Summer Roadshow report - CHaOS

Summer Roadshow report - CHaOS




About The Roadshow

how does the roadshow work?

Our events are based around hands-on experiments

that all ages can try, covering all aspects of science

from physics and engineering to the biology of how

our body works. Each experiment is staffed by an experienced

and enthusiastic student volunteer. Small

groups of children are guided through each experiwhat

is ChaoS?

Cambridge Hands-On Science, more fondly known as

CHaOS, is a non-profit voluntary student group based

at the University of Cambridge that believes that science

is exciting and relevant to everyone. Our aim is to

transfer our enthusiasm to the general public through

fun hands-on experiments, hopefully showing that

science can be accessible to everyone.

New this year! Our light-mixing experiment,

shown above, joins the CHaOS roadshow along

with a new foetal skull and new medical models.

how did ChaoS and the roadshow begin?

CHaOS has been running for over a decade. Our first

events were held in Cambridge as part of the Cambridge

Science Week. In 2002, some of our members

thought that it would be fun to pack up our experiments

in a van and take them around the country for

a week – and so the roadshow was born! From these

humble beginnings, our volunteers have developed

the roadshow such that we are now on the road for a

month or more each year.

ment, with the demonstrator explaining the science

behind it at an interesting and accessible level.

In July 2012, CHaOS visited schools, town halls and

community centres around the country, bringing our

hands-on science roadshow. Over four weeks, we visited

19 different venues across five different counties

and saw over 5,000 visitors. 65 volunteers from the

University of Cambridge gave up part of their summer

to join us and share their passion for their subjects.

who pays for the roadshow?

CHaOS is committed to making science accessible

for everyone, so entry to all our public events is free.

We ask that schools make a small contribution to our

running costs, but each visit is heavily subsidised by

the generosity of our sponsors. We rely on careful

budgeting to keep the cost of our roadshow

to below £3 per person reached. We keep

our costs down by accommodating our

demonstrators in tents, filling up on delicious

school dinners and doing as much of the rest

of our cooking as possible on a camp stove. We

were very lucky this year, being able to spend much of

our free time on the beach!

how much does the roadshow cost?

Each year CHaOS spend approximately £15,000 over

the course of the roadshow, with the main cost being

transport (around £4,000, including vehicle hire and

demonstrators’ train fares), food (£2,500) and camp

site bookings (£2,000). We are therefore hugely

grateful to our sponsors for enabling the roadshow to

take place!




Venue Hire





Vehicle Hire

and Fuel

Map reproduced with data with permission from the Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 2010

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday


Sports College,



Community College,


Heath Primary



Sele School,



Middle School,


Thomas Alleyne



Devonport High School for Boys,



Town Hall,


Plymouth YMCA

Kitto Centre









Town Hall




St Albans

Town Hall


Community Centre,


Stowford Rise

Community Centre,







10 12




July 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

1 1 1 2 3 4

9 10 11 12 13 14 15

5 6

7 8

Lyme Regis

Marine Parade


16 17 18 19 20 21 22

9 9 10 11


23 24 25 26 27 28 29


14 15 16



2 6








Roadshow Route 2012

One of the main aims of the CHaOS roadshow is to

visit areas of the country where access to science is

not easy, for example where there are no permanent

science museums locally. With this in mind, the roadshow

headed to the south west this year, reaching as

far afield as Plymouth.

Many families were delighted to see us; one visitor in

Sidmouth said “It’s fantastic to have this visit our small

town!” and another “Brilliant! We only wish you could

visit here more often.” We visited the Kitto Centre in

Plymouth in collaboration with the Plymouth YMCA,

who were thrilled that we were able to bring the roadshow

to a ‘difficult to reach’ population who would not

normally attend science festivals or museums.

A fantastic event, we all enjoyed it greatly. Thank

you to the very knowledgable demonstrators.


In addition, CHaOS tries to visit schools where science

provision or achievement is low. In 2012, five of the

seven secondary schools we visited had attained below

the national average for A* — C grades at GCSE in

2010. One teacher commented that “Students who

can be totally disaffected by science are saying things

like ‘Science is awesome!’”

Week 1

The roadshow got off to a great start at Westbourne

Sports College in Ipswich where years seven to ten

were fascinated by the properties of the air around

them, investigating what happens when you heat it up

and how much it weighs.

Ipswich, Stevenage and St Albans

2nd - 8th July

Next we visited Heath Primary School where pupils

were excited to learn how to make explosions using

lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda, as well as using

the carbon dioxide produced by this chemistry experiment

to extinguish candles. At Saxmundham Middle

School we supplemented our hands-on activities with

an interactive talk about the science behind hot air


We then moved to Barclay School in Stevenage and

introduced the pupils to a subject rarely covered in

schools – the evolution of plants. In keeping with the

evolution theme, pupils enjoyed meeting our wide

range of animal and model primate skulls.

At the end of the first week, we headed to St Albans

Town Hall to run the first public event of the 2012

Roadshow. We enjoyed a very busy day where one

popular experiment was our demonstration of air

streams; young and old alike got involved in trying to

keep a ping pong ball hovering by blowing through a


Our second event of the weekend was

at Wheathampstead Village Festival,

where the slightly wet weather cer-

tainly didn’t dampen anyone’s

spirits. We showed our vis-

itors a range of optical

illusions, helping to

explain the sci-

ence behind

what we see

and how our

brains work.

Colour mixing,

by Lili and Kelly

Hertfordshire and Hampshire

9th - 15th July

We continued with our school visits in Hertfordshire,

kicking off the week at the Sele School, where pupils

(and their headteacher!) got a chance to try building

a range of bridges, including arch, cantilever and cathedral

styles. We then moved onto The Thomas Alleyne

School in Stevenage, where our range of rocks

and fossils, including a sample of fossilised shark poo,

went down a treat!

Week 2

Hopping down to Hampshire for the second weekend,

we visited Greyfriars Community Centre in Ringwood.

This was the second time we have visited this venue,

and we were pleased to see lots of the same faces

again, as well as many newcomers! Lots of people

stayed all afternoon to try out all our experiments,

with one popular stop being our collection of creepy


Finally, we visited Goffs School in Cheshunt, where

the teachers were nearly as excited about the experiments

as the pupils, with everyone having a particularly

good time learning about the physics behind


Fantastic one on one demonstrations, my children

were really engaged and involved.


Week 3

We started our week in Plymouth at Lipson Community

College where years eight to ten enjoyed learning

about the physics of light from both traditional

favourite CHaOS experiments such as our ultra-violet

light box as well as our brand-new light colour mixing


Devon and Dorset

16th - 22nd July

We then spent two days at Devonport High School

for Boys, on the first of which we ran an extended session

for a small group of children from nearby Prince

Rock Primary School. The pupils enjoyed listening to

their hearts using stethoscopes and investigating what

happens to the heart rate after jumping up and down!

I have just been in to the road

show with my eight year old

son. What a brilliant event!


On the second day older pupils

from Devonport benefited from

the student demonstrators’ expertise

in explaining the complex

science behind experiments such

as the electrolysis of water.

We moved up country to Dorset

at the end of the week, and in

Seaton the local primary school

children enjoyed meeting Boris

the skeleton outside their school

as term finished. Boris led them

to Seaton Town Hall, where they

were able to find out more about

the human body from our x-rays

and giant hand model.

Many local families were delighted

to visit us at Stowford Community

Centre, where the improvement in

weather enabled us to run some

popular messy experiments outside,

including investigating the

properties of shear-thickening fluids

by mixing cornflour and water.

The Sunday spent at Lyme Regis

Marine Parade Shelters was gloriously

sunny, allowing us to spread

our experiments along the seafront

gardens where both locals

and holiday-makers joined in with

testing how pulleys make it easier

to lift heavy loads and how to generate


Week 4

The first week of the school summer

holidays was met with continued

beautiful sunshine, meaning

that we were again able to make

the most of the outside space at

our public venues in Devon.

In Torquay Town Hall visitors were

challenged to build their own arch

bridge, and once built, try walking

over the top. The water rockets

were a big hit at Plymouth YMCA,

with many families coming back

for several attempts at launching

the highest rocket of the event.

Devon and Hampshire

23rd - 28th July

After travelling to Hampshire, a

busy day was had at the Winchester

Discovery Centre, with families

meeting our cuddly microbes,

and having a go at extracting DNA

from kiwi fruit.

In Andover Guildhall, Boris the

skeleton appeared again for a

walk about the town centre to

attract the public into the main

event. Inside, visitors were able to

look at microscopes, try building a

cathedral, and meet some more

of Boris’ bony friends!

Great Fun!


It’s EPIC!


What did families think?

We estimate that over 2,000 people in family

groups visited our drop-in public events this year.

We asked our visitors to give us their feedback,

and collected 243 questionnaires representing the

views of over 800 people. More than half of these

visitors consider themselves to be from a nonscientific

background, with 60% visiting museums

only once a year or not at all. Many requested that

we develop leaflets with experiments to try at

home, and to bring activities for children younger

than our current target age range. We were

pleased to find that 97% of our visitors would

come to another CHaOS event.

We enjoyed the demonstrators’ enthusiasm

and the intimacy of the experiments.


The event was:


We learnt:



The experiments were:





59% 20% 19%


5% 11%


We stayed for:




36% 55% 7%

30 min 1 h

3 h

What did the demonstrators say?

“I loved the satisfaction of seeing a kid

work out something on their own using

information you’ve given them!”

“I enjoyed talking to the families and the

great organisation of experiments and


“I enjoyed meeting some great people

and enthusing children about Science.”

“I love science, and this was a

great opportunity to gain valuble

communication skills. “

“It was a great opportunity to take

science out into the community and help

to spread enthusiasm and interest.”

“Best. Week. Ever.”

The Future...

We have shown consistently that the CHaOS model is

a successful and cost effective way of communicating

the relevance and excitement of science to the public.

If you would like to host CHaOS in your school, town

hall or community centre, please let us know. We always

receive more requests for visits than we can fulfil

each year (often from people who have seen us in action

before), but we will do our best to visit everyone!

Planning for the 2013 roadshow is already in progress,

and we are always looking for sponsors. If you are

a part of, or know of, an organisation that could

help provide CHaOS with the funding it needs to

continue the roadshows, please get in touch at:

The 2012 student demonstrators were:

Aaron Barker, Alex Davies, Alice Draper, Alice Coburn,

Amelia Southgate, Andrea Chlebikova, Anna Hughes, Anna

Kalorkoti, Ashley Smith, Beatrice Tyrrell, Belgin Yalcin,

Ben Millwood, Brett Abram, Caroline Sandford, Catherine

Hogg, Christina Ye, Christopher Wade, Claire Gomer,

Connor Tann, Conor Reid, Craig Burns, Dan Jafferji, Daniel

West, Dave Ansell, David Bebb, Deepti Lobo, Elizabeth

Mooney, Fiona Llewellyn-Beard, Hamish Lazell, Hannah

Ford, Isabel Whiteley, Jachym Sykora, Jaimie Oldham,

Jatinder Sahota, Joe Hobbs, Joseph Hooton, Karen Angus,

Katerina Honzakova, Lara Phillips, Liz Ing-Simmons, Maja

Petek, Malti Bipin Vaghela, Mark Chen, Mark Durkee, Mark

Southall, Martin Buchacek, Michael Darling, Mike Smith,

Nunu Tao, Ophelia Crawford, Philip Garsed, Rachel Joanne

Chapman, Raghd Rostom, Richard “Miffy” Mifsud, Richard

Hall, Richard Ingham, Richard Montgomery, Rosy Hunt,

Sally Higson, Sally-Anne Bennett, Sonja Dunbar, Sophie

Mitchell, Suzannah Haller, Verena Neufeld, William Benfold.

With many thanks to:

Helen Feakes at Westbourne Sports College, Richard Bevan

at Heath Primary School, Andrea Hall at Saxmundham

Middle School, Carolyne Newstead at the Barclay School,

Irene Casper at Wheathampstead Village Festival, Simon

Clare at St Albans Town Hall, Jan Morgan at the Sele School,

Julia Cooke at the Thomas Alleyne School, Clare O’Brien

at Goffs School, Jan Determann at Greyfriars Community

Centre, James Stroud at Lipson Community College, Angela

Crawley at Devonport High School for Boys, Mary Bowles

at Seaton Town Hall, Elaine Pawsey at Lyme Regis Marine

Parade Shelters, Clare Twigger at Torbay Town Hall, Mark

Rowles at Plymouth YMCA, Graeme Pick at Winchester

Discovery Centre and Gabriella Pinder at Andover Guildhall.

Thanks also to the Hunt, Davies and Dunbar families for

their hospitality, the Sedgewick Museum for the loan of

a number of fossils, the CHaOS team in Cambridge and

everyone else who was involved in helping the CHaOS

roadshow run smoothly.

Finally, thanks to all of the school pupils and families who

attended our events and made our efforts worthwhile with

their enthusiasm and enjoyment.

A special thank you to the sponsors of the CHaOS Roadshow 2012:

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