BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Thursday, 9 August 2007, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
Physics adventure at holiday camp
Children on slide
The physics trail uses Butlins facilities to make learning fun
Scientists have turned to Butlins holiday camps to try to get children interested in physics.

Youngsters staying at the camps are being urged to go on a physics-based adventure around the facilities.

They are urged to think about the physical applications of the science as they follow an interactive trail, designed by the Institute of Physics.

For example, they are asked to think why water makes children slip faster down a slide.

The educational adventure is aimed at pupils aged between six and 11.

They are sent on an interactive quest to help stranded alien Echo from the planet Fizzix find the damaged parts of his space ship.

I know plenty of scientists who'd fancy having a go at this
Elizabeth Jeavans
Institute of Physics

They are given a comic book which tells them where to look for clues around Butlins activities and facilities as well as giving them valuable nuggets of basic physics.

As they follow the course they are then invited to send answers, by text message, to the questions posed.

One question at the waterslide asks children why they are able to go so fast down it.

It tells them that because the water is flowing over the smooth slide there is very little of the force, known as friction, that slows movement down.

They are also urged to think about how physics could be applied in other situations.

Lack of students

Outreach officer for the Institute of Physics Elizabeth Jeavans said: "What better way to get your first introduction to concepts such as velocity, friction and aerodynamics than by using go-karts, bungee trampolines and a water slide.

"I know plenty of scientists who'd fancy having a go at this."

The trail is part of the institute's attempts to encourage more pupils to study physics.

There is widespread concern among scientists and government about the drop in numbers of students studying the subject at university.

This has led to some institutions closing their physics department.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific