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
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
Map reproduced with data with permission from the Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 2010
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Devonport High School for Boys,
July 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 1 1 2 3 4
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
9 9 10 11
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
14 15 16
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!’”
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-
what we see
and how our
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!
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.
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
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!
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:
The experiments were:
59% 20% 19%
We stayed for:
36% 55% 7%
30 min 1 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.”
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: