Science shows

Science shows and Workshops are a great way to have fun learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and the History of Invention.

The shows are highly interactive with lots of great photo opportunities.

The pictures below show some of the venues where I have delivered science shows, workshops and demonstrations.

I also work in schools providing shows and workshops for pupils in the age range 4 to 18yrs. See ‘workshop’ titles at the bottom of the page.

Discovery Museum in Newcastle

Cutty Sark in Greenwich

Locomotion Railway Museum in Shildon Co. Durham

The Stephenson Museum on Tyneside

Newcastle University at The Big Bang Science Fair

The Institute of Civil Engineering in London

The Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle

The Institute of Mining Engineering in Newcastle

Sunderland Museum and Wintergardens

and in primary and secondary school halls all over the country

Discovery Museum

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This aerial view was taken from a balcony in Newcastle Discovery Museum at a yearly science week event in which school groups take part in lots of different workshops and activities.

That’s me bottom centre in front of the tables with a group from Saint John Boste RC Primary School in Washington doing a show about ‘motive power’.

The ship in the picture is the World famous ‘Turbinia’, the first steam turbine powered ship and the fastest ship in the world in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. It was designed and built by Sir Charles Parsons on the River Tyne.

Doing a science show right next to such an amazing invention was really exciting.

Following are some pictures of the equipment used in the various science show demonstrations at Discovery museum over the years.

Behind the demonstration tables you can see a large green machine.

It is a steam turbine electricity generator which was once generating power in a local power station.

It too was designed and built by Sir Charles Parsons.

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I like to find amusing ways to illustrate and explain how things work. In this demonstration one of the pupils is wearing a crash helmet fitted with an air operated fly swatter! The idea is to show how a compressed gas acts like a store of energy which can be used to make things move when we allow it to expand into a ‘cylinder’.

The rest of the children are focused on a rather large toy fly hanging from a fishing line which is about to be swatted if the aim is accurate!

Cutty Sark

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Cutty Sark is a brilliant venue for a science show or workshop activity. The activity area is underneath the hull! The principles of buoyancy and stability were explained using a water tank and hull section model then the family groups taking part were shown how to make a

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model land yacht racer like the one pictured below. Testing the land yachts was great fun. We marked out a race track and blew them along using desk fans. The middle picture below shows the Cutty Sark model ballasted with marbles and filled with ‘tea’ chests.

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See the Land Yachts page in the D and T section

Locomotion Railway Museum

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These pics were taken at a family science day event. The audiences ranged in age from 4yrs old to 84yrs old (perhaps older but it wasn’t polite to ask). We had a fabulous time using a variety of compressed air models to show how a steam engine works.

The Stephenson Museum

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This was ‘Steam Day’ at the museum

Visiting year 8 school groups were taken for rides on the train and took part in a science show about Steam Power. Following the show we made balloon powered models to illustrate the pushing force of a compressed gas.

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model turbine pic copy

Above is a video of one of the demonstrations which shows how a jet of steam from a nozzle can move a ‘turbine’ as it expands and spreads out into the air. The steam gives up its energy as it expands and the energy is converted into mechanical motion.

Left is the balloon powered car model made by the pupils. The races were great fun!

Newcastle University

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The Big Bang Science Festival was held at Newcastle University in July 2013. The science show audiences were in the age range 10 to 16 yrs and a typical audience size was 350. The topic was ‘energy’ and the pic top right shows the Herschel Lecture theatre prior to the shows.

Amongst the demonstration models and props used were an exercise bike generator, laser lights and lenses, the plasma dome pictured above and compressed air engines.

Literary and Philosophical Society Newcastle

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This lecture show was based on the life of the famous scientist and inventor Joseph Swan. He was a brilliant chemist and solved all sorts of difficult problems in the field of photography and the developing of high quality negatives and permanent prints. He is also famous for the invention of the light bulb or ‘incandescent lamp’ as he called it. His life story is a very interesting one and this was described in the lecture show.

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The practical demonstrations included an electric shock machine or electrostatic generator pictured right, an evacuated glass bell jar which could explode balloons and was used to demonstrate the heated filament of a lamp, and all sorts of light and electricity experiments.

The Institute of Mining Engineering

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This was the 2012 Family Christmas Lecture show at the institute.
The show was about the famous scientists and inventors who lived in the region and how they changed the world.

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The lecture theatre at the institute is amazing. It was constructed as a replica of the very famous Royal Society lecture theatre in London where scientists such as Sir Humphrey Davy and Michael Faraday demonstrated to their fellow scientists and to the public.
Christmas lectures still take place at the Royal Society every year and hopefully we will be able to start a yearly series of Christmas lectures at the mining institute soon.

HMS Calliope on the River Tyne

This all action workshop is called the ‘Gunnery Challenge’. It was inspired by a visit to HMS Belfast on the River Thames. Some of these photographs show TS Flamingo Sea Cadet Group taking on the challenge at HMS Calliope, The Royal Navy training base on the River Tyne.

HMS Belfast (left) took part in an epic sea battle with the German Battleship Scharnhorst in the Second World War.


HMS Belfast is now an Amazing floating museum on the River Thames in London.


Scharhorst, one of Germany’s most powerful battleships, did not survive the war.

The Gunnery Challenge simulates the problem of working out the range and direction (bearing) of an enemy vessel and hitting the target with a projectile (shell or rocket).

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The crew of HMS Belfast used a special sighting compass and range finder as well as a ‘gunnery control table’ (an early type of computer) to tell there guns exactly where to fire in order to hit the Scharnhorst from about 8 miles away.

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HMS Belfast and her crew had a reputation for always being able to hit their target! Let’s see how the Sea Cadets of TS Flaming got on with their challenge....

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They are using some pressure bottle launchers to fire missiles at the model target of The Scharnhorst which is about 15 metres away. The target was moved to various positions and to different distances and the ‘Gunnery Crew’ had to work out the bearing and angle of the guns to score a hit on the target. This involves real teamwork and everyone had to do their job efficiently in order to score a hit. After some practice they hit the target repeatedly and even scored a hit on a moving target!

Very well done indeed the Cadets of TS Falmingo Gateshead.

The Institute of Civil Engineering

Sunderland Museum

Segedunum Roman Fort

The Great North Museum

Cragside House and Gardens

The Alnwick Garden

The Lecture Shows can be delivered to various age groups in schools and the wider community. The emphasis can be changed to suit particular requirements eg. to tackle specific parts of the school science curriculum or aspects of local history etc.

The Lecture Shows last approx. 1 hour but lots of options are possible eg....

  • 1 hour lecture show involving maximum audience participation in the practical demonstrations.
  • 1 hour lecture show followed by questions and repeated demonstrations.
  • 1 hour lecture show followed by ‘trying out the demos’ session with groups.

Science Shows currently available....

STEM: Inventors, Inventions and Discoveries

Vehicles and Transport

Air, Pressure, Forces and Motion

Forces (friction, gravity, upthrust...)

Forces in Structures (bridges etc.)

Energy and our Solar Future

Materials, Properties and Uses




Solids, Liquids and Gases

Water and the Water Cycle

George Stephenson

Robert Stephenson

Lord William Armstrong

Sir Joseph Swan

Sir Charles Parsons

From Tyneside to the World

Bridges on the River Tyne

Ships and Sailing

Communications over the ages

The ‘Shocking Victorians’

Michael Faraday

Lecture shows currently in development...

Leonardo Da Vinci

Ancient Greek Philosophers

The History of Engineering


There are countless workshops and no doubt I will have forgotten some of them but here is a list of the more popular ones.....

Making vehicles of various types: Land yachts, balloon cars, elastic band cars, rocket (air jet) cars, electric cars, Including bodywork and streamlining, cable cars/aerial runways, solar powered cars and solar service stations.

Rockets and flight, rocket rescue challenge.

Bridges of many types including very large scale bridges as event showpieces

Structures: Towers, stadium, cranes, fairgrounds (and mechanisms), playgrounds.

Mechanisms: Cranes, crank and cam toys, levers, winding toys, ancient siege machines eg. ballistas and siege towers.

Electricity projects: Torches, buzzer games, switches and alarms, motorised projects, electromagnets and magnet games.

Pneumatics and Hydraulics using syringes.

Shadow puppet theatres

Sound: musical instruments and sound effects.

Picture frames and more besides: multi-frames, diarama, moving pictures.

Victorian Toys

Toys from other civilisations eg. Aztecs, Myans.

Recycling plastic milk bottles - design challenge

Paper and card shapes falling through the air- ‘helcopters and fliers’




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