Science club – Urinary system

Week Three – Urinary System

Arrival craft: Paper urinary system from Scholastic model book.

Introduction: Last week we looked at the digestive system. Closely connected to that is the urinary system. Does anyone know what it does?

Our urinary system gets rid of extra water and various wastes that our bodies don’t need.

Our kidneys play a very important role in the urinary system. They filter waste out of our blood.

Do you know how filtration works?

Filtration is a way of separating mixtures.

Show the mixtures we made earlier (lego and sand, sand and rice, rice and pasta, sand and water), ask the children how they would separate them and get a volunteer to try: there are colanders, sieves and filter paper to use.

When we look at real kidneys, do you think they will have big holes like the colander in them?

Why not?

The substances – like salts – which kidneys filter out of blood are much smaller than pasta, rice, or even sand. So the holes need to be small too.

Individual task: Make paper kidneys.

Break for drink and snack.

Gather Together: Does anyone know whereabouts on the body our kidneys are?

If nobody knows, encourage the children to look at the paper anatomy models we’re building.

I have an anatomy model that we can look at, can we name the digestive organs, and find the kidneys.

Ask volunteers to come up, name the digestive organs and remove them from the model, until we find the kidneys.

Before you cut into your kidney, try to find the tubes coming out of it. There should be three, what do you think they are for?

The renal artery (thicker than vein) carries blood to the kidneys; the renal vein carries blood back to the heart;  the ureter carries urine to the bladder.

Kidneys are a distinctive shape, they look like kidney beans.

They have a very distinctive shape inside too, the middle is made of triangle shaped tissues – these are called ‘renal pyramids’.

After you cut your kidney in half.

Demonstrate with one of the kidneys.

You can try to find the renal pyramids.

How many pyramids does your kidney have? Can you see the stripes on your pyramids? Are they vertical – going towards the centre of the kidney – or horizontal? You could add these features to your paper kidneys,

Individual task: Dissect Kidneys. kidneydissection



Science Club – Plants


Arrival CraftMake leaf mobiles. leafmobile

Introduction: Plants are the beginning of all food chains, because they are able to make their own food using the energy from sunlight. This is called photosynthesis.

We can’t exactly see it happening, but we can come close. In photosynthesis, leaves take carbon dioxide and sunlight and produce glucose and oxygen.

Individual Task: Children try leaf disc experiment and observe the bubbles that show oxygen is being produced. leafdisc

Break for drink and snack.

Second half: Show cress that has grown in light and dark and ask children what plants need to grow.

Individual Task: Children plant cress on cotton wool to make little cress heads.

Science Club – Pneumatics 2


Arrival Craft: Air colouring sheet. air

Introduction: Gasses can be compressed more than liquids or solids, but there are still limits. If we try to squash air too much, it will rush away.

If I blow up a balloon and let go of the end, what will happen?

The air will rush out of the balloon. The force of the air rushing out will push the balloon away in the opposite direction. This is one of the big rules of energy: every action has an equal and opposite reaction.


If you inflate a balloon and attach it to a CD, then the air will rush out through the hole, pushing the CD into the air, like a tiny hovercraft. These are easy to make, but there’s a YouTube video on @Bristol’s site, which is very good.

Individual Task: Make CD hovercrafts.

Break for drink and snack.

Second Part: If we don’t give the air any way out, then we can use it to push things.

This is called pneumatics.

Individual Task: Make pneumatic hoists out of tech card.

Science Club – Insects


Arrival Craft: Make insect models with jointed legs. insects

Introduction: There are lots of different types of insects.

People discover new ones all the time, and new species are often discovered by amateurs. (

You could easily hunt for insects in your own gardens. We’re going to make some pooters to help you safely collect creatures to study.

Individual Task: Make pooters.

Practice picking up grains of rice.

Drinks and snack

Second Part: How many legs do insects have? (6)

But, what about a caterpillar? Is a caterpillar an insect?

Of course, a caterpillar is the pupa stage of a butterfly. Pupa do not all have six legs. It is all adult insects that have six legs.

The life cycle of an insect isn’t quite the same as the life cycle of a mammal (like us).

Does anyone know the life cycle of an insect?

Make insect life cycle plates.

Insects are a huge part of the animal kingdom and very important for keeping everything going.

We can see how insects fit into the ecosystem by making a food web.

We’ll lay out these names of animals and plants (I printed off pictures from Wildlife Watch), and then we’ll use bits of string to connect each animal with what it eats.

Science Club – Food


Arrival Craft: Make origami Protein Channels. I found this fantastic craft online here. There are videos to help you! 

Introduction: We need to eat a balanced diet, which means we need to eat different types of food.

We need: Carbohydrates, Proteins, Vitamins and Minerals and Fats.

Some foods obviously belong to one group or another, but other foods can be in several groups at once.

I have iodine, which we can use to test for starch; and bieuret solution, which we can use to test for protein.

We’re going to test some foods to see if they contain starch and / or protein.

Egg white is a good source of protein, so we’re going to use egg white and water to show the difference between a positive protein test and a negative protein test.

Individual Task: Test for proteins. (The Biuret reagent contains: Hydrated Copper sulphate, Potassium hydroxide solution, Potassium sodium tartrate) foodtesting

Children then mash up different foods with water and test them for protein.

They should also test a sample of only water – as a control.

Gather Together: Which of the foods contained protein?

Is that what you expected?

Break for drink and snack.

Second part: This is a potato – obviously, it’s going to contain starch. When I add iodine to it, the iodine goes blue, indicating the presence of starch. We’re going to use iodine to see which of these foods contain starch.

Give out worksheets for children to predict whether foods will contain starch. foodtesting


Science Club – Wind Up Toys

Arrival Craft: Jumping frogs, an origami craft. I found lots of fun templates online like this one! No automatic alt text available.

Introduction: There are different types of energy. Potential energy is stored energy that can be used later. This is very useful for lots of things.

When we wind up an elastic band, or a clockwork motor, we are turning our kinetic energy into potential energy that can be stored until we want to turn it back into kinetic energy again.

Individual Task: Making wind-up dinosaurs. I got these in a kit from Baker RossNo automatic alt text available.

Older children can also complete an energy worksheets. energystories

Break for drink and snack.

Second part: When we wind up the clockwork motors, a metal spring inside gets wound tighter and tighter, our kinetic energy is turned into elastic potential energy. When we release the spring, it quickly returns to its original shape, turning the potential energy back into kinetic energy that moves the dinosaur forwards.

The metal spring is inside a box, though, so we can’t actually see this happening. It’s easier to see this effect, if we wind up an elastic band. Demonstrate rubber-band powered boat. 


Individual Task: Make boats powered by elastic bands to take home.

I gave out styrofoam plates, and the children cut boat shapes out. They then cut a small square to be the paddle out of the back of the boat. They wrapped an elastic band around the paddle and the boat to power the boat.

I covered my boat in duck tape, which made it quite jolly.

Science Club – Telescopes


Arrival Craft: Use numbered axes to make a curve out of straight lines.

Use grids to expand pictures.

Introduction: We’ve looked at light before when we built periscopes and saw how light always travels in straight lines. Today we’re going to look at how light can be bent.

Individual Task: Lay a piece of clingfilm on top of some paper. Carefully put a droplet of water onto the clingfilm.

Look at text through a droplet of water and see how the water magnifies the text.

Gather Together: Light bends when it passes through a different material because light moves at different speeds in air and water (or in air and glass).

Set up ray box, show how a lens can bend light and move the focal point. This is how glasses and contact lenses work to help people see.

We can see how that works if we pretend to be light.

Get six children to stand in a line holding hands. They should walk forward taking the same size steps. They will walk from one side of the room to the other and stay in a straight line.

Then put a masking tape line diagonally across the floor. As they cross this line, the children must begin to walk in tiny steps, only a couple of inches at a time. Since the children will not all cross the tape at the same time, some of them will slow before the others and their line will bend.

That’s how refraction works! It’s also why light doesn’t get refracted if it hits the glass straight on, e.g. coming through a window.

Break for drink and snack.

Second Part: Lenses allow us to focus light where we want it, we can use that to correct vision problems, but we can also use it to make microscopes for seeing tiny things or telescopes for seeing things that are a long way away.

Individual Task: Making telescopes. There’s an amazing website that sells a whole range of telescope-making kits, they’re great value and really awesome! AstroMedia