Wyche Innovation Centre, Walwyn Road, Malvern, WR13 6PL, UK

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An Experiment in a Park

A.P. Burden*

*Innovate Malvern CIC, Wyche Innovation Centre, Malvern WR13 6PL


We describe an experiment to enthuse children and their families about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) through the provision of a fun-packed day of activities in an outdoor venue in a small town in semi-rural England.

Past experiments over the previous two years have proven highly successful with crowds of residents enjoying fine weather and interactive exhibits [1].


Priory Park in Great Malvern has been booked from 10:30am to 4:30pm on Saturday 29th June 2019 to act as the pre-determined location for the event [2].

A collection of brightly coloured pop-up gazebos are erected around the venue, with additional feather flags, parasols and bunting to act as visual identifier of buzz and excitement. See Figure 1, illustrating a typical layout.

A number of organisations are placed within the gazebos, such as the Institute of Physics, The IET, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Earth Heritage Trust, Cancer Research UK, and Malvern Panalytical.  Each are equipped with hands-on exhibits, live demonstrations, and interesting science activities to enthuse passers-by.

Various objects such as inflatable dinosaurs, inflatable planets, and furry microbes are distributed around the park to form a series of interesting treasure hunts and trails.

The bandstand is fitted with a small public address system to enable science communicators to speak enthusiastically about their knowledge and experience with slightly amplified sound whilst using illustrative props and visuals.


Bubbles are blown, chemical solutions are mixed, rockets are fired, sunspots are observed, and robots are deployed.  Specimens are observed, geological samples are explained, and fossil nodules are opened.  Temperature and humidity are measured, solar power is generated, and oncology is discussed.

Stickers are collected in numerous laboratory notebooks as activities are completed, and stamps of achievement are provided as investigations are reported.

Picnics are eaten and solar rays are enjoyed whilst precipitation is avoided.


Free alfresco events like the one reported are really enjoyable days out for all the family.  The format encourages children to learn about science whilst breathing fresh air and even generating some vitamin D.  We believe these kinds of experiments will pave the way to securing a whole new generation of knowledgeable scientists and engineers.


The social enterprise Innovate Malvern CIC which organises the event acknowledges the kind financial support from its sponsors.


[1] “Experiments enthral youngsters at Science in the Park”, Malvern Gazette 3rd July 2018.

[2] See www.innovatemalvern.com/science-in-park for more information

Figure 1 

GeneralViewStands photo credit Ruaridh Macdonald