Some scientific crackers for the Christmas table

CHILDREN will get the chance to learn science experiments to amaze their family at the Christmas dinner table at an event next month.

The National Science Learning Centre is holding a festive open day on Saturday, December 1, to help inspire young people.

The experiments on show will including getting tinsel to fly, putting out a flame by pouring an empty glass onto it and using pineapples to dissolve jelly.

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The event is being held to launch the centre’s latest set of teacher training videos. Simon Quinnell, from the centre, said: “We will be showing young people a series of simple experiments that they can do at the kitchen dinner table at home.

“For instance if you rub a balloon until it has a negative charge you can then get tinsel to stick to it, but then the tinsel is repelled as it picks up the negative charge from the balloon.

“Doing this simple experiment you can get the tinsel to fly. “Another example is to allow an Alka Seltzer tablet to dissolve in a nearly empty glass of water. The hissing is carbon dioxide being released. Because it is heavier than oxygen it stays in the glass but you can then pour it out onto a candle and it will put the flame out.”

The event will also include a “chemistry with a bang” lecture which will feature explosions while exploring the properties of solids, liquids and gases.

The lecture is being delivered by Dr Steven Rossington from Salford University.

Sessions will be running from 10.30am until 3pm. Admission to the event is free but places 
need to be booked online at .

The National Science Learning Centre, based at York University, provides professional development courses for science teachers and technicians.

It provides residential courses and awards some bursaries to allow primary and secondary schools to meet the cost of having their staff receive expert training. Earlier this year it celebrated awarding its 7,000th bursary to help to transform the way the subject is taught in schools.

Bursaries are handed out through Project Enthuse – a scheme launched in 2008 and backed by charities, Government and big business to support science teaching.

Yorkshire schools have been major beneficiaries of the bursary with more than 500 given to teachers in the region in the last academic year. Almost a quarter of the science teachers trained at the National Science Centre are from the Yorkshire region.