Santa’s Den – how green is your sleigh?

Top tip: Engage your students by making your discussions topical

It could be the Copenhagen conference or the Large Hadron Colider – take advantage of whatever’s happening in the news to get your students talking. On a Christmassy theme here’s a great idea generated by teachers in Newcastle on a recent Talk Science course.

Santa’s Den

Using the format of popular TV show Dragons’ Den, students work in small groups to pitch ideas on how to make Santa’s sleigh more eco-friendly – even Santa is looking for ways to reduce his carbon footprint these days!

Santa, his sleigh and a polar bear

Santa, his sleigh and a polar bear

This is a fun and easy way to look at alternative fuels and energy sources. What do you need?

  • Some dragons (technicians do this very well as do fellow science teachers! alternatively get your students to play the part)
  • Five or six small groups of students
  • Information on alternative energy sources

Plenty of info on energy sources is available on the Science Museum’s Energy Gallery website and also from our ‘Does Flying cost the Earth?’ mini site.

Give the groups time to come up with a new way of powering Santa’s sleigh to maximise his green credentials. The add in whatever extra constraints you like – a budget limit, must generate enough power to travel round the world, does it work in the dark etc.

Each group pitches to the Dragons who can cross examine the ideas. The Dragons then decide if they want to invest or not.

For more information about role play activites click here.

Merry Christmas from the Talk Science Team!

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