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Young Scientist Centre

The Young Scientist Centre (YSC) is a partnership between the University and the Royal Institution (Ri). We are the first national branch of the YSC outside of London and a beacon for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in Lancashire.

Workshops

Our engaging and practical workshops aim to inspire the scientists and engineers of the future. 

Tailored for you

All workshops can be tailored according to the group’s age and ability. Unless otherwise stated in the description, all of our workshops last four hours including breaks, with a maximum capacity of 30 students.

How much are workshops?

Workshops are charged at £150 per session, except A Question of Taste (KS5) which is £200. For the 2021-22 academic year we can offer all state funded high schools and FE colleges one free workshop per key stage. For primary schools we are offering one free workshop if your school has above 30% pupil premium. 

How to book:

Email us at: ysc@uclan.ac.uk detailing the workshop you would like to book and an approximate date. A team member will be able to check availability and provide all of the relevant booking details and documentation. A member of our team will then get in touch with all of the relevant booking details and documentation.

Browse our broad range

For more information on our range of workshops browse the key stage groups and subject sections below:

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GCSE workshops

We offer a programme of free practical workshops for GCSE science. These workshops give students the chance to gain hands-on knowledge of the apparatus and skills required by their course.

During the project, we also conduct our own research to assess whether the learning activity has any detectable effect on students’ attainment to help improve our teaching.

Any school can bring up to 30 students, currently covering the GCSE syllabus. As this is funded through our access and widening participation work, at least 50% of students must meet at least one of our WP criteria.

Each workshop lasts approximately four hours. The workshops currently offered are:

  • Measuring Waves – This workshop allows students to use specialist equipment (ripple tanks and vibration generators to set up a standing wave on a string) in pairs to understand how waves in a liquid and a solid can be measured.
  • Acceleration – This workshop gives students the opportunity to use a linear air track and light gates to explore Newton’s Second Law of motion, in small groups (maximum 5 pupils). They will investigate how changing the force on an object and the mass of that object affect the acceleration.
  • Rates of Reaction (Chemistry and Biology) – This workshop gives students the opportunity to measure the rate of a chemical reaction using gas syringes and a reaction catalysed by an enzyme (amylase).

Primary school workshops

Key Stage 2
Duration: 4 hours
Max Group Size: 30

During this workshop, students will make their own bath bombs and lip balms! The workshop gives students a chance to learn about acids and alkalis whilst experimenting neutralisation reactions and producing their own personalised bath bombs. The students will then investigate the properties of materials and states of matter whilst making their own bespoke lip balm.

This workshop is a great introduction to pH, neutralisation, properties of material and solubility and changes of state.

Key stage 2
Duration: 4 hours
Max Group Size: 30

This workshop takes students on a journey through the solar system. They will investigate the Sun and the planets, learning about size, distance and learn the concepts of day, month and year. Through experimentation, students will discover the conditions on each of the planets and their implications for human space exploration. The second half of the workshop focuses on the determination of the relative gravity on Earth, Moon, Mars, Venus and Jupiter using Newton meters. This engaging workshop blends Biology, Physics and Chemistry to explore our Solar system.

Key stage 2
Duration: 3 hours
Max Group Size: 30

Students will try to answer the question ‘What is colour?’ through experimentation. They will investigate how light behaves and how our eyes detect colour. Students will then use separation (centrifugation and chromatography) to investigate various dyes.  During the workshop, students will make their own natural dyes using berries and algae, and dye multi-fibre cloths they can take home. Finally, students will get a chance to use microscopes to observe the algae they used to make the dyes. This workshop is a good introduction to separation techniques and light.

Upper Key Stage 2
Duration 4 hours
Max Group Size: 30

Students are tasked with the mission of investigating the surface of Mars. During the workshop, students will learn to program LEGO Mindstorms robotic rovers, plan and program their rover’s route across the YSC’s model of the Mars surface.

The students use teamwork, maths and programming to successfully navigate the Mars model.

Key stage 2
Duration 4 hours
Max Group size: 30

In this workshop, students will students will learn about all about electricity. They will draw and make series and parallel circuits and then add in switches and buzzers. The students will carry out circuit and voltage testing using power packs, batteries and voltmeters and explore conductivity. In the second half of the workshop, students will be set challenges to apply their knowledge of circuits. This is a fun workshop exploring electricity through a series of experiments and demonstrations using equipment usually found at high school level.

Key Stage 2 and 3
Duration: 2 hours
Max Group Size: 30

This workshop is designed for students between the ages of 9 and 14 years old. Students will extract their own DNA and walk away with a small piece of it in a necklace for them to wear. Students will also get a chance to see where their DNA has come from by staining their cheek cells and view them under the microscope. This workshop is a great introduction to DNA, genes and inheritance.

Secondary school workshops

Key Stage 2 and 3
Duration: 2 hours
Max Group Size: 30

This workshop is designed for students between the ages of 9 and 14 years old. Students will extract their own DNA and walk away with a small piece of it in a necklace for them to wear. Students will also get a chance to see where their DNA has come from by staining their cheek cells and view them under the microscope.

This workshop is a great introduction to DNA, genes and inheritance.

Key Stage: 3 and 4
Duration: 4 hours
Max Group Size: 30

During this workshop, students get to experience what it would be like to work in a forensics lab investigating a fictional murder. They will evaluate the crime scene and suspect DNA samples using fibre analysis and modern molecular biological techniques including restriction digests and gel electrophoresis. This workshop is a great introduction to genetics and forensic analysis and can be adapted for higher ability groups.to include ink analysis by TLC chromatography.

Key Stage 3 and 4
Duration 4 hours
Max Group Size: 30

Students will investigate why fish in a local river are dying by analysing water samples for nitrate levels, detecting metal ions, microbe-content and pH. This session focuses on how science works, with students making and testing predictions. Students will get a chance to use equipment usually found at university level, including micro-pipettes and colorimeters. In the session students learn new techniques, enjoy independent investigation and use data interpretation to draw their own conclusions about a common environmental issue.

Key Stage 3 and 4
Duration 4 hours
Max Group Size: 30

In this workshop, students learn how to program LEGO Mindstorms robotic rovers and they will plan and execute a route across YSC’s model of the Mars surface. The students use teamwork, maths and programming to successfully navigate and ‘drill’ Mars for soil samples. In the second half of the workshop, the students will look for chemical signs of life in Mars soil samples.

This workshop has strong links with current research and space missions.

Key Stage 3 and 4
Duration 4 hours
Max Group Size: 30

In this workshop, students will learn all about electro-magnetism through experimentation. Students will make an electro-magnet, homopolar motor, Westminster motor and a sound speaker. They will get a chance to learn about current research with demonstrations motors and levitating magnets that are super-cooled using liquid nitrogen.

This workshop is suitable for high-ability Year 9 but can be adapted for a mixed group.

Key Stage 4 and 5
Duration: 4 hours
Max group size: 20

In this workshop students will discover what a colour actually is, understand how objects become coloured through their interaction with light, and how Chemists can manipulate these aspects to produce both natural and synthetic dyes. The students then discover how chemical bonding can lead to colour, and they produce both a natural and synthetic dye. The final part of the workshop pitches the students against a ‘real-life’ analytical chemistry scenario during which they will devise their own experiment using aspects of pH and colourimetry to solve a colourful problem.

Key Stage 5
Duration: 5 hours
Max group size: 20

In this genetics workshop, students will extract and test their own DNA using modern molecular biological techniques to compare their phenotype with their genotype. The workshop demonstrates evolution and genetic diversity by analysing the students’ ability to taste phenylthiocarbamide (PTC), a chemical found in vegetables such as sprouts and broccoli. The students will perform in real time a polymerase chain reaction (PCR), restriction digests and gel electrophoresis in the analysis of their own DNA.

Primary school CPD twilight sessions

Twilight CPD sessions are run to share ideas for practical activities to help deliver the Science curriculum at Key Stage 2. Each session is linked to the programme of study for a specific year group.

To assess the impact of the sessions we will ask teachers to take part in an evaluation exercise. This involves reflecting on science teaching back in the classroom after the training has been completed.

For more information about future CPD events please email ysc@uclan.ac.uk

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Demo Competition

Each year, we hold a Demo Competition during British Science Week.

Students and researchers preform a five-minute demonstration of any aspect of STEM targeted at primary school children aged 10 years old. The aim is engage and enthuse young children about STEM, in an exciting and novel way to convey scientific principles. Participants perform during heats where senior UCLan staff choose a number of finalists. An audience of local primary school children choose the ultimate winner during a morning hosted in the YSC.

The winner is the holder of the Best UCLan and Ri Science demo trophy.