School of Chemistry

Activities for Primary Schools

Schools Science Fair

Each year around Easter time children in Years 5-6 from local primary schools are invited to the University to participate in fun science activities.

The children work with research scientists and participate in a range of ‘hands-on’ experiments to promote an interest in science and encourage them to follow that in their studies at school and beyond.

Among other activities the children find out how fruit and flowers can be frozen instantly with liquid nitrogen, make their own ‘slime’ whilst learning a little about polymers along the way, and watch a little modern day ‘alchemy’ where copper two pence pieces are turned into ‘gold’.

Primary School children at the Science Fair


The Schools of Computer Science, Physics and Astronomy, and Pharmacy also contribute hands-on activities. The event is jointly organised with the University’s Widening Participation team.

Working with IntoUniversity 

Primary School children participating in Slick Science

Throughout the academic year Chemical Society undergraduate students deliver science activities to local primary schoolchildren, either on the University campus or at IntoUniversity centres.

At each local centre IntoUniversity offers an innovative programme that supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to attain either a university place or another chosen aspiration.

The event is jointly organised with the IntoUniversity centres across the city of Nottingham.


Two types of activities are delivered for Years 5 or 6:

  • Slick Science – the life cycle of crude oil is discussed, with focus on the production of plastics from oil. Children work in teams to create their own oil slick using household items, and test which everyday materials clean the slick up best.
  • Colourful Chemistry - this activity looks at the use of colour in many everyday applications, and how it is we can see different colours. The interactive talk in interspersed with hands-on activities, from ink chromatography to making colourful milk using food dyes. There is also a demonstration of a chemical reaction called ‘Traffic Lights’ that changes colour: this is carried out by a trained chemist and is fully risk assessed.

Primary School children at the Science Fair


 FIRST® LEGO® League

Over 250,000 young people taking part each year in this global competition, and the University of Nottingham host the Midlands regional tournament in December.

 First Lego League cohort in the Engineering Science Learning Centre

FIRST® LEGO® League is a global science and technology challenge for teams of students, to encourage an interest in real world issues and develop key skills that are crucial for their future careers.

The students work together to explore a given topic and to design, build and program an autonomous LEGO® robot to solve a series of missions.

FIRST® LEGO® League is for young people aged 9 to 16 years, working in teams of up to ten students with a supporting adult coach.


Each year FIRST® LEGO® League releases a new challenge for the teams. The challenge involves a robot game and a research project, and students will need to demonstrate the FIRST® LEGO® League core values throughout all their work. Teams usually have twelve to sixteen weeks to work on the challenge before they compete in their chosen Regional Tournament. 

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is the operational partner for the FIRST® LEGO® League competition in the UK and Ireland. For more information about the annual Challenge and how to enter a team, visit their website.

School of Chemistry

University Park Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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