Schools Challenge Day

Public summary: 

Challenges for Peterborough Stem Festival Schools Challenge Day

Useful information
Kit List: 

Animal Cognition - two tubes, the experiment box, gravel, twigs, balloons
Rocket from Air Streams
IR camera and laptop
Paper and pens


Premise of the day: Have a group of up to 10, 9-11yr olds who have 20 mins to complete a science themed challenge and are then marked on communication, teamwork etc.

Overall theme is a whodunnit style. There are a series of mini challenges for the children to complete, where each one will give a clue to the overall puzzle.

Experiment 1: Animal Cognition
Empty the animal cognition box and tape one of the tubes to the bottom. Partially fill the tube with water and float a partially inflated balloon with a "hidden" piece of paper inside containing a clue. Fill the surrounding space with gravel and twigs. Challenge the children to get the balloon out of the water without putting their hand past the black line on the tube. (If they break the rules then they lose marks!) Once the balloon is out, the CHaOS demonstrators can cut open the balloon with the scissors and give the children the clue. There are two ways the children can remove the balloon, one is by using the gravel and another by using the twigs - giving two clues to find!

Experiment 2: Rocket
Take the rocket from air streams and sellotape a piece of paper to the bottom of the orange rocket, folded carefully so the clue can't be read unless the paper is removed from the rocket. Make sure not to use too much paper/sellotape so the rocket isn't completely wedged in its container. Challenge the children to get the rocket out of the container without touching the container itself. (Again points will be taken away for cheating!). They are likely to need some clues to figure this out.

Experiment 3: IR Camera
Some pens show up in IR, some don't. Hidden messages can be written on paper, both hidden within pieces of text and hidden behind blocked out sections. Potential for as many clues are you see fit to be found here.

Risk Assessment
Date risk assesment last checked: 
Fri, 20/09/2019
Risk assesment checked by: 
Date risk assesment double checked: 
Fri, 20/09/2019
Risk assesment double-checked by: 
Andrew Sellek
Risk Assessment: 
Hazard Risk Likelihood Severity Overall Mitigation Likelihood Severity Overall
Gravel/Twigs Injury from gravel/twigs, e.g. graze. 1 1 1 Warn children to be careful and demonstrator to inspect before use and remove anything in the unlikely event it's sharp.
Call first aider in event of incident.
1 1 1
Dirty water Illness from ingesting the dirty water. 2 2 4 Ensure the children don't drink the water or splash it in each other's faces. Tell them to stop if they put things in their mouth. Remind them to wash their hands before eating.
If ingested, encourage child to spit out water and rinse out mouth with clean water.
1 2 2
Water Water spilt on the floor, causing a slip hazard. 5 3 15 Don't carry out experiment near a thoroughfare and be careful when emptying/refilling the tube (do over a sink if there is one next to you), don't let the children add too much gravel at once or add with too much vigour. Tape the tube to the bottom of the box so it is less likely to be knocked over and should only spill into the box if it is.
Mop up any spilt water as soon as possible. Call first aider in the event of an emergency.
1 3 3
Gravel Gravel being choked on. 1 5 5 Don't give gravel to really young children, confiscate if they are getting silly and putting anywhere near mouth. Call a first aider and/or a ambulance in the event of choking. 1 5 5
Water in box Drowning in the box. 1 5 5 Demonstrator to prevent people putting head into box. If someone puts their head in the box, pull them away from the box. Call a first aider/emergency services in case of emergency. 1 5 5
Gravel Gravel being thrown. 3 2 6 Don't give gravel to really young children, confiscate if they are getting silly and throwing it. Call a first aider in the event of injuries. 2 2 4
Electrical cables Trip hazard. 4 3 12 Try to keep cables out of thoroughfare. If cables must be placed somewhere people are likely to be walking, tape them down.
Call first aider in case of injury
2 3 6
Scissors Cuts from scissors. 2 3 6 Don't let the children use the scissors themselves unless they are safety scissors. Do not let the group use the scissors at all if they are overly excited/boisterous etc. 1 3 3
Wooden rocket Rocket may hit child in face when it takes off - It's not very heavy nor does it go that high so will probably only be a problem if it hits their teeth.
Splinter from wooden rocket.
3 3 9 Make sure the child isn't too close to the rocket when blowing on it.
Demonstrator to check for splinters before use and not use if any are noticed. Children should not need to touch the rocket anyway.
Call a first aider in the event of an accident.
2 3 6
Paper Paper cut 2 1 2 Make sure the children are being sensible.
Call a first aider in the event of an accident.
1 1 1
Saliva on rocket Transmission of illness through contact with saliva. 2 3 6 Wipe the rocket with anti-bacterial wipes, after each group. 1 3 3
Balloons Uninflated and broken balloons present a choking hazard. 1 5 5 Discard broken balloon pieces and do not give uninflated balloons to young children. 1 5 5
Balloons Allergic reaction 2 5 10 Participants should be asked if they are allergic to balloons. They should not touch the balloons if they are. 1 5 5
This experiment contains mains electrical parts, see separate risk assessment.