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Year 6 Change Project

Project:  The Immovable Object

Science topic: Forces

Participants: Year 5&6 pupils

Artist: Craig Dyson

The Change project is led by Mosaic and Batley Girls’ High School in partnership with other schools in Batley and Birstall. Since starting in 2012 it has become an annual project and follows a similar format each year – artists run workshops with schools groups to create artwork inspired by the theme of ‘change’, and all the work comes together in an exhibition at Batley Art Gallery in the summer.

This year, at Healey School, we are focusing on a particular aspect of Forces by looking at levers and pulleys and how they can increase the force applied to an object. We will be making pulley and lever systems much like those in the Road Runner cartoon (beep beep!) to demonstrate how seemingly impossible actions can occur with little effort. We were inspired by Road Runner because at first it just seems funny, but when you look carefully you see how much there is to learn from the scientific traps and kinetic machines that are made by The Road Runner’s arch enemy, Wile E:Coyote, in the cartoons. We are aiming to work together as a class to build a large pulley system that can lift a huge, immovable object such as an anvil or an elephant. Watch this space!

And so our involvement in Change 2017 begins! Some of us thought it was a scientific project and some thought it was an arts project but we were all right. We are mixing art with science to create an immovable object, but we have a trick up our sleeves – a simple machine that can move it. We met Craig, the artist we will be working with, and we learnt all about levers and pulleys, which are going to be very important when we make our final sculpture (the immovable object). We became real professors with names, forensic suits and notepads. We did lots of activities – coming up with some initial designs for the final piece, experimenting with levers like crow bars and claw hammers, and using pulleys to lift a heavy barrel of water. We even lifted three times our body weight by moving the fulcrum on a seesaw. We identified all the levers and pulleys around us – the winning team found 23 different ones. We didn’t realise how much science is all around us!

“I felt as though I couldn’t answer many questions at the beginning but at the end I felt like professor brains”

“I felt like a real scientist in my forensic suit”

“I couldn’t lift the heavy barrel but when I used a pulley it felt really light”

“I haven’t used pulleys before, they’re like magic!”

“I am designing the ultimate immovable object – the earth”

“The children were really enthusiastic and quickly immersed themselves in the practical activities based around work on pulleys and levers. The session really brought out the best in their thinking skills and it was fantastic to see them offering ideas and trying them out” (Mrs Wragg)

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