Primary STEM Days

Hi everyone

I am running a STEM day for KS2 students at my college at the end of term.  Now I am used to dealing with post 16 students but I would like to ask your advice on what makes a STEM day visit run well? e.g. practical considerations or just generally making it a fun event for children.

Thank you!



Age7-11, FE/HE
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Let them have the bunsen burners, always a winner ! As are flame tests and anything to do with mixing 'dangerous chemicals' (good old baking powder and white vinegar) as they have the wow factor. 

They will love something that give them independent thinking and practical work, they will surprise you at how mature and able they are. It is very easy to baby them as they are young and small compared to your usual audience but do treat them in a mature manner, they will thank you for that. 

Have a look at some of the Salters challenges - the one about the missing element is good fun as it has a little bit of everything including chromatography and can be scaled up or down in difficulty depending on the age group. You should be able to find it on the Salters Science Instititue webpages. 


Alison Ackroyd

Thank you so much for your advice.  I have had a special request for Bunsen burners and will definitely check out the Salters challenges!


Hi Alison, 

I have recently run a risk assessed DNA extraction from strawberries and that was fairly successful. The kids enjoyed the process. I am also running a STEM fair next year in a school and we are going to hopefully have activities like make your own bath bombs and painting mugs with thermochromic paint as well. I would definitely recommend practical hands on activities for that age.If you can do a make and take home thing as well. that usually goes down well with that age

Hope this helps



Alison Ackroyd

Thank you so much Ani. Fab ideas.



Although it should be fun and exciting, it also needs to be informative and inspirational. We recently attended a secondary school as part of our STEM week activities and although they loved playing with bunsen burners and watching bubbles explode, the teachers explained nothing and told them no concrete facts about the experiments. This was bery frustrating as I couldn't remember everything from my own knowledge and children were asking questions that weren't answered.

I was especially disappointed when I asked the teacher what chemicals had been used in two of his demonstrations, and he simply didn't know the all!

Give the children real facts - when we have to teach them about the geocentric and heliocentric views of the universe; Tesla vs Edison - AC vs DC currents;  himan circularion systems and dissecting hearts in Y5 & Y6, they should at least learn some facts that they can use and hopefully remember when they attend high school.

Alison Ackroyd

Thank you for your feedback. I will make sure we are all briefed in this regard. We are after all ultimately trying to encourage more students into science Post-16 :)