Batley Grammar School- primary

C-Force: Clay that Moves

Science Topic: Forces

Participants: Year 3

Artist: Ammie Flexen

Cummins Buddy: Callum Parkinson

Clay comes from the ground, is millions of years old and has travelled many miles, worn down from rock by rivers as it flows downwards to the sea.  This marvellous material is the perfect material to find out about forces and the effects of gravity.

By squeezing and rolling, pressing and bending, building and stretching, we’ll find out just what this muddy substance is. What can we do with clay on a very big scale? We will be exploring, testing and discovering amazing things in unexpected ways, finding out how an artist works and discovering how fun science is when we test things out for ourselves.

Session 1

Today we worked with clay on a big scale. We met with Ammie  who is working with us to develop our creative skills and explore clay. We also met Callum, who is from Cummins and will be working with us as we learn about art and science. Ammie showed us examples of objects made from clay, that we were able to handle and learned that clay is used in all kinds of situations, including buildings. 

We explored the clay for the first half of the session – using forces we were squeezing, stretching, manipulating and seeing how different shapes can be stuck together. We discovered that if we squeeze clay through a sieve it makes a grassy texture. Next we made a long coil of clay, as long as we possibly could, then helped Ammie wrap it round a drainpipe tube to see how tall we could make it. Ammie asked what might happen when she took the tube out. We predicted that it might fall over. When we took the tube out, the clay stayed upright with some help, but the bottom began to collapse. We talked about how gravity might be causing the clay to collapse and what processes need to happen to clay to make it strong enough to build with as bricks.

Our topic this term is geography, and we have been looking at rivers and mountains. Ammie explained that rivers play a huge part in forming clay and we are going to research this. We worked together as a group to create a collaborative sculpture based on rives and mountains. We thought it was a Masterpiece!


This work is a masterpiece!

I used forces to make it into the right shape.

Gravity will pull over the clay.

If the clay gets too thin it breaks.