Science for Schools

Science for Schools takes part in the Barton Science Centre on Wednesday afternoons and is one of Tonbridge School’s key community activities.

The popular programme sees local primary school children visit the school’s laboratories over a three-week period. Tonbridge boys and staff organise and supervise hands-on activities for the children, who are presented with new, fun and exciting opportunities to learn about science.

Pupils grow crystals, carry out their own mini-experiments, build parachutes and even learn about maggots. Tonbridge boys also put on demonstrations for the children and talk about what they are studying. There are lots of exciting demonstrations, with plenty of flames and explosions!

Schools are invited to bring an entire class of up to 32 children at a time, plus their usual teacher and teaching assistants, for three consecutive Wednesday afternoon sessions each lasting about an hour and a half.

Science for Schools activities have included:

  • An introduction to chemical reactions: Making copper sulphate crystals using copper carbonate and sulphuric acid;
  • Determining the energy content of foods by burning them and measuring the heat given off;
  • Working out the correct ratio of chemicals to mix in order to make a reliable chemical ‘egg timer’;
  • Designing, building and testing parachutes;
  • Investigating the crawling speed of maggots under conditions of light and dark.


Bill Burnett, the school’s Head of Science, said:

The sessions are all about the excitement of discovering new things, and are great fun for all involved. We are always extremely pleased to share our facilities, and the enthusiasm and energy of the visiting children is a delight to see.

By helping to supervise our visitors, Tonbridge boys also reap rewards from the partnership, as their teaching and communications skills develop over the course of the year. It’s very pleasing to deliver a programme that brings such benefits to the school and to our community as a whole.