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By Micol Molinari on

Making time for science

British Science Week (8th-17th March 2024) is fast approaching and as ever, the Science Museum Group Academy has your back if you're looking for ideas to spark your learners' enthusiasm, curiosity and sense of wonder.

This year’s British Science Week takes place between the 8th and 17th of March, with the theme of ‘time’.

Beyond the immediate association with the passing of time – measuring it, marking it with clocks, sundials, calendars- there is a whole host of topics the theme of time can link to.

For British Science Week the Science Museum Group Academy and Resources team have picked out some of their learning resources that fit with the theme of time.

Our Wonderlab+ and learning resources website holds lots of exciting and inspiring science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) activities. They are suitable for all ages and can be used in any setting- at school, home, community groups and even when you are out and about.

We invite you try them out…

Make an animation

How can a series of still images become a moving animation over time?

In this activity, you will make a device called a phenakistoscope, which displays a continuously looping animation made up of images drawn onto a spinning disc.

To link this to time, you could try a clock with hands moving around the face… Or how about drawing an ice-cream that is melting, or a tree that grows? Anything which changes and evolves over time would work really well – the sky is the limit.

Wreck your tech

This is a really interesting activity all about discovering the complexity of everyday technology. It’s a great way to make use of old or broken items, identifying the materials they are made from and how they are put together, as well as perhaps separating them to recycle where possible.

You could time how long it takes to dismantle the object – and then put it back together again. Talk about how the object you are ‘wrecking’ would have evolved technically over time, and what it might look like in the future.

Encourage thoughts about how long it might take to produce in a factory- and then challenge your learners to find out.

If you wanted an even more ‘on-the-nose’ link to time you could focus on using broken clocks, kitchen timers, watches or stopwatches.

Make it fly

What design changes can slow down or speed up a flying object?

That’s for you to find out in this activity, which requires very little in terms of equipment and materials. Learners can get creative with their designs and with the use of a stopwatch, run a practical investigation to develop the perfect paper airplane.

Maths and patterns image bank

Our image banks are a series of themed, high-quality photos of objects within our museum collections. They also contain questions for discussion and investigation.

Why not explore some of the ideas in the images, then encourage learners to think about how time relates to patterns.

Time is at the very heart of real-world patterns that learners will have experience of, and encouraging them to contribute their ideas can make a really meaningful discussion activity that will help you bring out personal connections to the theme.

In the comments below let us know if you try any of these resources!  If you are planning to bring a group to one of our museums over Science Week, watch our short videos on how to make the most of your visit– it will be time well spent!

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