Project: Swashbuckling Scientists
Participants: Year 2 pupils
Partnering with: Park Road JI&N
Artist: Tim Curtis
Science topic: Uses of Everyday Materials

We are the Swashbuckling Scientists! For our Change project we are combining our ‘Uses of Everyday Materials’ science topic with our overall class topic for this term – Pirates. This gives us lots of scope for exploring different types of materials and investigating how they can be manipulated and changed. We’ll be sorting and selecting different kinds of materials and finding out how to twist, bend, squash and stretch them in order to make gold doubloons – pirates’ treasure which we’re going to decorate with specially designed hallmarks and bury in sand. By using junk and re-cycled materials we’ll learn how rubbish and waste can be changed from useless to useful. We will also be experimenting with shapes and testing materials in order to find the best ones for making a floating pirate ship, and looking at the properties of different materials to find the most suitable ones for making pirate costumes and props.

Session Images

Session 1: 23rd February 2016

Ohh Arrr! Swashbuckling Pirates has begun! This week we met Mr Curtis our artist and Ms Cama from Cummins Turbo.   We  learnt how to work as a team and use what we know about materials to make pirate ships that float. ‘I think we need to make our boat bottom from waterproof things’ said Saleha. Her whole table agreed and they set about  making their ship hull from laminated card and plastic sheeting. Other groups made different shaped ships and chose different methods of fixing and joining their ship hulls together. Then we tested whether they can float! Next week we will be making pirate gold doubloons and a spade to bury our treasure in the sand.

Thank you, I really had fun making the pirate ship today and I can’t wait for next week Mr Curtis, what are we doing?

Session 2: 1st March 2016

Gold Doubloons and Pieces of Eight! This week Mr Curtis and Ms Cama helped us choose and use materials to make a pretend pirate coin. We looked at some examples on the internet, and we thought about our modern day chocolate coins covered in a metal wrapper. We learnt that foil is a sheet sometimes combined with paper and made from very thin metal. We used templates and scissors to create round cardboard coin shapes, then embossed our coin with a badge or logo by writing on the back of the foil on a very soft surface such as the carpet. Loads of us chose the hot glue gun as the method to fix the foil to our coin shapes. After break we quickly tried to choose the correct shape and materials to make a spade or trowel to actually dig in the sand (X marks the spot) on the beach (a plastic box half full of sand) where we had buried the pretend pieces of eight (which were actually squashed pie foil cases). We had so much fun we ran out of time to let everyone try digging in the sand. Mrs Mayet and Mr Curtis promised they would try and let the class finish trying to dig for pieces of eight soon!

Session 3: 8th March 2016

Today we were sorting and selecting materials to make cutlasses. We worked really hard in our tables and groups to sort materials into a range of properties: materials we could bend and not bend, or materials we could wrap. Then we tried materials we could squash, stretch or cut. We didn’t just sort them, we checked and tested the materials to see if our scientific predictions were correct. After we had sorted our materials into our new recycling and sorting bins from Cummins Turbo, Mr Curtis and Ms Cama helped us make our own pirate cutlasses. We learnt that this traditional pirate sword had a short, a bent blade, and was made of hardwearing metal. Then Mr Curtis challenged us to use what we knew about material sorting and selection and have a go at model making. We had to choose appropriate materials to make our cutlasses with, working in a pair with someone else. Every pair amazed Mr Curtis, Ms Cama and Mrs Mayet by managing to make a cutlass and correctly selecting and using foil to represent the metal blade. Now we just have to make another cutlass for each pair so that everyone can have one to take home.

“I chose to use scissors, card and shiny foil paper to make my pirate cutlass because the scissors are good to cut things out, the card is nice and strong and the shiny paper is like metal”

“I chose to use gold foil, it is shiny”

“I chose to use cardboard because it is strong. I used scissors to cut. I wrapped my cutlass in real tin foil”  

“I sorted the pen in the not bend pile because we tried to bend it but you couldn’t snap it. You need a big machine to bend it and it will snap”

Session 4: 15th March 2016

‘X marks the spot!’ Batley Parish Swashbuckling Scientists used their knowledge of materials and pirates to impressive levels in our last workshop this week. Mr Curtis sawed some gigantic cardboard boxes in half that Ms Cama had brought from Cummins Turbo for us. With one big long wood saw cut we were able to make a role play pirate ship from the box. We spent most of the workshop working on our own, in pairs or teams to make all sorts of things we would expect to find on a pirate ship. We had to select and use a range of different materials and make choices based on the properties of the materials. We had to think about how easy it would be to cut, shape, fix and form objects from a range of modelling material options. We also tried to think about the actual real objects and materials pirates would have used in everyday life. We made compasses, telescopes, navigation wheels, treasure chests, parrots, doubloons, eye patches, flags, masts and rigging, port holes, and treasure maps to go on the pirate galleon. Lots of seaweed and barnacles were becoming attached to the keel and hull of our pirate ship by the time we finished the session. We’re going to do a bit more work in class to finish our ship and its cargo and fittings, then Mr Curtis will take it away to make it seaworthy for the exhibition in June.

“I made a telescope with masking tape and cylinders”

“I made a pirate ship anchor with card but it broke but I stuck it back together with tape”

“We made a pirate ship from big cardboard and made some pirate cloths with fabric”

“It has been an absolute pleasure being part of the project – the children are very sad that the workshop sessions have come to an end.   We do have a few bits to finish off (like the pirate ship) which they are very excited about. The children thoroughly enjoyed working with Tim and Havovy – they would always look forward to Tuesdays!  Tim and Havovy made the sessions exciting and children were enthused during every single session” (Mrs Mayet)

A few words from our teacher:

“It has been an absolute pleasure to work with artist Tim and Havovy from CTT on this project.  Their contributions have really enhanced children’s understanding and enjoyment of science and art concepts.”

Our volunteer from Cummins Turbo Technologies said:

“It was great to see the children using new scientific vocabulary. I also saw them applying things they had previously learnt in a science lesson – about materials and metals, for example – in a creative situation where they were having to select different materials appropriate for different purposes, and use them to make a tangible object. I’ve gained a better appreciation of primary teachers’ work (and how tiring it can be to keep young children engaged and excited for half a day!) and some insights about conveying scientific concepts in simple ways. I think the children have benefited from me being involved in the sessions because they have been able to see that scientists can look and communicate like “normal” people, and that a woman can be a scientist (Havovy Cama, Cummins Turbo Technologies)