Ancestors Of Science

Colourful Chemistry

Key Facts you learnt in today’s session:

  • What a chemical reaction is!
  • That you can tell a chemical reaction has taken place by 4 simple signs: colour change, making something new (like the foam in our Elephant’s Toothpaste experiment), producing a gas and temperature change.
  • What the primary colours are. (Red, blue and yellow!).
  • How to make 100’s of different colours using only the 3 primary colours
  • Milk really doesn’t like washing up liquid! Using the food colouring, we could see all the fat molecules trying to get away from the soap.
  • The black ink in our pens isn’t just black; it is made up of lots of different colours.
  • How to do a scientific method called; Chromatography.
  • White light is also made up of lots of different colours all merged together.
  • Using our scientific equipment such as pipettes, dropper bottles and beakers, you learned how to be accurate when doing experiments
  • Our spinning wheels showed us, that sometimes our eyes play tricks on us. Our eyes can’t move fast enough to see the separate colours so blur them together, making new colours before our eyes.

Forensic Me

Key Facts you learnt in today’s session:

  • A fingerprint is an individual characteristic; no two people have been found with the exact same fingerprint pattern.
  • Fingerprints have 3 different types of pattern; - whorls, arches and loops.
  • If a forensic scientist can measure the length of a foot or shoe print, they will be able to approximate the height of the individual. Although this does work better on adults, as children are still growing at different rates!
  • Although you can look similar to someone, have the same birthday or even the same parents, there are lots of ways to tell you apart. Detectives and police officers use these techniques all the time to find criminals!
  • Using skulls, scientists can reconstruct (make again) what someone’s face would have looked like when they were alive
  • People’s lung capacity can vary greatly! Our monkey-o-meters showed us how big our lung capacity was.
  • When someone dies suddenly or under suspicious circumstances, special doctors called pathologists have to do an autopsy to look inside the body to work out how they died.
  • Finding a hair at a crime scene is a brilliant way for detectives to find out who was there by their DNA.
  • The more detail you can remember when describing someone, the better! Even down to eye colour, or any scars they may have. That’s why we collected all that information for our personal profiles.
  • People who solve crimes are called Crime Scene Investigators or Detectives, depending on where they are (country) and how big the town/city they work in is.

Genius Geometry

Key Facts you learnt in today’s session:

  • We can see the colours Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet in visible light. The fastest moving light waves look violet to our eyes. The slowest light waves appear red, with all the other colours of light in between.
  • Light travels in a straight line, but we can use mirrors to reflect the light in a different direction.
  • Galileo Galilei was a famous physicist, mathematician, engineer and astronomer. In 1609, he heard about a new invention called the telescope and (without even seeing one) made his own better version with which he made many of his discoveries including the 4 largest satellites of Jupiter (named Galilean moons).
  • Sir Issac Newton used mirrors in his telescopes (Called Reflecting telescopes) and they became the most used telescope until modern times. All in the 1600s!
  • With our kaleidoscopes, we saw how we can use mirrors and colour to create beautiful reflections and patterns
  • We thought about all of the shapes that you see in the everyday world – from squares in manmade buildings, to the hexagons in a honeybee’s hive.
  • Through discussions, we found out that shapes like triangles and hexagons were the strongest shapes, and built our own structures with Polydrons
  • Our minds were puzzled with lots of Geometry puzzles. Using different shapes, we were challenged to make objects, and to make all the pieces fit!
  • That a Tangram is a Chinese puzzle consisting of seven flat shapes, called tans, which are put together to form shapes
  • Geometry is closely linked to other sciences like astronomy and physics

Darwin's Monsters

Key Facts you learnt in today’s session:

  • Charles Darwin is a famous scientist known for his theory of Evolution. Darwin believed that humans evolved slowly from monkeys/apes
  • Evolution is a gradual process in which something changed into a different and usually more complex or better form
  • We inherit some of our characteristics, such as eye and hair colour, from our parents.
  • Family tree’s show the generations that came before us, and show where we got our genes from. This also explains why, if you’ve ever been told you look like a grandparent or relative.
  • DNA is like the instructions on how to make you. A gene is a little piece of DNA that will instruct an individual trait e.g. having straight or curly hair.

Astronomical Life

Key Facts you learnt in today’s session:

  • On our mission to the moon, we found out that being an astronaut is not so easy! They have to be tethered so they don’t float away when they eat and sleep, they eat mostly dehydrated foods (yuck!) and they can’t have a bath or shower!
  • Astronauts have to wear pressurised suits when outside to make sure they don’t freeze, can still breathe and, to keep them safe. Although, the pressure from these suits can sometimes make their fingernails fall off (yuck again!)
  • Comets are balls of rock and ice that grow tails as they approach the sun in the course of their orbits. Whereas, asteroids are chunks of rock that measure in size from a few feet to several miles in diameter. Asteroids’ do not have tails
  • Halley’s Comet is probably the most famous comet, and it is named after the English astronomer Edmond Halley, who first calculated its orbit in 1705. The comet makes a complete orbit around the sun every 75 to 76 years. It is clear visible to the naked eye from Earth. The next sighting will occur in 2061.
  • We tried replicating what it would be like for astronauts wearing those big pressurised gloves to do tasks in space, by trying to build our own ‘Minecraft’ creature. It was a lot harder to do!
  • In space, you can’t jump or run around because of the lack of gravity, you would float away. Astronauts have to make sure they are tied to something like the spaceship when they are on space walks.
  • The moon’s surface is not made out of cheese; it is in fact made of rock. The light and dark patches that can be seen on the moon’s surface are likely craters that have been left by asteroids and comets crashing into the moon’s surface
  • Larger and heavier objects leave deeper and bigger craters, whereas smaller and lighter objects such as a ping pong ball, leave shallower and smaller craters
  • On the first space missions, they would have not had small, complex computers like we have now. They would have to have used a ‘slide rule’ to work out complicated equations and sums.
  • Sometimes meteoroids burn up or vaporise upon entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, we call them shooting stars or meteors. If they make it through the atmosphere and land on the Earth’s surface they are known as meteorites.

Science of Speed

Key Facts you learnt in today’s session:

  • Lots of science goes into making fast things like racing cars, just so they can go an extra millisecond faster.
  • The angle that we placed our marble run pieces on the board, greatly affected how slow we could make our marble fall.
  • Friction is a force that you should always consider when making something that moves. We found if the wheels on our balloon cars we rubbing on the straw and causing friction, they would not go as far/fast
  • The force of the air blowing from the balloon gave our balloon car enough push to move itself forward


Congratulations, you have made it through the ‘Ancestors Of Science’ programme! We hope you enjoyed your journey of science exploration and are inspired to continue to investigate the world we live in and discover how things work.

Take a look at our online science resources for ideas of science experiments you can do at home.



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