What does a CHaOS visit involve?

The CHaOS team will arrive at your school, with our van full of experiments and a minibus of volunteers. We usually require a couple of classrooms or a school hall to set up our equipment. This takes about an hour and we bring all the equipment that is required with us. All we need from you is access to electrical power and (ideally) a tap. In some cases it is helpful if we can set up the night before, but this is not essential. In summer, if outdoor space is available for us to use, we will be able to set up some of our larger and messier experiments!

We will split the school day into sessions, where each session is a period of time that fits well into your timetable. Up to 60 pupils can attend each session. Pupils are divided into groups, usually of 4-6 and each group moves around the different experiments, typically spending ~10 minutes on each. We usually run 4 or 5 sessions in a day, seeing about 200-300 pupils in years 5-8. (If you don't have as many pupils as this in year 5-8 in your school we might still be able to visit, but we might come for a half day or also visit another nearby school on the same day. Drop us an email and we'll think about what might work best for your school).

Each experiment is demonstrated by an enthusiastic university student who will demonstrate the experiment and explain the science behind it at a level appropriate to their age. Most of the experiments are hands-on and allow the children to have a go themselves. Children are particularly encouraged to ask questions and try out their ideas too.

We have a huge range of experiments, and can only ever bring a selection of them to a school on a given day. We're quite happy just to pick these ourselves, but please take a look at our experiments list to see if you have any particular requests.

At the end of the day we pack up, clear up and leave. This typically takes around 45 minutes.

Some suggestions for helping us when we're running events:

  • If we are visiting a school for the day, it is really nice if you are able to provide our demonstrators with a school lunch, since this means we don't have to have someone taking time out of working with pupils to make lunch for the rest of us!
  • It is often helpful if teachers can split the group visiting a CHaOS session into smaller groups before they arrive. This can save us time and avoids us forming groups that have problems working with each other.

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