The Royal Institution

Since 1799 the Royal Institution has been introducing new technologies and teaching science to the general public.  Their vision is " A world where everyone is inspired to think more deeply about science and its place in our lives."  They use their iconic Christmas lectures, broadcast on national television every year, and many other activities, to communicate science ideas to all generations.  

This collection includes a number of different resources.  Some of these are produced by the Royal Institution, such as;

  • Tales from the Prep Room video series where one of the Institution's technicians tries out a range of demonstrations that could be adapted for use in the classroom
  • My Favorite Element in which Royal Institution colleagues, celebrities and scientists choose their favourite element and explain why they liked it so much
  • Royal Institution Mathematics which provides a selection of resources offering opportunities for practical mathematical activities and investigation for STEM Clubs.
  • Sparks will Fly which includes resources based on the Christmas Lecture in 2014 for primary pupils to link aspects of electricity and technology.

The Christmas Lectures collection highlights those resources within the STEM Learning eLibrary which could help to support the Christmas Lecture.




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The Prep Room plays a crucial role in the Royal Institution’s public communication of science. It is where all the equipment and demonstrations are prepared for Royal Institution events - not least the annual Christmas Lectures. This series provides a range of hands-on experiments and demonstrations across a full...

In 2012, the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures explored the chemistry of the modern world. Following this theme, the Royal Institution asked colleagues, celebrities and scientists to choose their favourite element and explain why they liked it so much. One of these short films was published every day in December...

Sparks Will Fly

This collection provides three primary science resources which link to the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture ‘Sparks Will Fly’, given by Prof Danielle George in 2014. Produced by the University of Manchester's Science & Engineering Education Research and Innovation Hub.

The Christmas Lectures at the...

From Butterfly Wings to Metamaterials

This video, from the Royal Institution, explains how the vivid blue colour of a butterfly’s wing is caused by the microstructure of the wings which only diffracts blue light. John Pendry, Professor of Physics at Imperial College, explains that he is currently carrying out research into ways of controlling light...