About The Roadshow
What is CHaOS?
Cambridge Hands-On Science, more commonly known as ‘CHaOS’, is a non-profit voluntary student group based at the University of Cambridge that believes that science is exciting and relevant to everyone. Our aim is to transfer our enthusiasm to the general public through fun hands-on experiments, bringing science to as many different people as we can. events and venues around the country. In five weeks we visited 15 venues across eight counties and saw over 5,000 visitors. A total of 90 volunteers from the University of Cambridge gave up part of their summer to join us and share their passion for science.

Who pays for the roadshow?
CHaOS is committed to making our experiments accessible to as many people as possible, so we do not charge for entry to our public events. We ask that schools make a small contribution to our running costs, but each visit is heavily subsidised by the generosity of our financial supporters. We rely on careful budgeting to keep the cost of our roadshow to below £3 per person reached. We keep our costs down by accommodating our demonstrators in campsites whilst on the roadshow, filling up on delicious school dinners and doing as much of the rest of our cooking as possible on a camp stove.

How much does the roadshow cost? How did CHaOS and the roadshow begin?
CHaOS has been running for over 15 years. Our first events were held in Cambridge as part of the Cambridge Science Week. In 2002, some of our members thought that it would be fun to pack some of our experiments into a van and take them around the country for a week – and so the roadshow was born! From these humble beginnings, our volunteers have developed the roadshow such that we are now on the road for a month or more each summer. Each year CHaOS spend approximately £15,000 over the course of the roadshow, with the main cost being transport (around £4,000, including vehicle hire and demonstrators’ train fares), food (£2,100) and advertising the events (£1,000). We are therefore hugely grateful to our sponsors for enabling the roadshow to take place!
Experiments Venue Hire Camping Other Demonstrator Travel

How does the roadshow work?
Our events are based around hands-on experiments that all ages can try, covering all aspects of science from physics and engineering to biology and how our body works. Each experiment is demonstrated by an experienced and enthusiastic student volunteer. Small groups of children are guided through each experiment, with the demonstrator explaining the science behind it at an interesting and accessible level. In July and August 2013, CHaOS brought these experiments to schools, town halls, community centres and other


Vehicle Hire and Fuel


How are the volunteers trained?
Of the 53 demonstrators who responded to our postroadshow survey, around half had not volunteered at a

Map reproduced with data with permission from the Ordnance Survey © Crown copyright 2010


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previous CHaOS event, and about a quarter had never been involved in science outreach activities before. In the run-up to the roadshow, we ran sessions to introduce new demonstrators to our experiments, and to pass on hints and tips about communicating science in a way that matches the ability level of the audience. 35 demonstrators attended one of these sessions, and the feedback that we recieved indicated that they were generally pleased with the opportunity to practice with some of the experiments, and to meet some of the committee members in person before the roadshow.




12 4

Where did the roadshow visit in 2013?
One of the main aims of the CHaOS roadshow is to visit areas of the country where access to science is not easy, for example where there are no permanent science museums locally. With this in mind, this year the roadshow visited central Norfolk and Yorkshire. In Yorkshire we visited the Flamingo Land theme park for three days, bringing science to places where people might not normally expect it! Finally, we spent a week at the Kent International Scout Jamboree, which gave us the opportunity to involve around 6,000 children from all across the UK and beyond. A visitor at our event in Norfolk said: “My son could have stayed all day, he absolutely adored it. I think it was perfectly pitched for him and everyone was enthusiastic and generally excellent. I hated science as a school child but this was wonderful.”

Visitors learned about diabetes and blood glucose monitors with our new blood glucose experiment.

Week 1
This year the CHaOS Roadshow kicked off in Essex at St Clere’s school in Stanford-le-Hope. Here enthusiastic year 8 students learnt about the impressive tensile strength of paper, and about rocks and minerals. The next day we visited Abbots Hall Primary school where their year 5 pupils saw a demonstration of how hot air balloons work! Then we headed to St Edward’s School in East London and introduced students to angular momentum with a spinning chair, and to the

Essex and Norfolk 1st - 7th July
science of trebuchets by launching some stuffed toys. We spent the weekend at Bressingham Steam & Gardens in Norfolk. The sun was out all weekend allowing us to bring out our eight-metre suspension bridge, as well as an arch bridge and cantilever bridge! Children had fun learning about the physics behind bridges and walking over them. Later in the day our skeleton, Boris, had a ride on a real steam train!

Hampshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire 8th - 14th July
We began the second week of the Roadshow down on the South coast, visiting schools in Hampshire. First we visited Admiral Lord Nelson School which proved

Week 2

to be a fantastic start. Students from year 6 and year 8 explored the three classrooms that we had filled with experiments, from body bits to glow-in-the-dark physics, having a great time along the way. The next two days were spent at the Hayling College on Hayling Island, where we saw students from eight different schools at a federation event. The great weather allowed us to set up experiments outside, with trebuchets being fired and electrolysis bangs going off in the school playground (which didn’t seem to scare the school’s pet chickens one bit). It was great being able to see so many different school groups, and our days were topped off with evening trips to the local beach and barbeque dinners. For the weekend we moved North and ran public

events at Redditch Town Hall and finally at the Family Sports & Fun day in Tiddington, where we set up our experiments in a hut that became known as the “Science Shack!” It was another hot day and so the

water rockets experiment proved to be a particular favourite. Lots of children came to visit after bouncing on the nearby bouncy castle.

Warwickshire and Oxfordshire 15th - 21st July
At the beginning of week three, we visited Trinity School in Leamington Spa where we set up our experiments in the school theatre. The high ceiling allowed us to demonstrate how an air stream can cause a beach ball to float in mid-air and then to explain the physics behind it. Next we visited Campion School where we set up one of our new experiments about blood and antibodies. The students learnt all about blood group matching and blood transfusions. We had a busy third day at Coundon Court School in Coventry. We used one The demonstrators engaged well with the students and there were experiments which they wouldn’t have the opportunity to see otherwise. Teacher

Week 3
classroom as a dark room so that the students could learn about infra-red light, and how sun cream helps to protect skin from ultra violet light. At the end of the week we ran public events in Oxfordshire, the first in Banbury Town Hall. The vinegar and bicarbonate of soda explosions outside drew in visitors, and we populated the main hall with a variety of experiments. The giant hand model was popular, particularly with one visitor who had come into town to pick up his new glasses and ended up staying with us for over an hour! To finish the week, we set out our experiments at the Civic Hall in Didcot. With a large outdoor area we made the most of the good weather and brought out our bridges, thixotropic cornflour, mini explosions, and the spinning chair.

Week 4
In a departure from CHaOS’ standard locations, our fourth week was spent in Flamingo Land, a zoo and a theme park rolled into one in the green and pleasant

Yorkshire 22nd - 28th July
land of Yorkshire. We made the most of the lovely summer weather by putting most of our experiments outside. We brought out the suspension bridge to

complement the arch and cantilever bridges, as well as one of our new experiments on blood and some biology experiments such as the human organ vest. To spread the word about our presence, our skeleton Boris went for trips around the theme park, helping our demonstrators to explain about the bones that make up our bodies. He even found time to try out a rollercoaster! Our collection of animal skulls, ranging from our large fox skull to our tiny mole skull with sharp tiny teeth, was a particular source of excitement. One demonstrator got so into his experiment that he was seen quoting lines of Shakespeare as he held up a dog’s skull!

Kent International Scout Jamboree 28th July - 4th August
The final week was spent at another unusual location for CHaOS, this time at the Kent International Jamboree. This week long camp of 6,000 scouts and guides near Maidstone welcomed us as part of their science zone, and we shared our area with a giant cornflour run, a star dome and a can crushing experiment. We had set out our experiments into different areas such as medicine, biology and the darkroom surrounding a central air-rocket firing zone. On the sunnier days we spread outside onto a grassy area. Each day were swamped by a huge number of scouts, all wanting to come and find out about the excitement of science. The scouts learnt first-hand how pulleys help us to lift heavy weights in our Mechanical Advantage

Week 5
experiment – it certainly pulleyed in the crowds! This experiment also helped out a scout who was working towards a badge on ropes and pulleys – his leader even taught us a few things about the history of pulleys on boats! A particular favourite in the biology area was the Tree and Plant Pollinator Game, which challenged the scouts to branch out and discover the brilliant world of plants and trees. During the week, in addition to a constant flow of scouts and guides we were host to various dignitaries, including local mayors and the UK Scouting Chief Commissioner. The demonstrators spent their evenings sampling the jamboree activities such as archery and microlighting.

What did families think?
More than 2,000 people in family groups visited our drop-in public events this year. We asked our visitors to give us their feedback, and collected 86 questionnaires representing the views of over 300 people. Half of the visitors considered themselves to be from a nonscientific background and visited museums only once a year or never at all. Many requested that we develop leaflets with experiments to try at home, and to bring activities for children younger than our current target age range. We were thrilled to find that 100% of our visitors said they would come to another CHaOS event if they had the chance to do so. Age distribution of our (non-adult) visitors:

The event was:



We learnt:


14% 8%

The experiments were:



We stayed for:

30 min 1h


6% 3h


under 5 5–7 8 – 10 11 – 14 over 14

Really good and informative - excellent work! Parent We enjoyed the enthusiastic explanations. Keep it up! Parent us in action before), but we will do our best to visit everyone! Planning for the 2014 roadshow is already in progress, and we are always looking for sponsors. If you are a part of, or know of, an organisation that could help provide CHaOS with the funding it needs to continue the roadshows, please get in touch at:

The Future...
We have shown consistently that the CHaOS model is a successful and cost effective way of communicating the relevance and excitement of science to the public. If you would like to host CHaOS in your school, town hall or community centre, please let us know. We always receive more requests for visits than we can fulfil each year (often from people who have seen

What did the demonstrators say?
their friends themselves!” “I enjoyed teaching really enthusiastic kids in a way that they found interesting.” “I enjoyed the outreach engagement with the public and meeting and working with “The best bit was seeing young people like-minded enthusiastic volunteers.” struck by the science ‘wow-factor’, and really wanting to understand how the Pleasingly, 100% of participants said experiments worked.” they had enjoyed the Roadshow and would participate in future CHaOS “[The best bit was] when a small group events. returned with friends and then taught

The 2013 student demonstrators were:
Alex Cole, Alex Davies, Alexander Nottingham, Alice Draper, Amelia Southgate, Anbreen Bi, Andrea Chlebikova, Andrew Norman, Anthony James, Anna Clark, Anna Kalorkoti, AnnMarie Kate Shorrocks, Benjamin Lai, Betheney Pennycook, Brett Abram, Caitlin Rosalind Mayes, Calin Cauacean, Catherine Bi, Cathy Collett, Charlotte Attwood, Chris Hardy, Claire Gomer, Dave Ansell, David Bebb, Dhaarini Raghunathan, Eleanor Brodie, Elizabeth Mooney, Ellie Thompson, Eowyn Elliott, Eve Rooks, Fiona LlewellynBeard, Gordon Frazer, Hamish Hei-Man Yeung, Hannah Wray, Heather White, Holly Davis, Jachym Sykora, Jack Gao, James Collins, Jamie Cranston, Jess Gorman, Joey Reiness, Jonathon Holland, Joseph Hooton, Kate Honzakova, Kathy Kennedy, Kaustuv Raj Joshi, Kym Neil, Laura Brooks, Le Qin Choo, Louis Longley, Lucy Garner, Malti Bipin Vaghela, Matthew Cole, Matthew Smith, Maggie Gisseleire, Max Bertrand, Maya Petek, Michael Lu, Mohammed Abdelaziz, Nelson Tang, Nunu Tao, Ophelia Crawford, Peter Maynes, Philip Garsed, Rachel Chapman, Raghd Rostom, Richard “Miffles” Mifsud, Richard Hall, Richard Ingham, Ridwan Farouki, Rosanna Wright, Ruth Wheatley, Sara Sjosten, Sarah Case, Sarah Wiseman, Sonja Dunbar, Supriya Gopinath, Susanne Marie Mesoy, Tamara Stojanovic, Tess Marshall, Tian Huang, Tom Taylor, Tosca Alexandra Griffin, Vamsee Bheemireddy, Victor Manisa, Will Benfold, Xue Wang, Yinglun Teng and Zara Boyd.

With many thanks to:
Sam Reed at St. Clere’s School, Nick Hyde and Vicky Wardle at St. Edward’s Church of England School, Alastair Baker at Bressingham Steam & Gardens, Steven Labedz at Admiral Lord Nelson School Business and Enterprise College, Martin Vugler at Hayling College, Jan Woolley at Bromsgrove District Council, Anna Jalowiecki in Tiddington, Lauren Hayes at Trinity School, Nathan Mountford at Campion School, Martyn Lilley at Coundon Court School, Alison Aydin at Banbury Town Council, Rachael Spindler at Didcot Town Council, Michael Darling at Flamingo Land and Nigel Smetham for organising our visit to KIJ. Many thanks to Rosie Sharkey and Trinity College, Cambridge University for helping to organise our school visits in Portsmouth, and also to the James family for their kind hospitality. Thanks to the rest of the CHaOS team in Cambridge and countless others who were involved in helping the CHaOS roadshow 2013 run smoothly. Finally, thanks to all of the school pupils and families who attended our events and made our efforts worthwhile with their enthusiasm and enjoyment.

A special thank you to these organisations for their financial support:

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