August pop-up science centre

These are the kind of high quality, durable exhibits that we want to have in our permanent centre

Thanks to the British Ecological Society we had visited 5 EYFS settings

to investigate rainforest food webs

From Monday 8th until Saturday 13th August, the brand new Create on the Square venue in Coronation Square was transformed into a pop-up science centre thanks to Cheltenham Science Group.


Throughout the week there was a permanent exhibition about rainforests. The British Ecological Society had funded visits to reception classes at Springbank Primary School, Dunalley Primary School and Northway Infants’ school last term where each school investigated a different rainforest and illustrated a food web. Dave also visited Giggles and Puddles nurseries. Visitors to the centre, helped finish our display by drawing pictures for a food web in Madagascar. The Tewkesbury Road Sainsbury's store supported this exhibition by providing a basket of Rainforest Alliance products that was raffled off during the week.

On Monday, we had to wait for the clouds to part so that Christine Beale from the Cotswold Astronomical Society could go outside and show us sun spots using a solar projector. The next day, Andrew Folliard and Brian Rawnsley from the Jet Age Museum challenged us to build paper aeroplanes but not just with paper! Using paper, straws and tape, the aeroplanes were able to load and unload cargo and still fly while weighted down. Richard Ellam also entertained visitors with his demonstrations about nothing. By creating a vacuum he made giant marshmallows! Unfortunately they shrunk down to tiny, hard sweets as soon as you let the air back in.

On Wednesday, we hosted the Bugatti Trust and the very popular OhBot the Robot. Children and grown-ups easily picked up how to programme the robot and get it to move and even tell jokes. The animals that Paul Carpenter from Life in the Rainforest brought with him on Thursday were fascinating, even to the super squeamish! ​To finish the week, Abigail Smith from Inspiring Families facilitated a spaghetti and marshmallows skyscraper building challenge and a bridge building competition.

More than 350 people visited the centre during the week and many families came more than once. Many shared their experiences on our Facebook page. Rachel Miles said, "Thanks to all involved in this fab group - my girls visited twice during the week and loved the activities on offer. They're already asking when they can come again!!" Sari Walker said that she and her two girls had a, "Great morning learning at Cheltenham Science Group." Lisa Hetherington said that “My 3 year old had lots of fun with you today. He enjoyed story time but I think his favourite activity had to be playing the bananas.”

Dave Watson, a founding director of Cheltenham Science Group said, “We have had a great week. We want to open a permanent science centre in Cheltenham and are interested in being part of the regeneration project that is happening in Coronation Square. This week was a test to see whether people would be able to find us. We are really pleased that we saw so many familiar faces who came to the area specifically to see us but also that we met many new, local families who had not previously engaged with science outside of school.”

Have a look at how our local paper, the Gloucestershire Echo, covered the event: