Brighton Science Festival

Pocket Science Festival

“A bundle of fun and excitement. What a way to learn science!”

“Victor Meldrew meets Basil Fawlty. A real entertainer, making poignant observations with style!”
It looks like a funfair. It IS a funfair, but there’s a nugget of science snuck into every game and demonstration. Using a wealth of hands-on activities – from Splat The Rat to the Incredible Machine – The Pocket Science Festival fosters learning and co-operation whilst inspiring young minds with the everyday wonders of science.

Created by science magicians Richard Robinson (director of Brighton Science Festival) and Jonathan Hare (BBC’s Rough Science), this self-contained educational roadshow has been roaming Sussex and beyond for the last ten years. It has evolved into a versatile creature, easily adapted to different environments from school halls to community centres and festivals.

• Suitable for children aged 7-14 and their families
• Covers curriculum topics up to and including Key Stage 3
• Available as an all-day funfair or individual 1 hr sessions
• For bookings contact
CLICK HERE to view quotes from participants



Both Jonathan and Richard have a series of talks which can be chosen as a pop-up feature of the fair. Richard’s talks (see here) are suitable for ages 7+, while Jonathan’s (see here) delve deeper into KS3 and beyond.



The Pocket Science Festival also visits schools and youth clubs, and can be combined with one of our Jonathan and Richard’s workshops (see here).



The full Pocket Science Festival experience is set out like a funfair. Pick ‘n’ Mix your choice of stalls from the following:

seagull_round2 Angry Gulls
How do seagulls manage to hit their targets so accurately? Learn about the wonders of vectors in a live seagull poo simulator. Not involving live seagulls.
round_template_voice_litebeam Voice on a Light Beam
Put a voice on a beam of light and transmit it over a distance. Sounds like magic? Actually, it’s the future of telecommunications.
moog_web1 Moog – Sound Simulations
Use capacitors and resistors to put together a synthesiser, and find out the scientific basis behind electronic music.
bashtherat Bash the Rat
Find out about gravity and forces. The rats slither down the diagonal tube is affected by friction, its weight and the angle of the tube.
The Incredible Machine
Build a machine to send a signal around the room. A great test of creativity, observation, ingenuity and team-work. Explores energy, friction, mass, speed, momentum, levers, pulleys, etc. Watch the Incredible Machine in action on YouTube.
cakeguess Guess the Weight of the Cake
Cakes of different size and density (some plasticine, some inflatable, etc) are arranged in order of weight. Tests our ability to judge weight, density, volume and area.
spaghettitower Spaghetti Towers
Build the tallest tower, using only spaghetti and marshmallows. Basic engineering, using triangles.
marblerun Marble Runs
How slowly can you make a marble travel 18 inches. Use slopes and friction to slow it down.
brainbox Brainbox Electronic Kits
Try your hand at making simple electronic circuits to create a fire alarm, a helicopter, a buzzer and more.
tangram Tangrams
Can you make a rabbit from a collection of shapes? What about a cat… or a house? Use your imagination and problem solving skills in this ancient Chinese game.
microscope Microscopes
So you think you’re familiar with your surroundings? Take a closer look and you might surprise yourself.
dadinabin Dad in a Bin
Dump the parents in the trash with this clever perspective trick and a take-home souvenir.
pin_donkey Pin the Tail on the Donkey
Put your mental map-making skills to the test and how the mind works.
bigfrog Make a Frog Call
How can you mimic a frog with just a plastic cup and a cable tie? Find out and discover just what sound is.
lavalamp Lava Lamp
A make-it-yourself ‘lava’ lamp for your bedroom made from lemonade and raisins. Just what is it that makes things rise and fall?
bottlediver Deep Sea Diver
With simple materials, use pressure and density to make the swimmer dive and swim up to the surface again.
eggdrop Egg Drop Challenge
Drop an egg from 3m high… without it breaking! Will you build a parachute, a crumple zone or a shock absorber? Invites imaginative use of materials.
beans How Many Beans in the Jar?
The use of rough approximations makes this and other mathematical questions easy to answer… roughly!
humanfruit Human Fruit Machine
Three people and three bags containing three fruits make a simple but effective fruit machine. They reach into their bags and pull out a fruit. What are the chances that they are all the same? How should the game pay out to get the best crowds and the best profit?
paperplane Paper Darts
Build a dart which can fly straight through a tyre.
balancingtoy Balancing Toys
Find out about centres of gravity while you make them.
pingpongball Floating Ping-Pong Ball
Experience first hand ‘The Bernoulli Effect’.
cardtricks Card Tricks
Simple maths-based tricks.
rotor_straws Rotor
Made from drinking straws, using Newton’s third law of motion.
nim_stones New Board Games
Simple but ingenious strategy games – e.g. ‘Nim’.
bridgebuilding Bridge Building
Construct a bridge to span a gap and take the greatest weight, using only paper and sellotape. Experience stress, but only in the mechanical sense.
colourseparation Colour Separation
Use chromatography to separate the component colours of green, orange, brown or black ink.
icecream I Scream!
Make ice cream from ice and salt, using latent heat.
design_human Redesign a human
What improvements would you make? Discover evolution and evolve some of your own creatures on paper.
taste Taste and smell tests
Can you identify things blindfolded, just by their smell?