Kids playing with the Big machine

School groups inside Launchpad

Launchpad is our main interactive gallery that focuses on the topic of physics.  Visitors of all ages enjoy seeing how hot they really are in front of our thermal imaging camera and are amazed to hear music through their teeth – to name just a few exhibits!

Visitors in front of the thermal imaging camera

Visitors in front of the thermal imaging camera

Once the summer holidays are over, the flood of families are soon replaced by school groups.  To stop the big kiddies frightening the little ones we have different Key Stage (KS) days during term-time.

On KS1 (5-7) and KS2 days (7-11), everyone is enthusiastic with large beady eyes gleaming at the wonderments of science. On KS3 days (11-14) the attitudes are totally different – and that’s just the staff…

We have shows about bubbles, explosions and err, structures (it’s a good show folks, honest!) in our show space for those at primary school age and a show all about rocket science for the children in double digits.

There are obvious differences between interacting with 6 year olds and teenagers that I won’t go into detail here but there are many, perhaps surprising, similarities as well.

Kids playing with the Big machine

Kids playing with the Big machine

For a start, all age groups run inside the gallery despite you strictly telling them not to before they enter. They all ask you where the toilets are (but don’t we all?) and they all love the Big Machine, which involves moving grain around with simple machines such as pulleys.

The slang used amongst the schooling public is also consistent.  I have simply lost count of the number of times I’ve heard primary and secondary school children use the phrase ‘oh my days!’ and ‘it’s sick!’ and even combine them both together to form the ‘Oh my DAYS!, It’s SICK!’ super combo.  Whatever happened to the days, well in my days anyway, when it was cool to just say ‘cool’?

Explainer Fact: Over 2600 science shows were performed in the Launchpad show space last year.

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