At Your School

Lancing College

Lancing College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My name is Dr Simon Norris and I teach Chemistry at Lancing College. I am also Housemaster of Teme House. Two of my favourite things are cycling and talking about science.As The Cycling Scientist, I gave a number of talks to schools last year on The Science of Cycling using my bike (and accessories) as a travelling laboratory. If you would like me to visit your school on a mutually convenient afternoon and give a talk to some of your Year 5-7 students, contact me via Twitter (@cyclinscience) to set up a date.

I have found that the bike is a very useful device for explaining all sorts of science and maths topics including:

  • Chemistry: materials and their properties, elements and compounds, metals and non-metals, solids/liquids/gases, properties of gases, properties of CO2, composite materials
  • Physics: gears, friction: the good and the bad, how GPS works, how a fridge works
  • Maths/IT: how many gears do I actually have? Measuring distance travelled and speed, estimating pi
  • Environmental Issues: Sustainable transport, CO2 and global warming

The tried and tested session, which takes an hour and includes lots of practical demonstrations, is Save the Planet- Ride your Bike! This is essentially the science of carbon dioxide and other gases and it covers lots of interesting chemistry and physics and sets out to explain the environmental problems associated with burning fossil fuels and the benefits of riding your bike instead of using the car.

I am also happy to talk about cycling in the context of a fit and healthy lifestyle, my cycling exploits to date, The Tour de France, Cycling and the Olympics and anything else that can combine cycling with science.

I will be travelling fairly light but can bring everything I need for the demonstrations. I might ask that you provide some simple everyday materials if you want the children to take part in the practical activities. Otherwise, all I need from your school in preparation would be a context for my discussion and any specific topics you would like covered, Class size, Age range (preferably  Year 5-7). My range is approximately 30 miles from Lancing if I am cycling the whole way. However, I am happy to use the train with my bike to increase my range.

Last year I cycled to Paris for a local charity and earlier this year I visited China to give some Cycling Scientist  talks at Wellington Tianjin as part of their Festival of Education. On my travels, I have discovered a great deal about the science and economics of cycling. Therefore, I will have lots of stories to inspire the kids to get on their bikes.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Dr Simon Norris aka The Cycling Scientist

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