In September this year we went up to the north of England to deliver a series of pedal-power workshops to primary schools in and around Newcastle. Three days, three schools and 540 pupils later we returned to London a little bit hoarse but very pleased with ourselves.
Back in March we ran our YouWatt Challenge at the Eco-Build conference where Keep Moat ran a dragon's den style competition for community groups to win a demonstration from Electric Pedals in their local area. We were pretty honoured, we've never been in a prize before! The team from Your Homes Newcastle won the prize with a compelling argument for why they deserved us to come along and they decided to extend the offer from a one-off demo to a series of workshops for three primary schools.
We spent a day in each primary school including Stockfield, Byker and Kingston Park. Each class got to spend 45 minutes with us so we could take them through a demonstration of the YouWatt light bulb challenge, a smoothie making session and some Scalectrix races. As ever it was great to see the kids fighting over fruit smoothies, desperate to scoff stawberries, blackberries and whatever else they could get their hands on. We made a couple of the kids chef in each session and asked them to work together and decide what ingredients should go into the smoothies. They responded really well to being in charge.
We created a game where we dealt out numbers at random which selected the order in which the pupils got to go on the bike so there weren't any arguments. With such big groups and not a lot of time it made sense to try and save time wherever possible. It seemed to work.
We like to learn as we go so we handed out some feedback sheets at the end of the workshops. Here's some of our favourite comments.
"It's so easy to power things that use electricity but it's hard work with a bike."
"I enjoyed making the smoothies the most because it was a nice treat to have a smoothie at the end."
"We got to race each other and the session had a good atmosphere. I enjoyed racing the cars."
The teachers told us how they could reference the session when they cover electricity and renewable energy sources in the curriculum. As we move forward with these sessions we're going to try to make sure we're covering the key stages for physics with the various age groups we work with.