What’s in the Police Van?

1st September 2019 and it is the canal festival, which started as Cops on the Canal. It was potentially our 8th visit, but we missed a few, especially last year as we were trapped at the Kelpies. The Police part of the festival is really growing and this year I took some photos in the vans and photos of the speed cameras, now working with laser pulses.

Thanks to all the Police who shared information and their experiences, although I am not sure giving out certificates for the kids saying “I outran the Police” is sending the right image to all those potential criminals!


Tart Ma Cart

This is the start of the Tart Ma Cart material put together by Gregor Steele from SSERC and spread by Brian Redman. Thanks guys.

The pupil instructions are given in the sheet and are copied below.

Tart Ma Cart2

Tart Ma Cart Pupil Instructions

Style and Safety

You have probably seen TV shows where an ordinary car is fitted with an amazing body kit and a fancy stereo before being given a stunning paint job.

  • Your group’s task is to take an ordinary physics trolley and fit it with a bumper or crumple zone to make it safer in a collision. You can make it stylish, but safety is more important!
  • You will be given a choice of materials plus card and sticky tape.
  • Your design must be able to be fixed to the front of the test trolley with Blu-Tac.
  • It should not add more than 2 cm to the length of your trolley.
  • It must not have a large effect on the performance of the trolley.
  • Your design will be tested. The test will measure the deceleration of the vehicle in a head-on collision.

Do you think a large or small deceleration will be best in a collision? (Should the change of speed in the collision happen quickly or slowly?)

Tart Ma Cart

Tart Ma Cart teacherguide

Tart Ma Cart technicianguide

Updated materials

Thanks to Pete Monteith of Police Scotland a.k.a. Calculator Pete (as he still has his calculator from school, and in those days there was no direct algebraic logic) for these updated pdf files of the plans. He’s done so much behind the scenes for this project and so many people owe him so much. THANKS from Mrs Physics (who chucked out her school calculator last year as it was never used)

School pedestrian no dimensions

School pedestrian

School plan 2 cars

School plan no dimensions 2 cars


This is a great resource to test your driving without using a real granny!


2019 where did we go?

This post was titled 2017… It’s now 2019 and I’m heading to Brussels on Wednesday to celebrate 15th anniversary of the ERSC.

In 2018 I had the privilege of presenting our work at the Scottish Parliament.

Presenting our Resources to the Scottish Parliament

I am a little out of date, so ought to spend sometime catching up on where we’ve been with our Road Safety Project. I’ve been rather busy doing and had no time to get all these things up to date.

2017 continued to see our work displayed wider afield.

In January Mrs Physics took to Reading to be part of the ASE Conference as part of the Science on Stage UK delegation.

SSR September 2017, 99(366) 35

ASE schools exhibition The ASE Scotland Annual Conference 2017

ABSTRACT: Some impressions of the ASE Scotland Annual Conference 2017 from a teacher participant and exhibitor

After arriving at Harris Academy, Dundee, on Saturday 4 March 2017 in a downpour, the delightful and abundant cakes, pastries and coffee on offer at the Association for Science Education (ASE) Scotland Annual Conference were very welcome. Having set up our stand in the schools exhibition, I toured the other exhibits in the atrium. The stands were well presented and the people at each stand were knowledgeable and helpful. There was plenty of time to have really good individual conversations with people at the displays. Every hour or so the atrium emptied as everyone made their way to one of the many and varied workshops, covering all aspects of science and many giving inspirational ideas. Each of the workshops was well run, kicking off with ‘You’re never too young to be a research scientist’ by Professor Becky Parker MBE of the Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS), and ‘Creative science: explore the importance of creativity in the sciences’ with Christine Angus and Anna Danby of Dynamic Earth, and ending with ‘Book into Science! Encouraging children to read science for enjoyment’ and ‘Bangs, batteries and Barbie’ with Adrian Allan demonstrating how microscale chemistry techniques can be used to demonstrate chemical concepts. A Barbie doll was given a detox session in the interests of science education. There were plenty of goodies to go around and plenty of questions to ask. I attended two lectures run by the Perimeter Institute and representatives of the Institute of Physics. Both were really useful, totally linked to the curriculum, and the handouts were meaningful and detailed. To encourage participants to talk to people on the stands, each stand had a collection of stickers, which were given out to people who came and spoke to you. These were stuck to a sheet that went into a raffle with prizes supplied by some of the trade stands. Over lunch, there were more opportunities to discuss science teaching with friends, teachers and supporters. There was a constant buzz and chatter and you could tell that many were inspired by what they saw. By careful selection, you could create a programme of continuing professional development (CPD) that exactly met your needs and was relevant to the continually changing Scottish education system. A session later in the programme was given over to author Gill Arbuthnott, with me in tow, discussing how to get students to read science books for pleasure. We had previously given a presentation, together with Dr Ruth Jarman from Queen’s University Belfast, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and had learned a lot from each other, so Gill and I felt we had acquired the confidence to perform as a duo and had a real passion to get schoolchildren reading science books. I was influenced by the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize, which celebrates the best books that communicate science to young people. I was shocked when I found that most students I teach have never chosen to read a science book from a library or bookshop and, in fact, few realised such books were on offer. Ruth Jarman is co-director of Project 500, which aims to get children and young people excited about science and enthusiastic about reading. Through the project, students are encouraged to visit their local library to access its range of science resources. We have shared ideas and experiences and realise that we have good complementary skills. Gill Arbuthnott’s writing is inspirational in the classroom. It was therefore a privilege to share our experiences with a group of keen teachers and supporters who also had an interest in getting more students engaged with reading science books. We had taken a range of different books 36 SSR September 2017, 99(366) along, from science books for the very young to ones that conveyed difficult science concepts in a novel form, such as Lucy and Stephen Hawking’s George’s Secret Key to the Universe. Everyone I spoke to was keen to find out more and had wonderful ideas to share. It was a great chance to get some new ideas and to be able to look at things with a fresh eye. I think the only thing that surprised me was that it was not as well attended as expected. So many people had gone to so much trouble to prepare workshops and displays, it was a pity that more science teachers and their supporters had not come along. They missed a great day of worthwhile CPD. I certainly hope to be back next year. Mrs Physics teaches at Lockerbie Academy, an 11–18 state secondary school in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

Science on Stage Debrecen Hungary

Tuesday 27th June- 4th July 2017