Project: Forces of Man
Participants: Year 5 pupils
Partnering with: Hyrstmount Junior, Lydgate JI&N
Artist: Craig Dyson
Science topic: Man-made forces

Using examples of man-made machines as our inspiration (cars, robots, bikes and so on) we will experiment with chains, pulleys, lifting equipment and mechanical components to establish how they affect and are affected by forces.   We’ll watch demonstrations of sculpture techniques such as heating and bending metals, and try out some of the principles for ourselves using safe techniques and materials. We’ll be conducting guided experiments to explore forces and look at how we as humans can exert energy to affect them. With the knowledge we gain we’ll be creating our own kinetic artwork in order to produce a large collaborative piece for the exhibition – a sculptural and possibly interactive artwork representing some of our findings about forces and energy.

Session Images

Session 1 – class 5J: 11th February 2016

We started the day learning about why different subjects like maths, science and even art can work together in a group. We met Craig Dyson who is an artist but uses lots of science when he makes sculptures. First of all we learnt about forces like gravity, friction and wind resistance. Then we looked at the forces people can make, like when they build machines. After this we did lots of experiments to see how forces work and what effect they have on things. We will be making our very own ball-rolling machine sculpture together, so we need to become scientific artists! We made designs to show Craig how our ball-rolling machine could look and work, then we had a go at using forces to shape pieces of aluminium wire and build structures.

“I am making a hand sculpture with my hands so that it can do my work for me”

“Gravity is a force that we cannot see but it stops things floating around in the air…that would not be safe”

“Craig had a magic bucket so the water didn’t fall on his head”

“I thought the presentation was fantastic, really interesting” (Mr Jones)

Session 1 – class 5S: 11th February 2016

Craig and Louise came to visit us today, Craig is an artist and Louise is a scientist but they are working together on this project because science and art can help each other. We learnt about what Craig did when he was 10 years old and how he makes sculptures today. You need to use heat and lots of forces to help bend things like hard metal and get different shapes. We learnt about forces and we wanted to see how we could use natural forces to help us make machines. Before starting to design or build anything we did lots of experiments to understand the science behind why things happen, like why a feather falls more slowly than a bowling ball. Now we have good knowledge and can begin building our sculptures. They will show other people how exciting forces can be!

“We have been explaining how things work like when you push a spring what force builds on it or if you use a pulley what is helping you pull it up”

“We are making a machine where the ball rolls, goes lots of different places and does things that you would not often see”

“Science is a very interesting subject, it can blow your mind and it can boggle your feet”

“I’m excited to see what the kids will produce and I know the kids are excited too” (Ms Suleman)

Session 1 – class 5T: 26th February 2016

We have been very excited to start our art and science project about forces, as we had been told a lot about the artist and scientists who would be coming into school to work with us. Today was our first session. We met the artist and learnt about different forces like gravity, friction, air resistance and even centrifugal force, which was hard to say. The artist demonstrated lots of experiments to help us understand the science behind why things happen. He even put a bucket of water upside down above his head, but he didn’t get wet. Then we started with three separate activities that will eventually enable us to make our very own ball rolling machine. We sketched designs and started to paint the main frame that the machine will go inside. We also used clay to create our own heads and applied a force onto them to see how they would change. That was great fun.

“I couldn’t believe what I saw! I thought gravity was there all the time but Mr Craig made it disappear”

“When I went out to play me and my friends played games with gravity and I explained how it worked”

“When I put my name badge on I felt like a real scientist, I was called Dr Clever”

“Great to see every child involved at a really high level. The look on some of the children’s faces was priceless, they were completely flabbergasted at some of the experiments. The hands on elements throughout the whole session were a clear winner!” (Mr Tiplady)

Session 2 – class 5S: 26th February 2016

Today the whole class was excited to see what we were going to do next. We developed our sculpture skills by using clay, shaping our own faces and applying the force of gravity to distort the face – it looked very funny. We also started to make our ball-rolling machine but we had to do lots of prototype parts to make sure the machine would work. We use toilet roll holders, black tracks, different balls and even toy cars to see if our ideas would work in the big machine. We are starting to see how the machine is developing and it looks like we will impress lots of people when it is finished and they come to see it.

“I know everything about science now”

“I am going to be professional at light when I am older”

“ If you think carefully you can make anything you want with your hands because they are your best tools”

“I will be a real professional artist one day”

“It was fantastic to see the boys experiment with equipment and their faces light up when they were told that their designs would be used in the final product”  (Ms Suleman)

Session 2 – class 5J: 8th March 2016

It was art and science again today and things are coming together nicely. We are working with the rest of Year 5 to create the big rolling ball machine for the exhibition but we do individual bits of work as well. We know we need knowledge and skills to make scientific sculptures so we continued to work on these on our own as well as in a group. This week we progressed with our wire sculptures. We looked at how we could make thrust and began constructing prototypes of things like tracks, ramps and spirals to see if they would work in the final machine. Some worked but some didn’t, but we weren’t worried about getting things wrong the first time because we could try again. Eventually we made some really cool scientific things happen by being creative and using our imaginations.

“I’ve liked the lessons because they were fun and creative. I learnt about gravity”

“I liked this session because I discovered more about science and I figured out how aluminium can bend”

“Not only did we create a work of art but we also learnt about gravity, which is a big part of science”

“I absolutely loved this session because I got a chance to do some nail art using my own force, and also I got to make my own rolling ball machine”

“After the activities were explained the kids just got on with it with very little help. Great to see them discovering the science applied to everyday events and using that knowledge in a creative way” (Mr Jones)

Session 3 – class 5S: 8th March 2016

This was our final session with our visiting artist and scientist. We had lots of questions but we needed to get to work – maybe we would answer them ourselves if we did experiments. We discovered lots of different things today, like how to make art using forces. We used hammers and metal pencils to make patterns into sheets of aluminium, it was hard at first but when we got the hang of it we didn’t want to stop. We also looked at nail art and learnt that one artist spent years making just one nail drawing of an elephant. Some nail drawings use over 10,000 nails! Our nail art was a Mini Cooper, a very clever man- made machine (a car) but also a work of art. This was very inspirational for us because the combination of machine and artwork is exactly what we are trying to achieve.   We now need to wait for the other two Year 5 classes to finish their sessions, then we’ll have a sense of how our giant ball-rolling machine sculpture is going to come together.

“Science is really great because you get to find out things that scientists do and what experiments they do”

“Today we found out that you can make scientific stuff with your hands, your hands are your best tools”

“Not only does science include experiments but lots of art”

“It was fantastic to see children participating in hands-on science, especially the things that brought out their creative sides! I could see some interesting ideas being formulated and created by children who often find it hard to engage” (Ms Suleman)

Session 3 – class 5T: 17th March 2016

It was a little sad today because it was our last session with Craig, but exciting because of the new skills we learnt and used. Craig reminded us that our best tools are our hands. We learnt how to refine the rolling ball machine by adding a set of stairs. Over the past few weeks, we have used a variety of different forces to help complete our project. These forces include gravity which pulls the ball down, friction to help saw planks of wood, and forces created by ourselves such as pushing and pulling, for example when we use hammers and nails. We can’t wait for our wonderful creation to be on public display at Batley Art Gallery, where the whole town can admire it. We might be even more famous than Craig and get lots of commissions!

“We didn’t realise that we would ever be able to create a ball rolling machine but our knowledge of science and forces and art has helped us to make our dream come true”

“At first we didn’t realise the beauty of science but Craig, Elaine and Mr T have shown us how closely related to the subject of art it can be”

“At first I was sad that this was our last session with the Change project but then I thought about all the things I can do at home, I can teach myself”

“It was fantastic to see children participating in hands-on science, especially the things that brought out their creative sides! I could see some interesting ideas being formulated and created by children who often find it hard to engage” (Mr Tiplady)

Session 3 – class 5J: 17th March 2016

This was our most important session today; it was our last chance to finish off our work ready for the big public exhibition, which we are very excited about. We are proud of what we have made and feel like this is the beginning of lots of artistic creations. We all feel more confident and now see that lots of subjects are not separate but support each other. If we enjoy what we are doing we seem to learn more, so it is good that we get these opportunities. We have surprised ourselves by making something we didn’t think we could – we realised that when we really put our minds to it it felt like we could do anything.   We are very grateful to the big company that has helped support the whole art and science project, and to the visitors who helped us – they were all very nice. We look forward to seeing the final exhibition and what all the other schools have achieved.

“I really enjoyed today’s lesson because normally I am silly but I was too busy hammering nails and cutting wood”

“I am so so so excited to make sculptures again, but not in school, at home with my mum”

“I will remember that all subjects can help each other like maths with science and art, all in one room having fun together”

“I could see many of my more difficult children truly engaged and excited about creating work as a collective. Their achievements were impressive but made even more so by a combined effort that is visualized in the end result of our man made machine. Hopefully the experience will stay in their minds and supplement learning for some time in the future” (Mr Jones)

A few words from our teacher:

“The sessions fully supported and complemented our science topic on Forces (a difficult concept) via the use of hands-on experience. Levels of understanding have increased and the children are more confident when using specific technical vocabulary about forces. They have been able to equate forces to real life situations. The children gained a great deal of confidence when working directly with Craig and the various members of the Cummins team who came along to assist during the sessions. Children have improved levels of cooperation and are also more willing to explain what they have been working on to each other.”

Our volunteer from Cummins Turbo Technologies said:

“It was fabulous seeing the children so engaged and working together in teams. The final result was amazing and looked really effective” (Laura Sullivan, CTT)