Park Road JI&N

Project:  Spinning Globe
Science topic: Electricity
Participants: Year 6 pupils
Artist: Jim Bond

For our project, with the Electricity topic as our focus, we will be working with motors and voltages and exploring the change from static to moving. We will learn that an increase in voltage increases speed and we’ll see how electricity can be used to make things work. We will attach fans to motors to make them move, and we will see how more power makes the fan spin faster, which in turn makes the motor move more quickly. We are hoping to use our investigations and findings to design and build an amazing kinetic structure for the exhibition using wire and wood, with motors attached to the structure to make it spin.


Session 1: 1st February 2017
In the first of our Change project sessions today we met Jim who is a sculptor and Callum who is an engineer working for Cummins Turbo Technologies. Jim showed us images of his work which is made of steel and copper and has moving parts. Callum told us about his job and showed us picture of an electric car that they make. Then we started making our own electric cars from card, wire and straws. Jim showed us one that he had built earlier – a ‘prototype’. It had a battery and a motor and moved along using a fan. We worked in teams and by the end of the session some of us got our cars to work and move across the tables. It was a challenging task and we got some impressive results, so it was a really good start to the project.

Session 2: 8th February 2017
Jim started the session by showing us some different electrical devices. There were motors and fans, a siren and a solenoid. He made them all work using different voltages. We learnt the difference between AC and DC and read the voltages on the various labels. Then we continued to work on our electric cars. Some of them took a lot of work to get going and they needed lots of adjusting. It was really exciting when they started to go. At the end of the session we had a race with all the cars. The Unity team car won – it was simple and well made and the team did well to solve the technical problems they came up against. It was a really fun afternoon and a lot was learnt.

Session 3: 1st March 2017
Now that we have learned about motors we are starting work on our sculpture. We are building a globe out of wire. We started by measuring and drawing concentric circles, which meant we had to know about diameter and radius and be able to measure in inches and centimetres. Each group had to make and cut two wire rings that were exactly the right size, so it was precision work. When we had made all the rings we started to join them together. It was amazing seeing the flat rings turn into a three dimensional object – the beginnings of our globe. We are looking forward to seeing it finished and then making it move!

Session 4: 15th March 2017
We are really proud of the giant wire globe we have all built together. Jim asked us how we should make it turn. We talked about the different ways of making it move and Mr Murray reminded us about leverage. We decided that to be a proper globe it needed to have countries. Each table chose a continent. We then had to measure and do some scale drawings. Luckily we had been working on ratios so Mr Murray got us to work out how to scale our drawings from the globe. Victoria was very good at drawing. Her group drew South America and then bent the wire to follow the line until they had made it in wire. Then we wired it onto the globe. Each group did the same until the globe was covered in continents. By the end of the session we had a model of the earth which will spin, and a smaller model of the moon. Jim said it would be like an orrery which is a mechanical model of the solar system. We looked at some examples on the computer, then we remembered that Class 3 had some model orrery kits so we had a look at one. We have learnt a lot of skills and words in this project!

Some feedback from our Cummins buddy

“When I agreed to work with Jim to support the study of electrics I assumed we would be working with simple electric circuits and explaining where the power is coming from. When we actually did the work I was taken by surprise – I felt like a role model to the students as I was supporting and explaining my perspective of the activities. The second striking thing was seeing happiness and joy in all of the students whilst doing the work. The final point that stood out to me was seeing the students engaging as a team and learning together.” Callum Parkinson – Cummins Turbo Technologies