The LightForm Research Team delivered a range of outreach activities to Year 2 – KS1 pupils at Medlock Primary School Manchester, on Monday 24 June 2019.


The Research Team objectives were for pupils to explore, name, discuss and raise and answer questions about everyday materials, understand forming and how materials are shaped and investigate with pupils a selection of materials for use in a variety of applications.

The activities selected to fulfil these objectives were:

Playdough forming
Charpy impact test
Plastic cups to personalised badges

Pupils split into groups of 10, spending 20 minutes on each activity, then moving onto the next activity. Each activity enabled all pupils to perform or engage with simple tests to explore questions, which included: ‘What is the best material to build a bridge?’, ‘What happens to plastic when we make it hot?’, ‘What everyday products do we get from forming?’       

Pupils were extremely welcoming and excited to meet “Real life scientists – from The University of Manchester” – as introduced by Ms Yeoman the class teacher.

A brief overview was given to the class about the Research Team and their work at The University of Manchester, accompanied by warm up questions to start pupils discussing various materials used in everyday household objects, pupils then split into 3 groups and each table began their activity.

  • Playdough forming - Introduced the methods in which different shapes are made, giving pupils the opportunity to press, roll, stretch and bend playdough, replicating the methods used in forming metal components
  • Charpy impact test - Pupils explored how material properties are tested in order to design a bridge, asking pupils to consider the type of materials which could be used and what properties would be needed, should the material be strong or weak, ridged or bendy etc. Using a Charpy tester a variety of chocolate bars were then put through their paces, to determine which would be easiest to break, which would be hardest to break
  • Plastic cups to personalised badges – Pupils learned how plastic cups are made from a sheet of plastic and asked the question ‘Can you reverse the process and make a plastic cup a sheet of plastic again?’ all pupils were then tasked with decorating the base of a plastic cup, prior to the cup being flattened into a badge - the end product being a personalised badge


Activities were really well received by all of the pupils who thoroughly enjoyed the hands on science tests, Ms Yeoman fed back that the “Pupils loved it!” the LightForm Research Team were equally as enthusiastic and are looking forward to visiting Medlock Primary School again in early 2020 to meet the new Year 2 pupils.