Last Friday we visited Hollydale Primary School in Nunhead to provide the students with a pedal-power taster workshop as part of their Science Week.
It was a great day and the energy unleashed upon us was enormous! 180 children in the space of 3 hours (exhausting but brilliant), each one desperate to clamber on the bikes and have a go at generating their own electricity.
We had three different stations on display:
Pedal-powered smoothie making - introducing the concept of energy conversion from chemical to kinetic to electric. The Watt Challenge - providing context of how you measure energy and how much energy popular household electrical appliances use. Pedal-powered Scalectrix races - the lesson here is all about control, how do you race without going fast? The cars only need a watt or so of power so the racers have to pedal slowly and steadily to keep them on the tracks.
We thought we'd share a few of our learnings too...
Delegate responsibility - don't be afraid to give the kids a role, more often than not they step up to the challenge. If not, their peers kick them into touch (not literally!).
Systems save time - believe it or not the kids were fighting to get on the bikes and give it their all. We only have a very limited amount of time with each group so we've decided that in the future we'll create a numbered card game where the kids randomly pick the order they get to have a go in. No arguments, the cards have been dealt.
Less is more - the practical, pedaling bit is the best bit and in many ways it's the what really brings the science to life, so we want to concentrate on giving time to this during our workshops. Sometimes we leave feeling like we haven't had enough time to get into the hard facts of energy generation, so we've decided to develop and pilot some challenges which we will set the students before we attend the school and create some leave-behind materials which will give the kids more time to learn on a deeper level.
We'll keep sharing our experiences with these workshops as we go.