School visits at Daresbury Laboratory

Contents

Activities and events for key stages 2, 3 and 4

The STFC Big Data Hunt Challenge (Key Stage 2)

The main curriculum links of this exercise are relevant to ages 8 to 11. The basic exercise fits the attainment targets for younger pupils, but the extensions are more suited to older pupils.

Activities include:

  • data bucket challenge
  • Square Kilometre Array or Ghia (astronomy) themed Bee-bot workshop
  • Computational Chemistry workshop using soap, oil and water

The key messages are:

  • computer programs (algorithms) are sets of instructions
  • computer programs need to be clear and specific
  • computer programs should be as simple as possible to avoid errors.

The exercise links to the curriculum to help students:

  • understand what algorithms are, how they are implemented as programs on digital devices, and that programs execute by following a sequence of instructions
  • write and test simple programs
  • use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs
  • design and write programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts
  • use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs; work with variables and various forms of input and output; generate appropriate inputs and predicted outputs to test programs
  • use logical reasoning to explain how a simple algorithm works and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs.

Big telescopes and exoplanets (Key Stages 2 to 4)

The exoplanets exercise can be differentiated for use with both younger and older pupils, teaching both graph and analysis skills alongside inspiring science content.

Activities include:

  • planetarium
  • infrared camera activity
  • meteorites
  • exoplanet workshop.

The key messages are:

  • this topics is inspiring space science and big telescopes from the very large to the very small scale
  • it is important to value space science and technology for its economic, social and cultural contribution to society
  • space and big telescope activities can be cross-curricular.

The exercise links to the curriculum to help students:

  • notice that patterns in tables and graphs can be used to identify anomalous data that require further consideration
  • understand that conclusions must be limited by, and not go beyond, the data available
  • understand we are still finding out about things and developing our scientific knowledge
  • realise that there are some questions that we cannot answer, maybe because we do not have enough repeatable, reproducible and valid evidence.

Arduino workshop (Key Stages 2 to 4)

An Arduino is a programmable circuit board. Users can write code on their computer in a language similar to Scratch and upload it to the Arduino for their projects.

After an introduction to Arduinos and programming, your students will work in pairs or groups to build and code a light sensor. There is no prior preparation required from the teachers for this workshop, as the Daresbury public engagement team will look after everything on the day.

The workshop links to the curriculum to help students:

  • take measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision, taking repeat readings when appropriate
  • design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts
  • use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs; work with variables and various forms of input and output
  • use logical reasoning to explain how some simple algorithms work and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs.

Mobile planetarium (Key Stage 2 and upwards)

Children can voyage around the Solar System and learn about the other planets, or view the night sky and see the many different constellations.

Last updated: 31 March 2022

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