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Key Stage 2 Rockets to Rovers workshop



National Curriculum suggested year:

Any KS2 classes who are covering Earth and Space or Forces topics


A full day for one or up to three classes, or the rockets as a one hour session as part of a multi science day

NC objectives covered:

Earth and space / Forces associated objectives

Suitable for between one and three classes over the course of the day, our popular "Rockets to Rovers" KS2 science workshop is an excellent way for pupils to learn about the forces of thrust, gravity and air resistance (ie drag) involved in lifting a rocket from the ground shared with similar acticvities to our "Spaceman" and "KS2 Rocket Challenge" workshops.  


Pupils also learn about earth and space via the history of manned space flight in an exciting and inspiring day of related themed activities.

As per all our science workshops, it is also history based, with an all important timeline running through the initial presentation and also referred to throughout the rest of the activities to add context to the pupils' learning and make it a truly worthwhile and educational experience.

Our Moon Rover in action!

Our Moon Rover in action!

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Activities in this workshop

1) Interactive 'Space race' presentation

The workshop starts with a presentation featuring HD videos, scale models, front of class demonstrations involving pupils and the handling of actual space flown items from the Apollo 11 moon mission and space shuttle (see video above).


Front of class activities include:


  • testing the strength of the type of gold Kapton foil used in the moon landings;

  • using models to show the (surprising) distance between the earth and the moon

  • guessing mystery objects actually flown in space missions and

  • finding out what it was like to sit in Yuri Gagarin's seat at the top of his Vostok 1 rocket.  


There is also an interactive timeline (as included in all our science school workshops) to show the important chronology of the space race between the USSR and the USA.

testing kapton foil in our key stage 2 science workshop
examining a space shuttle model

2) Making and launching powerful paper rockets!

a year 5 boy shooting a rocket during our science workshop

The next activity really gets pupils thinking about forces as they design and make their own paper space rockets before launching them using our own compressed air launcher, either outside or inside dependent on the weather.


After a brief demonstration, it is up to pupils to decide how to modify their designs for the highest or most accurate flight before entering a competition against their class mates.   This is an activity that can be adapted to indoors in poor weather simply by aiming at targets rather than going for height.

As you can imagine this is a VERY popular activity!

3) Drive a model moon rover!

No KS2 forces workshop would be complete without looking at the force of friction, and our remote-controlled model planetary rover offers the perfect activity to explore this topic.  After a short introduction about the Mars Curiosity rover, pupils guide the model around a lunar landscape to collect moon samples against the clock, thus learning about the important role of robots in planetary exploration as well as the difficulties that scientists encounter in piloting remote vehicles with regards to friction forces.

happy teacher and pupils stood next to a moon rover!
moon rover used in our primary school science workshop
piloting a model moon rover in year 4

Learn about the whole journey of the space race by

launching rockets and riving a remote control model moon rover!

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