Merseyside Maritime Museum: Shipshape Science Workshop
August 18th 2014

Merseyside Maritime Museum: Shipshape Science Workshop

The Merseyside Maritime Museum is offering a new Science Studies workshop named ‘Shipshape’ – hop aboard!

The workshop is designed for (up to) 30 Key Stage 2 pupils and children attending will have the chance to take part in hands-on experiments investigating upthrust, displacement, stability, water resistance and forces. Each experiment is fun and interactive and all centre around making boats float and the power of water.


How it works:

Firstly, the group is introduced to the overall aims of the workshop and the key elements that will be covered during each experiment. Then the group is split into three smaller teams, each with a supervising adult. Two of the experiment stations are self-run by each group, while the third will be facilitated by an experienced member of museum education staff. Extremely clear and simple instructions for the self-run experiments are provided at each station. After roughly 10-15 minutes, the teams will rotate until everyone has worked on each experiment.

The stations will cover the following themes – Sinking and Floating; Displacement and The Tow Tank (which looks at drag forces in water).

Sinking and Floating: There are two very distinct elements to this station – using footballs to experience the ‘upthrust’ forces in a tank of water and then the challenge of creating a shape that will float using a piece of plasticine. The second element tasks the students to work together to load our ‘cargo ship’ ensuring that the vessel remains stable throughout.

Displacement: This station introduces the concept of ‘displacement’, thereby showing the science behind making boats float. Using small tanks of water and model ships, the pupils will weigh the model and then weigh the water that is pushed out of the tank upon placing the model in the water – they should be equal!

The Tow Tank: Led by our education staff, this final element looks at drag forces brought to bear on several small wooden hulls as they are towed through the water in the tank (see photograph above). What can affect the speed of vessels as they travel through the water?

Once all of the experiments have been completed, the group gathers together once more to review everyone’s findings and to draw some overall conclusions.

The Maritime Museum at the heart of Liverpool’s Albert Dock is the perfect place to enhance children’s understanding of these scientific principles and also to appreciate the continuing importance of shipping to everyone’s lives today.

The Merseyside Maritime Museum is part of National Museums Liverpool.
This workshop is free!
Contact 0151 478 4788 to book or e-mail [email protected]

Click here for further information…

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Selena Ledgerton Selena Ledgerton
Selena Ledgerton Web, Media & Marketing Manager e: [email protected]