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Summer Holiday Programme

Period: 29 June - 2 August 2020

Summer Holidays at last!

We hope you have enjoyed all the topics we provided over the past 12+ weeks during your homeschooling time. Although they were not actual school work we hope there was something there for everyone to have some fun and learn a few new facts about the world around us.

Which week was your favourite? We loved Space Week and Weather Week!

We also had so many fantastic competition entries! Thank you to everyone for taking part. 

We are sure you are all happy that school lessons are done for the summer. We know that going away on holiday this year might not be possible so we thought we would try to find some nature-based activities for you all to do either in your gardens, at the beach or in the park. The weather is a bit wet this week, but we have a few things for you to do to get ready and to prepare for the next few weeks.

Please don’t forget to have a look back over the past weeks and see if there are any of the activities you may not have tried as you were too busy with school work. Did you make a nature showcase? Did you try identifying any of the birds in your garden? What about the pitfall trap - did you catch any bugs? Did you record the weather and work out what cloud formations were around at the time? If not you can still do that!

Important!: One very exciting thing happening this week is that Dundee Science Centre is 20 years old! How exciting is that! We were hoping to be having a wonderful celebration with you all, but as we are still closed, this can not happen, but we still would love you to be involved - so watch this space later this week!
Rock Pools
Children Playing
20th Birthday Party



Nature Notebook

To get the holiday activities started we would like you to make a nature notebook to use with some of the other activities we have planned for you all.

We are sure it will come in handy when you are out and about.

Once you have made your notebook have a read of How To Watch Wildlife (The Scottish Wildlife Trust) about how to be a nature detective and become really good at observing the plants and wildlife around you.

We would love you to bring your notebooks to the science centre once we are open again to show us what you found throughout the next few weeks.

Did you make a bug hotel last month? If so have you seen any little creepy crawlies heading in and out? if you did take some quiet time around the hotel and see what is living there. Record your findings and maybe draw the bugs or take a photograph.

Throughout the holiday weeks here are some of the other things we hope you will have fun doing.

  1. Go rock pooling and record your findings.
  2. Gather wildflowers and press them to make pictures.
  3. Make a hedgehog house for the autumn when the hedgehogs hibernate.
  4. Weave a garland with leaves and flowers - very handy if it is your Mum or your Granny's birthday soon.
  5. Collect flower seeds and give them as gifts.
  6. Use your nature notebook throughout the summer to record the bugs, flowers and leaves you find.

Here is a slightly different nature notebook to make with the Natural History Museum.

Hoverfly (Credits The Scottish Wildlife Trust)
How To Watch Wildlife (The Scottish Wildlife Trust)
Nature Notebook Activity Worksheet
Nature Notebook Activity Worksheet (PDF)

Dundee Science Centre 20 Years Anniversary

During July we are celebrating our 20th birthday having had over 1 million visitors to the centre!

We've hosted lots of travelling exhibitions from creepy crawlies to dinosaurs, celebrated YOUR birthday with our children's birthday parties and we've hosted lots of different events from Festival take over days to school events. There have been lots of great exhibits along the way from the gyroscope to the giant head which children still play in, to this day.

We've recently seen our upstairs exhibition transformed into Medical Marvels showcasing Dundee's medical history and we can't wait to see what the next few years bring with the redevelopment of our downstairs exhibition now! From being the only building in the Greenmarket to now one of many there has been a lot of positive change and although we can not have you in the centre to celebrate with us, we are looking forward to seeing you all soon.

20 Years Anniversary Competition

We are so excited to be celebrating our 20th Birthday today.

Sadly it is not possible to share this amazing day with you all in person at the centre, so we are instead asking you to design us a birthday card or birthday poster.

All the entries will be displayed at the centre but the winner is in for a fantastic treat!

First Prize for the best birthday design with be the chance to book a free birthday party for up to 10 people when we are open again!

How exciting is that!

Get your pencils and pens and paints out and come up with the best design you can. Think about everything you have done over the past 13 weeks or so - or perhaps a workshop you have attended on a school visit will inspire you.

Whatever it is get busy with your paper and pens and your creativity and send us a photograph of what you have made.

Please send your entry in before next Wednesday the 8 July 2020 for a chance to win this amazing prize!

Enter Birthday Competition

Note: The full set of rules are available (see Competition of the Week Rules for full details).

Birthday Fireworks

Who Shares Our Birthday?

Can you think of anyone who shares a birthday with us!

Do some research and see what you find out!

We discovered that there are actually quite a lot of famous astrophysicists and pharmacists and wonderful engineers who have discovered and invented all sorts of exciting things over the years that were born on the 1st July, so we are actually standing on the shoulders of giants!

During Flight Week we discovered how human flight began and just how much science was required to defy gravity. This was an exciting time and being the first person to do anything takes a great deal of courage and determination, and for this reason, our absolute favourite has to be Amy Johnson - a pilot and an engineer!

Amy Johnson was a pioneering British female aviator who first achieved fame as a result of her attempt (1930) to set a record for a solo flight from London to Darwin, Australia, although she missed that record by three days. She took up flying in 1928, and also showed talent for mechanics. By 1930 she had qualified as both a pilot and a ground engineer. Flying a De Havilland Moth, Johnson set out to beat Bert Hinkler's record for flying to Australia. Though she did not beat the record, she made it to Australia, and was given a hero's welcome. She was the first woman to make the trip. The Daily Mail gave her a £10,000 prize.

Johnson made other long-distance flights. While on a flying mission for the Air Ministry, on the 5 January 1941, she disappeared over the Thames estuary.

Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson British Aviator

Beach Fun!

Welcome to a week of beach fun!

Everyone loves a visit to the beach - but rather than just going for a walk we would like you to have a good look around and perhaps find out about what is happening when the tide goes out!

Looking in the rock pools is both interesting and exciting!

The Wildlife Trusts provided help on Where To See Rockpool Wildlife.

Now learn more by watching this video.

We would like you to use your nature journal that you made last week and draw or photograph what you see.

You may be lucky enough to spot a sea anemone - they are the most amazing sea creatures and can often be seen in rock pools due to their bright colours.

Or maybe a star fish - they are exciting to find. What do you know about star fish?

At Dundee Science Centre we really love sea weed - do you know how many different kinds of sea weed there are?

When you are at the beach and the tide is out we would like you to see how many different ones you can spot!

Fun Activity: Look at the photos on the Rock Pooling Activity Worksheet - we found them all. Please take photos or draw what you have found and add it to your nature notebook. Remember we want to see them all at the end of the summer.

We will also have a prize for the best sea weed photo or drawing.

Enter Your Photographs

You can learn more about marine habitats on the Scottish Natural Heritage web site,

Teachers Survey Time!

Win a fun and exciting class trip to Dundee Science Centre once we reopen!

We want to invite you to participate in our 2 minute Teachers' Home Learning Programme Online Survey to provide us with feedback about our programmes and how we can help in the future.

Terms and Conditions:

  • Travel to the centre not included, however do get in touch as there may be funding available if your school is eligible.
  • All admission costs covered for your class pupils and teachers, parent helpers.
  • Goody bags for each child.
  • This prize can only be used once and will be valid for 12 months from the date Dundee Science Centre reopens (due to COVID-19, this date is yet to be determined and will be continuously monitored).
  • Information about School Visits can be found on our Primary School Visits page.

Thank you for your help and good luck!

Start Teachers' Survey
Just 2 Minutes To Complete

Celebrating Our Home Learning Programme

Enjoy a compilation of our Home Learning Programme at the Dundee Science Centre - you may be able to spot yourself if you took part!


Shells and Seaweed

We hope you are all set to go rock pooling or maybe you have already been?

We found lots of different shells and have provided you with an identification sheet to get you started.

Fun Activity: Take photos of the shells you spot and let us know if you find any different ones. If you are lucky, you might find a sea potato or a common limpet. Collect as many different ones as you can and make a picture or add them to your nature display.

Send Your Photographs

There are lots and lots of different kinds of seaweed on the beach - it can also be found in sea lochs around Scotland.

What is Kelp?

Kelp is a large brown seaweed that you will often see washed up on the beach. This seaweed lives in what is known as Kelp beds and they provide food and shelter for many marine animals. When there is a thick kelp bed underwater there will usually be a rock formation under and around the bed and in there will live sea anemones and little fish and sponges. It is thought that they can provide a home for as many as 70 different species!

Kelp is so important that it is protected in 17 locations around Scotland. So although it seems like slippy sludge on the beach it has actually been doing an amazing job in the sea.

Learn more by watching this video.

Virtual Dives - Kelp Forests and Harbour Seals in the Sound of Barra

There are some edible seaweeds that apparently taste like cabbage - if a little salty. We do not plan to find out!

Don't forget to let us know if you spot any different seaweeds.

When you lift up the seaweed you will perhaps see little jumping creatures - these are sand hoppers. They will jump fast and high to get away from you.

Keep an eye out to sea when you are at the beach as there have been swordfish spotted off the coast at Portobello (Edinburgh) and there is a pod of whales swimming off Shetland at the moment.

We know there are dolphins in the Tay Estuary but keep a lookout for anything else there is plenty going on in our seas at the moment!

Lastly don't forget to watch this video about this unusual Scottish sheep!

Why These Scottish Sheep Eat Seaweed?

Wildflowers and Nature Photography

Did you have fun in the rock pools last week? Hopefully, you will have lots of drawings in your nature notebook of the wonderful things you found on the beach - we love the beach even when the weather is not so good!

Now that your shoes are empty of sand, we thought that this week we would suggest a walk in the park or even into the countryside; now that we are allowed to travel a little further.

So this week is all about wildflowers and we have a great competition!

There are lots of lovely wildflowers around in the parks and grass verges. There has been less grass cutting in our communities, due to lockdown period, so we thought it would be nice to have a closer look at what has appeared.

Watch this video to learn how to recognise common wildflowers.

12 Spring Wildflowers You Should Know

The Wild Things web site also has a lovely Flower Fun worksheet to do.

We all know about dandelions and buttercups but there are many more. The lovely part is if you look really closely at the petals you will be amazed at the detail and the colours.

It is often said that we should give over part of our garden to wildflowers to attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators. We tried to photograph some bumblebees and butterflies on the flowers and had mixed results - you have to be very patient. Remember we gave you a link to learn how to watch wildlife - have a quick look over to remind yourself.

Did you build an insect hotel in Spring Week? If so maybe you have some bees resting up there!

Fun Activity: We have made a Wildflowers Activity Sheet (PDF) for you to print or download on your tablet/phone so that you can take with you when you are out and about. How many of these can you find? If you find something different take a photo and send us a photograph.

Take your nature notebook and collect some flower petals as we are going to press them and make pictures and frames from them later in the week.

Perhaps you are saving this activity for the weekend - thats perfect you can do everything at once!

Competition Time: The competition this week is for the best nature photograph. We will extend the deadline so you can all take your time to find what you want to photograph and when.

Now you do not need a fancy camera to take your photo - you can borrow your grownups phone for it or even a tablet.

We cannot wait to see how you get on - enter as many times as you like.

Send Your Photographs

If you need some inspiration try watching these videos.

12 Spring Wildflowers You Should Know
Top 12 Wildflowers For Children
Wildflowers Activity Sheet
Wildflowers Activity Sheet (PDF)
Flower Fun Activity Worksheet
Flower Fun (PDF)
Nature Photograph Sample
Sample Nature Photograph (taken with phone)
Nature Photograph Sample
Sample Nature Photograph (taken with phone)
Who Can You Spot In The Photo?

Tips and Tricks for the Photography Competition

Today we are providing you with a list of tips and tricks to take better photos for our "Nature" photography competition.

Remember: If you have any questions about any of these tips or tricks (or you would like to send your own tip) please just Contact Us.

Example 1 - Tips and Tricks Sample

Tip: This photo would have been better if I had lowered myself down to be more level with the Swan.
Example 2 - Tips and Tricks Sample

Tip: Oops - forgot about the shadow (select Enlarge to see what I mean)!
Example 3 - Tips and Tricks Sample

Tip: The focus on this one was really lucky as you can see the water pooling in the petals.
Example 4 - Tips and Tricks Sample

Tip: Being able to zoom in once you have taken the photo and see the detail on the little hover-fly was lovely!
Example 5 - Tips and Tricks Sample

Tip: Sometimes you manage to draw the focus onto the area you want and sometimes not - we took five photos before this one!
Example 6 - Tips and Tricks Sample

Tip: A real photographer told us once that the best way to take a photo of any animal pet or otherwise is to try to be on eye-level - this one is close!
Competition Time: The competition this week is for the best nature photograph. We will extend the deadline so you can all take your time to find what you want to photograph and when.

We cannot wait to see how you get on.

Remember that you can enter as many times as you like!

Flower Pressing

Have a go at pressing some flowers - you may have them in your garden that would be suitable. Leaves are lovely too.

Follow the instructions from the Natural History Museum, and then when they are dried, you can make cards and pictures.

See our Pressed Flower Pictures activity sheet for instructions.

How to press flowers | Natural History Museum

We did some at the start of lockdown and we made a lovely card (see Spring Week and Earth Week).

Have a look at the Woodland Trusts' Woodland Wildflowers information for some inspiration.

To ensure that there are plenty of bees and butterflies check out the Wildlife Watch's Grow A Bee and Butterfly Garden and How To Grow A Wild Patch suggestions.

Super Week!

Welcome to Super Week! This week is all about being super.

We all love the superhero films and the amazing gadgets and powers they have but it is important to remember that everyone has their own super powers whether it is being great at looking after your pets or being good at sport.

Being super is about being the very best version of yourself and trying your hardest to be a good person and being good and kind to others.

There are many people in our community who have been amazing superheroes over the past few months of lockdown. The doctors and nurses and the delivery drivers and the shop workers and all the people who have worked hard to support us through the pandemic. What about the grownups who have helped us with our schoolwork at home when the schools were closed. So many superheroes around us!

Let's think about the movie type superhero - did you watch the films with Tony Stark inventing an amazing suit that allowed him to protect the world by transforming him into Ironman?

He was able to use jet propulsion to defy gravity and fly to his missions - and away from his enemies.

So much of that technology is very much in the imagination of the creators but the more we learn and explore and invent the more chance we have of building something amazing like Richard Browning - he is a superhero engineer!

Remember during Flight Week we looked at the history of human flight - well Richard has taken it to another level after spending time with his Dad, who was an aeronautical engineer and shared his passion for flight!

Richard will tell you that his successes are due to his deep interest and passion for all areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). His drive and enthusiasm have resulted in some exciting inventions!

Watch these videos to learn more.

60 Seconds Introduction
Learn More Gravity Industies
Fun Activity: Why not design your own superhero or make your own superhero mask! Look at the CBC Kids Super Hero Mask templates for ideas or draw your own from scratch! Don't forget to send us a photo of your efforts.

Send Us Your Photographs
Reminder: How are you getting on with your nature photography? Remember to take your time and find the right time and place and you will do really well.
Fictional Iron Man Suiting Up
How Gravity Built the World's Fastest Jet Suit
CBC Kids - Make Your Own Super Mask
CBC Kids Make Your Own Super Mask!

Super Fit

On Tuesday we were thinking about superheroes and how we can all be a superhero in our actions and deeds and we also found out that studying STEM subjects at school could lead to all sorts of exciting careers.

Today we are focusing on being super fit and just how fast a human can run and a bird can fly and an animal can run and of course what about aeroplanes and space rockets?

Have a look at the activity sheet and see if you can find out how fast everything on the list can travel (in miles per hour).

We had a race at the Dundee Science Centre to see how long it took us to run 50 meters - we were not brave enough to try 100 meters.

How about trying out to see how fast you can run - practice for a while and get your best time.

To start you will need to measure the distance you are going to run. You need a start and a finish - perhaps you could mark the positions with chalk or a some sticks.

Ask someone to help you with a timer - most mobile phones have stopwatches on them. Practice to get your best time and then challenge your family and friends to a race! (Check first that you are allowed to do this according to the current guidelines on social groups.)

Let us know your times!

We managed 13 seconds! How did you get on?

Now watch the video on how the fastest humans on earth at the moment train and how scientists are trying to perfect techniques to work out just how fast humans can run if the conditions are optimal. Its quite a long video - about 15 minutes but it is really good!

Why It's Almost Impossible to Run 100 Meters In 9 Seconds | WIRED
Interesting Fact: Did you enjoy Weather Week? We found out lots about different types of weather then but have you every wondered why you see lightening first then the thunder. This is another great fact to amaze your family with!

Question: Lightening and Thunder occur at exactly the same time - so why do we see lightening first?

Answer: Light travels faster than sound - light travels at 300,000,000 m/s whereas sound travels at 340 m/s so therefore the light gets to us much quicker!

Watch these videos to find out the fastest birds on the planet and the fastest animals.

Fun Activity: Now you have learnt more about how fast some animals can run why not try filling out our As Fast As quiz and see how many you remember... You might need to ask a friend or family member to help answer some of the questions! Let us know how you get on!

See you on Tuesday!

As Fast As... Quiz
As Fast As Quiz (PDF)
5 Fastest Birds in the World
10 Fastest Runners in the World"

Virtual Visit To Medical Marvels Exhibit

We hope you are all having a lovely summer holiday.

We realise that most people are not able to travel far this year and normally on a rainy day in the holidays you would head down to the Dundee Science Centre to spend the day checking out our exhibits and maybe enjoying a workshop.

We are missing you all too, and we thought we would try to help by showing you this fantastic video that Laura made for us.

Watch as Laura is taking us through the Medical Marvels Exhibit.

YouTube Video: Medical Virtual Tour

Have you been before? Did you enjoy it? Don't forget to tell us what your favourite part is.

We hope you enjoy this video tour of one of our favourite exhibits!

Reminder: Don't forget to checkout Body Bits Week and see how much you remember.

Medical Myths and Mysteries

Did you like seeing our virtual tour of our Medical Marvels exhibition?

Today, we are bringing back one of our favourite family shows, Medical Myths and Mysteries! We'll be going back in time to the Middle Ages and travelling all the way back to present day, taking a peek how terrible diseases were cured back then and how medicine has changed along the way.

Can you imagine how different the UK would be back in the Middle Ages? How different do you think medical technology was compared to the stuff you saw in our Medical Marvels exhibition?

Join us and find out the gruesome history of medicine, we'll learn a little bit about what Milk Leg is, how herd immunity works, and if there really is a benefit of sniffing up scabs?

Medical Myths Video

Reminder - We Will Be Back on Tuesday

Remember now that it is the summer holidays we will be publishing new content on Tuesday and Thursday each week.

If you would like to keep up-to-date, please Subscribe To Our Newsletter.

If it is wet outside remember there are lots of indoor activities in our previous weeks' topics that you can try.

We hope you have an exciting weekend and see you back here on Tuesday!


Reminder: We've been missing putting on our Early Explorers programme for 3-5 year olds in the centre and so we're really excited to share with you our EarlyExplorers@Home videos which are tailored all for the little ones.

Photograph of Space Week Competition Entry
Space Week Competition Entry

Also see our other Home Learning Topics information and our Learning Resources.

If you have enjoyed these activities please share them with your friends and family.