Secondary at your school

Techniquest’s learning initiatives are not just confined to our centre in Cardiff Bay — why not book a Techniquest visit at your school?

Techniquest offers a unique range of challenge workshops, which are designed to encourage students studying Maths and Science at all stages of secondary education. The flexibility of presenters allows schools to use Techniquest sessions as an introduction to a new topic, or to build on the knowledge that students already have.

Techniquest’s outreach shows and workshops have been developed in line with the Curriculum for Wales. Online resources accompany the outreach sessions to provide extended information for teachers and to encourage further learning.

For information on costs of Techniquest programmes delivered at your school please ring 029 2047 5476 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

  • Challenge Workshops

    Techniquest’s challenge workshops allow students to explore specific aspects of Applied Engineering, Maths, Technology and Science, through practical challenges set by Techniquest presenters. Students are introduced to the topic in a presenter-led discussion. Students are then encouraged to develop teamwork and co-operation skills through discussion and debate. After the completion of each challenge, students regroup in order to reflect on what they have learnt during the session, evaluating reasons for successes and failures, as well as suggesting improvements.

    Each session is designed to increase students’ awareness of the broad range of careers available within Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

    RAENG Magenta RGB 160px LightWorkE240

    Light Work New

    Pupils explore visible light and how engineers and scientists use light to help us. Pupils explore burning different metals and how the excitation of electrons produces different wavelengths of light from these. They investigate how white light can be split and how the concentrated wavelengths of light from lasers can be used in engineering. Pupils then investigate how light can be used for entertainment, investigating 3D images. They are then challenged to create their own 3D animation using a praxinoscope.
    With the support of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

    pdfLight Work Resources (English) 1.04 MB
    pdfLight Work Resources (Welsh) 986 KB

    BT Sponsored by BytesizeE240

    Bytesize Science

    Computers are all around us and people are relying more and more on this technology. The Bytesize Science Show explores some of the science behind this technology, without actually using a computer. Find out why it is important to get instructions correct when programming. Discover the role of binary and algorithms in programming computers. Learn how fibre optics work and the important role they play in fast communications. Explore why we need to encrypt information and examine one of the methods for doing so. The engaging session is designed to increase students’ awareness of what goes on behind the everyday technology they are so familiar with, and to inspire them to try programming themselves.
    Sponsored by BT.

    pdfBytesize Science Resources (English) 2.44 MB
    pdfBytesize Science Resources (Welsh) 2.44 MB

    Back Stage Challenge

    Several huge charity concerts are being organised in castles across Wales and you are in charge of one of these unique venues. You must choose two complementary music acts, ensuring they will appeal to a wide audience for maximum ticket sales. Make sure you don’t double book an act another group has chosen. Calculate all costs by drawing together information from graphs and tables. What is the castle’s maximum capacity? What are your estimated profits from ticket sales? Will your gig meet all criteria and raise more than enough money to cover overheads, or will there be no profit to donate to charity?

    pdfBack Stage Challenge Resources

    Making Tracks

    World Wide Aid distributes food and medical supplies to areas hit by natural disasters. Can you design and engineer an all-terrain vehicle to help? Can you create the best model with limited time and budget? Will your prototype meet WWA’s criteria and survive testing? Can you keep your cargo safe? Build your team vehicle and road test it. Justify your group’s decisions, as you bid against other teams to convince WWA to invest in your design.

    pdfMaking Tracks Resources

    Theme Park Challenge

    Hullabaloo Entertainments Ltd wants to open a new theme park in Wales. You are going to submit a proposal to build it. Choose rides, stalls, a name and a layout for your theme park. Create a viable business plan, identifying all costs and funding sources. You will have to convert currencies and calculate loan repayments. Will your decisions appeal to the public, so that you make a profit? Or would your theme park run at a loss?

    pdfTheme Park Challenge Resources

    Transition — Kits

    Bring a Techniquest exhibition to your classroom! Techniquest kits each consists of 11 table top activities that are perfect for recreating the Techniquest experience at your school. There are a variety of Maths and Science kits available making it easy to divide them between classes or set up together as a miniature Techniquest exhibition. They are specially designed to encourage enquiry and can be used to introduce new topics or to reinforce prior learning.

    Each kit is accompanied by extensive resource materials and support notes for teachers. This information is available on the Techniquest website and will also be delivered with the kit as a bilingual hard-copy for use in class. The resource materials are designed to guide the teacher through a host of learning initiatives.

    A training session for the teachers using the Kits will be provided at your school on delivery (where possible). The four available kits are:


    Can you beat your classmates at 3D noughts and crosses? Multiply birthday candles using a mirror solve domino and match stick problems and pack a box with different-shaped parcels. Can you move the Towers of Brahma and Hanoi? Multiply numbers, build pyramids and solve the Pythagoras Puzzle of 2D shapes, allowing you to explore practical maths through fun and teamwork.


    Set up an array of exhibits exploring spinning magnets, spring forces and wind turbines. Can you make a structure that is earthquake proof? Or an arch bridge from five wooden blocks? How can you make a windmill spin faster and send a message in a tube of air? Investigate forces, while developing teamwork, and communication and number skills.


    Race bubbles, investigate buoyancy and become a rock detective! Can you identify the rocks with crystals in them? Or work out which material is the best electrical conductor? Use a video microscope to investigate your clothes, skin and hair close-up. Work in teams to discover more about materials, including making a swirling vortex, with these hands-on games.

    Light and Sound

    Can you see around a corner using a series of mirrors? Mix coloured light and change the shape of a shadow. Investigate how your voice works and the differences between high and low notes. How does sound travel and could you hear more if you could move your ears? Solving challenges in teams, pupils can investigate and understand more about light and sound.

  • Starlab — now with fulldome high-quality digital projection

    Our Stellar Universe


    Is the universe truly reflected in the peaceful, calm and unchanging sight that you see on a cloudless night? Experience an approximately 13.8 billion year history of the universe from the Big Bang to the formation and evolution of the solar system, including the earth. Our journey will finish billion years from now, posing the question could our dying sun form a brand new chapter in the continuing story of our ever changing universe?

    Challenge Workshops

    Science Literacy — Exploring Energy New

    Pupils will participate in a series of class demonstrations and interactive group activities to explore the concept of energy. The pupils will examine types of energy (including potential and kinetic) and explore how the kinetic energy of atoms is related to temperature and states of matter of a material in solid, liquid, gas and plasma forms. Pupils will also investigate real life examples of how the Science and Technology Facilities Council are supporting cutting edge research into energy. Through group activities, pupils will explore transfer of energy through convection, conduction and radiation. They will also explore wireless energy transfer through a series of interactive demonstrations.

    Science Literacy — Biosphere

    BiosphereEThese workshops engage KS4 pupils with scientific literacy. This involves encouraging pupils to explore concepts and explain the phenomena presented using their scientific knowledge. The programmes contain engaging activities and interactive demonstrations presented within a context and with unexpected outcomes that challenge pupils.

    This workshop focuses on the features of planet Earth that aid our survival, how we can replicate these on other planets and the role of technology in helping us to do this.

    pdfBiosphere Resources (English) 228KB
    pdfBiosphere Resources (Welsh) 231KB

    Science Literacy — Cells

    CellsEThese workshops engage KS4 pupils with scientific literacy. This involves encouraging pupils to explore concepts and explain the phenomena presented using their scientific knowledge. The programmes contain engaging activities and interactive demonstrations presented within a context and with unexpected outcomes that challenge pupils.

    In this fully interactive workshop, pupils explore how pandemics can be spread, use family trees to identify individuals and apply their knowledge of cells to identify the cause of an illness.

    pdfCells Resources (English) 440KB
    pdfCells Resources (Welsh) 435KB

    Science Literacy — The Earth Under Pressure

    EarthUPressureEThese workshops engage KS4 pupils with scientific literacy. This involves encouraging pupils to explore concepts and explain the phenomena presented using their scientific knowledge. The programmes contain engaging activities and interactive demonstrations presented within a context and with unexpected outcomes that challenge pupils.

    This workshop focuses on real life applications and contexts of Earth science, including seismology, air pressure and convection.

    pdfEarth Under Pressure Resources (English) 245KB
    pdfEarth Under Pressure Resources (Welsh) 231KB

    Science Literacy — Motion and Forces

    MotionAndForcesE240These workshops engage KS4 pupils with scientific literacy. This involves encouraging pupils to explore concepts and explain the phenomena presented using their scientific knowledge. The programmes contain engaging activities and interactive demonstrations presented within a context and with unexpected outcomes that challenge pupils.

    This workshop focuses on real life applications and contexts of motion and forces, including ballistics, projectiles and inertia.

    pdfMotion & Forces Resources (English)
    pdfMotion & Forces Resources (Welsh)

    Maths Matters

    This workshop comprises a number of videos showing maths in a real world context. In each case, the video illustrates how maths is used everyday within that company. Each video is accompanied by a specially designed activity for pupils to investigate for themselves how the maths learnt in the classroom can be applied to situations in the real world.

    In a one-hour session, it is anticipated that pupils will watch one video and complete the accompanying activity. Discuss with the teacher which of the activities would be best for pupils.

    pdfMaths Matters Resources (English)
    pdfMaths Matters Resources (Welsh)

    The choices are as follows:


    Pupils are given the chance in their groups to purchase one of two different cars: a three-door or a five-door. They can also select the optional extras to go with their purchase. Pupils then calculate their available budget each month and work out whether they can afford their dream car or if they need to make some compromises. As an extension activity, pupils calculate the costs of a long distance journey in their chosen car.

    In this activity, pupils will cover:

    • Budgeting, including purchasing items from a wide selection and ensuring that they do not go over budget
    • Calculating interest and subtracting interest from a bill

    Pupils explore the currency exchange rates for materials bought in the USA for use in the UK. They then use this and information about different materials to design and build a model passenger plane within a given budget and weight restrictions. The total costs of the planes are converted from US Dollars to GB Pounds. Pupils set their own success criteria for the groups’ designs and select their winner.

    In this activity, pupils will cover:

    • Using weights, including kg
    • Currency conversion
    • Working within tolerances for weight and budget.

    Pupils use tolerances to create as many bread rolls as possible within a given time limit. Pupils then estimate the heaviest and lightest weights for numerous packs of rolls. Pupils then try to create breadsticks within given tolerances and see how many they can produce with a given amount of dough.

    In this activity, pupils will cover:

    • Weights and measures (weighing in g)
    • Time
    • Tolerances (making balls of PlayDoh within a given range of weights)
    Office for National Statistics

    Pupils are given a standard shopping list and a range of products to select from. Pupils are given a budget for their shopping and must make product choices based on healthy eating and value for money, as necessary. Pupils are then told that the rate of inflation has increased, but their budget has not. They then recalculate their shopping to ensure they remain within budget. This leads into a discussion about the impact on shoppers of changes to the rate of inflation.

    In this activity, pupils will cover:

    • What is meant by inflation and how we are affected by it
    • Budgeting
    • Product selection, choosing the best products within budget

    Solving problems with Physics

    Pupils will be shown a video focussing on how physics is used in different sectors to solve problems. This one-hour workshop will comprise two videos (chosen by the Teacher) and two associated challenges. Depending on the selection, these workshops will add relevance to topics covered in the GCSE Physics curriculum including forces, renewable energy, optical fibres and near-earth objects. The choices available are:

    Cardiff Harbour Authority

    Pupils work in groups to design and build motorised tipping bridges. They then calculate the power produced by the motor and estimate the costs for running a full size version of their bridge for one year.

    In this activity, pupils will cover:

    • Power (kW) = current (in Amps) x voltage (in Volts) divided by 1000
    • Electrical energy transferred (kWh) = power (in kW) x time (in hours)
    • Electricity bills are calculated by multiplying the number of kWh by amount used by the price in pence per kWh
    Welsh Water

    In their groups, pupils work to see how much money they can save in a year by looking at renewable energy sources and using these as a means to generate electricity. The pupils will also hear from Welsh Water engineers on how they use physics on a daily basis and how what they learn in class can be applied.

    Pupils will cover:

    • How physics can be applied outside the classroom
    • Different ways to generate electricity
    • Renewable energy sources (focusing on wind)
    • Advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy sources.
    • Electrical energy transferred (kWh) = power (in kW) x time (in hours)
    Cardiff University Astrophysics

    An asteroid is heading towards Wales. In groups, pupils calculate the force of impact and estimate the size of the crater the asteroid will create on impact. They then assess which places in Wales are likely to be directly affected.

    In this activity, pupils will cover:

    • Different objects in space. Those that approach earth are known as near-earth objects. These include comets, asteroids and meteoroids
    • Speed is equal to the distance travelled divided by the time taken to travel that distance
  • Natural Environment

    This contemporary science provides the opportunity for the participants to explore their views on the issues affecting the African rainforests and how the people of Wales can have a direct impact on this issue. Students also have the opportunity to participate in interactive demonstrations. Groups will explore stories and information relating to this issue and based on real life incidents. They will then draw all of their research and discussion together to develop an awareness campaign based on a key issue from the session.

    The programmes require an hour per session to build in turn-around time for the presenters and accommodate 30 pupils per session. A maximum of four sessions can be delivered per day.

    pdfNatural Environment Resources (English) 1.62 MB
    pdfNatural Environment Resources (Welsh) 1.6 MB

    Digital Identity Crisis

    This contemporary science debate examines the collection of personal data and the advantages and disadvantages of such data being held. In groups the students discuss the issues around data collection, surveillance, mobile phones, the internet and other current applications of technology in the field of personal data. The session includes demonstrations of some of this technology. Groups will explore stories and information relating to this issue and based on real life incidents. They will then draw all of their research and discussion together to develop an awareness campaign based on a key issue from the session.

  • Making-Tracks


    Does there need to be a teacher/lecturer present during the workshop?
    Yes. To comply with Child Protection and H&S legislation, there must always be a teacher/lecturer present during a Techniquest workshop at your school.

    How long is each workshop?
    Each session runs for 50 minutes in order to fit into the length of a normal lesson, and to cause the least amount of disruption to the school’s normal timetable.

    What sort of room is required for the workshops?
    An ordinary classroom with power points is ideal. Sessions can be run in laboratories, although it is harder to organise group work around the work benches.

    Does the school have to provide any equipment for the workshop?
    Techniquest presenters will bring most equipment with them. As, however, we will be bringing a projector, we would appreciate access to a projector screen or a white board.

    Should teachers do any preparatory work with students before our visit?
    No preparatory work is required, but it can be beneficial. Both pre- and post visit materials to support the workshops are available to download.

    Are there any resources available to schools to reinforce the topics and skills learnt in the workshop after the session?
    Both pre- and post materials to support the workshops are available to download.

    How many pupils can participate in each workshop?
    Sessions are designed for a class of up to 30 pupils and this is the optimum number.

    Are programmes aimed at pupils studying STEM subjects?
    Techniquest’s secondary outreach programmes are designed to promote a deeper understanding of how Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths are an essential part of daily life. While students studying STEM subjects will benefit, the workshops are specifically aimed at non-STEM specialists. Techniquest presenters will adapt any session to suit the ability of the class.

    Do programmes support the teaching of the current curriculum?
    All programmes were redeveloped in early 2013 and are relevant to the teaching of the current Welsh Curriculum.

    Are the Key Stage 3 programmes suitable for pupils of all abilities across the key stage?
    Techniquest presenters are highly skilled in adapting programmes to suit the ability of the class. Presenters will discuss the intellectual/working level of the pupils with their teacher before the session. Prompts and clues are offered to lower ability pupils. The main tasks offered to year 7s will typically be more straightforward than those asked of an advanced Year 9 class.

    How do the Key Stage 3 workshops fit into the teaching of the Welsh Curriculum?
    The focus of Theme Park Challenge, Backstage Challenge and Making Tracks is numeracy, set in a lively real-world context. Making Tracks also has an engineering-related component.

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