Batley Grammar Primary

Project:  May the Force be with you
Science topic: Forces & Magnets
Participants: Year 3 pupils
Artist: Jim Bond

We will be working with various forces and investigating how energy changes from one form to another, working in teams to make a chain reaction of energy using a wide range of new and recycled materials such as wire, cardboard tubes, wood and plastic. We will explore the properties of these different materials and learn new construction techniques. We will also be working with a variety of different magnets and looking at how magnets and electromagnets work. Our aim is to create an interactive exhibit which uses the forces we have been working with, and demonstrates how scientific principles can be used to make a stunning piece of art!

 

Session 1: 2nd February 2017
Today we met Jim who is a sculptor and Matt who is an engineer working for Cummins Turbo – they are both going to be working with us on our Forces and Magnets sculpture project. To give us some inspiration, Jim showed us images of his sculpture work and Matt showed us some of the huge engines they build. Jim set us the challenge of making a chain reaction which would go round the whole hall. This involved experimenting with different constructions, understanding the forces involved and working out how to transfer energy around the room. We worked in groups using wood, wire, balls, tubes and various recycled materials. The whole hall was filled with activity as we tried things out. There were balls rolling and giant dominoes. In the end almost all of the chain reaction worked – a great achievement! It was a really good start to the project – exciting and fun!

“I enjoyed watching the domino effect at the end when everything fell down”

“We sorted our problems out by listening to each other’s ideas”

“To work as part of a team I had to listen and be polite”

“The hardest part was balancing the dominoes so they would fall into each other”

“The most difficult part was getting the ball to balance in place.  We used wire to make it stay”

“We overcame any problems by going back through the track and fixing the problem.  For example the ramp kept on breaking so we had to change the ramp to make the chain reaction work”

Session 2: 9th February 2017
Jim brought in an electrical device called a solenoid. When he connected it to the power supply the bolt went in very quickly. Matt explained to us how turbos have solenoids in them to open and close so that the engine gets more and less fuel. We learnt that it’s different from but works in a similar way to an electromagnet. Then we split into groups and started designing our own mazes which will use a steel ball and a magnet. We had to concentrate hard to work out how to make it hard for someone to solve the puzzle. With help from Jim, Matt and our teachers we all did really well.

“I enjoyed drawing the maze onto the cardboard neatly”

“It is important to plan and design an interactive game because it wouldn’t work otherwise”

“I enjoyed working as part of a team because we got to mix our ideas together”

“We worked well as part of a team because we took things in turns”

“It was hard working as a team when we had to try and agree with each other”

“We worked well as part of a team by talking about our problems and trying to fix them”

“The part I enjoyed the most was drawing and designing the traps”

Session 3: 2nd March 2017
Today was World Book Day so we were all dressed up for the occasion, which gave the session an extra twist! Since the last session we have worked with Miss Ashton to finish drawing up our mazes. Jim and Matt helped us to saw wood and give our mazes walls so that the steel ball can run along the paths. We worked very hard marking and cutting the wood. We cued up and clamped the wood in vices, then glued it on with PVA glue. It was messy but fun. We also used copper and steel wire to make some of the walls. By the end of the session all the mazes were almost complete and we were able to test them out with balls and magnets. Miss Ashton was very impressed with how well we focussed on the task.

“I enjoyed learning how to saw wood”

“To work as part of a team I measured the wood, another person sawed the wood, and another person glued the wood down.  We had a go at doing everything”

“The new skills I learnt are sawing and using pliers.  I could use my skills to make furniture”

“The most difficult part was making sure the wood was the right length and would fit in the maze”

“One problem we had was we accidently stuck a piece of wood on the maze that was too long. We fixed it by pulling it off and redoing it”

Session 4: 9th March 2017
Today we got to decorate our mazes! But first we had to choose one that we could build in wood for the final exhibition. Jim gave us all a piece of Lego and we all took turns to vote by putting our Lego piece onto the maze we thought was the best. The winning team had to mark their design out onto a really big piece of wood. Then we all took it in turns to measure and mark a piece of wood then take it to Matt to saw. Once we had the right length piece we took it back to the wooden maze and Jim helped us to glue it in the right place. It was hard to remember which pieces went where but we enjoyed the challenge of putting it all together, it was good fun. It felt important to make sure we had a good record of this final session so Jim let us use his camera to take some photos. By the end of the session our card mazes were all colourful and the wooden one looked amazing – a great way to end our project!

“I enjoyed learning how to saw wood”

“To work as part of a team I measured the wood, another person sawed the wood, and another person glued the wood down.  We had a go at doing everything”

“The new skills I learnt are sawing and using pliers.  I could use my skills to make furniture”

“The most difficult part was making sure the wood was the right length and would fit in the maze”

“One problem we had was we accidently stuck a piece of wood on the maze that was too long. We fixed it by pulling it off and redoing it”

Some feedback from our Cummins buddy

“From the first session, the class was excited about the project and within two hours had created a working chain reaction machine.  It was a satisfying experience to help build enthusiasm in the STEM subjects, with a great class of children.” Matthew Olivero – Cummins Turbo Technologies

A few final words from our teacher

“The artist has been fantastic; the children really enjoyed having someone with specialist knowledge teach them and support their learning and project work. Overall my class thoroughly enjoyed the project. The work they have produced around it has been of a high standard and the language they have learnt has been implemented and embedded outside of the project. The children have been challenged to work more independently and they have risen to meet that challenge.” Beth Ashton – Year 3 Teacher