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A day of bitesize activities investigating friction forces and the Earth and space.
Suitable for one or two classes over the course of the day, our popular "Rockets to Rovers" KS2 science workshop is an excellent way for pupils to learn about the forces of thrust, gravity and drag (air resistance) involved in lifting a rocket from the ground. Pupils also learn about earth and space via the history of manned space flight in an exciting and inspiring day of related bitesize activities.
Our forces workshop starts with a presentation featuring HD videos, scale models, front of class demonstrations involving pupils and the handling of actual space flown items from the Apollo 11 moon mission and space shuttle.
Front of class activities involve testing the strength of the type of gold Kapton foil used in the moon landings; using models to show the (surprising) distance between the earth and the moon, guessing mystery objects actually flown in space missions and finding out what it was like to sit in Yuri Gagarin's seat at the top of his Vostok 1 rocket. There is also an interactive timeline (as included in all our science school workshops) to show the important chronology of the space race between the USSR and the USA.
The next activity really gets pupils thinking about forces as they design and make their own paper space rockets before launching them using our own compressed air launcher.
After a brief demonstration, it is up to pupils to decide how to modify their designs for the highest or most accurate flight before entering a competition against their class mates. This is an activity that can be adapted to indoors in poor weather simply by aiming at targets rather than going for height.
No KS2 forces workshop would be complete without looking at the force of friction, and our remote-controlled scale planetary rover offers the perfect activity to explore this topic. After a short introduction about the Mars Curiosity rover, pupils guide the model around a lunar landscape to collect moon samples against the clock, thus learning about the important role of robots in planetary exploration as well as the difficulties that scientists encounter in piloting remote vehicles with regards to friction forces.
This activity is very popular with pupils and teachers alike and also teaches pupils about the friction forces encountered by planetary vehicles, with our cloth terrain providing a very tricky surface for pupils to navigate in one of the most challenging and exciting parts of this KS2 forces workshop.
(NOTE: although we successfully launch many rockets in schools, due to our risk assessment we are unable to launch it in excessively windy conditions or in very small areas - please click here to visit our rocket launch safety page for further details)
In a truly fitting finale, after learning about model rocket motors and recovery systems (parachutes to you and me) pupils witness the launch of a model rocket from your school field or playground.
While this is obviously weather and space dependent, we have managed to launch many rockets with great success and an alternative indoor activity of rocket cars is available if needs be to round off this most excellent forces KS2 science workshop.
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