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Department of Chemistry

Information for primary schools

Inspiring young learners to become excited about science means making it fun as well as informative.

A researcher creating smoke for a group of primary school children
A primary school experiment in action.

Our chemistry activities are hands-on and exciting, engaging primary school children in the subject from an early age.

As teachers and other influencers of primary age children, you will also gain a greater appreciation of university-level chemistry and make the connections necessary to form a long-term relationship with our staff.

Events, demonstrations and activities

Solids liquids and gases show

This exciting show has been entertaining and educating primary children around Manchester for the last few years, highlighting challenging areas of the syllabus at the same time.

Topics we tackle include forces, gases around us, solids and liquids, and changing materials, along with a series of demonstrations involving dry ice or carbon dioxide, oxygen and liquid nitrogen. As well as turning solids and liquids into gases, we also turn gases into liquids and have lots of fun with balloons, bangs and bottle-rockets.

You can book us for an end-of-term science refresher or ask us to revisit with a hands-on workshop.

Hands-on workshops

We have a variety of activities we can arrange to inspire primary school learners.

The most popular is our bath bombs workshop, which is suitable for Year 5 and 6 students (for a maximum group of 30 pupils). This two-hour session is relevant to solids and liquids, gases around us and changing materials topics. It allows room for children to observe and participate and for you as a teacher to observe while our student ambassadors take them through the workshop demonstrations. These sessions promote scientific enquiry and pupil autonomy.

There is space for children to discover for themselves why bath bombs only go off when you add water. They will learn that it is not a reaction of the bath bomb ingredients with the water, but that water helps the ingredients to react by dissolving them. This is a subtle message with a lot of science behind it and is a great way to encourage the basis of 'how science works' though observation and deduction.

As well as taking these 'off the shelf' activities, we aim to engage teachers in the dialogue in order to give them the confidence to be involved in planning and delivery of further workshops. The outcome of this is intended to be a long-term bond with the schools and a teacher cohort more enthusiastic and knowledgeable about chemistry.