only makes up a tiny proportion of all the different types of STEM careers out there. To highlight this diversity, why not create a fancy dress challenge? Ask each student to dress up as a real-life scientist, living or dead- but there is a twist!
To avoid a room full of Einsteins and Curies, you could add a competition, where any student dressed as a scientist no-one else has chosen gets a special prize! You can encourage them to dig out lesser known scientists- Women in STEM who might have been historically overlooked, and scientists from different countries and cultures.
If you want to take it further, you could ask each student to give a 5 min presentation to the rest of the class. They can talk about their chosen scientist, their life and work, and why they chose them.
Fun and memorable.
Helps develop students’ public speaking and research skills, which are vital for careers in STEM, amongst many others.
Gets students thinking about the range of different STEM careers available, and the diverse scientists working in them
Presentations could form part of PSHE lessons, be done in science class, or even as a whole-school assembly, with one class presenting to the rest of the school.
Or, if you focused on historical scientists, it would be a great way to tie a history lesson into your school science week!
2) Show & Tell
Ask students to bring in an object from home, and explain the science behind it. Make it clear it doesn’t need to be a ‘sciencey’ object- instead, encourage them to think about everyday items. Why are saucepans made out of metal? How does a remote control work? What chemicals go into nail polish, and how does it harden as it dries? Set them a homework task to choose and research the item, then have them present it back to the class
- Helps students see that science is a part of everyday life.
- Develops research and presentation skills
- Allows students to follow their interests
- Encourages creative thinking as students explore the science of their items
3) Demo Day
Another fun way to give students the chance to explore science in their own way is to ask an older year group to present to one of the younger classes. Working in groups, ask your older students to choose a classic science demo and practice it. Once they have it working well, and are confident they can explain how it works, invite lower years into the classroom for a mini science fair! A carousel style can work well here, where small groups of younger students move around stations set up by the older year group, watching the demo, listening to the explanations, and asking questions. Bonus points if their demo links to the British Science Week 2023 theme: Connections.
Ensures students grasp the concepts behind the demo- if you don’t understand it, you can’t explain it well.
Develops public speaking skills
Provides a fun science lesson for both year groups
Flexible for different age groups. It could work just as well for year 6 presenting to year 1 as for year 11 presenting to year 7, with different levels of explanation
4) Treasure hunt
Our final suggestion for fun science week activities is to send your class on a scientific treasure hunt! For younger year groups, this could be a really simple hunt, asking them to find something that floats, for example, or something made of plastic.
For older groups, you could provide more challenging clues, asking them to track down examples of physical or chemical changes, or an element. If you are worried about them actually carrying the items around, you can offer the option to photograph the answer to each clue. If you are feeling really ambitious, you could create a group of objects with some kind of connection between them, and ask students to work out what that is too- fitting in well with the British Science Week 2023 theme of Connections!
Can be done outside of a classroom- might work well as a fun homework activity
Ensures students have really grasped the concepts included in the clues
Different students might find different items, or come up with different connections- you can discuss them in the next class and use that to explore the scientific process, the importance of creativity in science and the power of rational explanation
There are so many ways you can engage your students with science during British Science Week and beyond. Whether you use one of these ideas for science week, or do something completely different, we’d love to hear about your plans. And if you would like to book one of our spectacular science shows for schools to help you create your most memorable science week yet, just email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out the form on our website. We can’t wait to help inspire your students to stay curious!