Surrey Explorers

Archives : previous events

All meetings are held in the Department of Education at Kingston University (near the Robin Hood roundabout on the A3) at 2:30pm unless otherwise indicated.

Autumn 1999

18th September 1999 "Museum of Me"

Meet at 2.30pm at the Barge House, OXO Tower Wharf, Barge House St, London SE1.

Subs waived; Free to get in.

If you don't recognise anyone, look for people wearing the Explorers web sticker. Below is a write-up by Lydia Conway of the "Evening Standard".

... After signing our names on the wall, we set about filling our "Me cans" (sort of fake bean cans with us as the ingredients with bits of information about ourselves - age, height, shoe size, piece of material that best described us, favourite number etc. The museum challenges both how we think about ourselves and how we think about museums. For example, when the children walked through a velvet curtained room and into a spotlight, the sound of applause played. Watch how they behave. Mine smiled, bowed and played up to the audience. We hid our darkest secrets in a bottle, tied our favourite dreams to a balloon, drew self portraits on the blackboard, plotted our homes on a map, described our journey here, recorded the event today in a diary and sent our messages to the world. Children love being the centre of attention and for an intense exhausting and fascinating two hours they certainly were...

2nd October 1999 "Origami, Kung Fu, Tai Chi"

This afternoon will have something for every one. Kasumi Brooker has kindly offered to teach the children how to do some simple origami models. In the meantime, if the children get frustrated with the intricacies of Japanese paper folding, John-Joe O'Reilly will teach some basic moves of Kung-Fu and Tai-Chi relaxation techniques. John-Joe is a third degree black-belt, qualified and insured instructor, and what's more he is a fully qualified paramedic so we are in safe hands!

16th October 1999 "How to trace your family tree"

Bring your birth certificates and we will show you how to start tracing your family tree. Gill Robinson, our branch contact, has a certificate in Genealogy and History of the family. Paul Robinson, our treasurer, has years of practical experience in tracing family trees and they are here to help you do the same for your family.

We will also have a structural engineering competition to see who can support a raw egg in mid air using raw spaghetti. A fellow of the Institute of Civil Engineering will come along to give advice and judge.

6th November 1999 "Mythological creatures in paintings at the National Art Gallery"

Meet at 2.15pm at the Orange St. entrance of the National Art Gallery.

This was an extremely popular event so we are doing it again. This is at the back of the building. We will be given a guided tour on the subject above. If it is as good as the last time, we are in for a treat. Again, if you don't recognise anyone, look for the Explorers web sticker.

20th November 1999 "Martin's Mystical Science Extravaganza"

Over the years we have had astronauts, astronmers, zoologists. Today is another interactive science event that should not be missed!!!! We may also have something very important to tell you all about science activities in the future.

Spring 2000

15th January 2000 "Cabinet War Rooms"

Meet outside at 2.15pm for the visit due to start at 2.30pm

Admission charges are: Children under 16 free, groups of 10 or more adults £3.40 each. Given the parental expense, the club has decided to waive the subs for this week.

Look for the "jump to it" stickers. The entrance is on Horse Guards Road (at the corner of King Charles Street). Nearest tube stations Westminster and St James's Park (5 mins) or Charing Cross (10 mins) Buses 3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 77, 88 and 109 to Whitehall (3 mins walk). "All bags are checked at the entrance and it is considerably quicker if they can be left behind".

29th January 2000 "Talk on Emotional Intelligence" --AND-- "Japanese Culture Activity"

Alan Jensen a child psychologist, whom some of you may already know from his previous visits to talk about dyslexia, will talk about a different form of intelligence, EQ. This is the ability to manage feelings so that they are expressed appropriately and effectively. Although it is even more difficult to describe and quantify than IQ it obviously has a direct impact on the well-being of our children. It will be an interactive talk and so should be fun.

As an alternative activity for the children, Patrick Dunne will be organising an exploration of Japanese Culture based on his recent trips to Japan.

12th February 2000 "Beanies and Bugs"

Why not sew and make your own Beanie and Bug Puppets and give them to your Valentine! Led by Gill Woolland, if there are any other budding sewing parents out there that want to help, please turn up. In addition, Jill Robinson will be present to show the latest Dorling Kindersley products and to announce the winner of the best web write-up.

4th March 2000 "Hot Magnets - Goodness Gracious Great Balls of Fire!"

Why don't hot magnets work? Why do cool ones work really well! What is temperature anyway?

Dr Michael de Podesta, a Physics Lecturer from University College London is going to talk and show lots of things that you didn't know about magnets. If you want a taste of what's to come, look up his web site:

18th March 2000 "Meet the Dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum"

Meet at 2.15pm just inside the front doors, look for the "jump to it" stickers.

Admission for children is free, for adults is £6.50. Again, given the parental expense, the club has decided to waive the subs for this week.

Come and see the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum. If you haven't already done so, it is a magnificent display.

1st April 2000 "How to set up a business" --AND-- "Earthsong - World Music workshop"

Two very different activities, A member of 3I, the largest UK Venture Capital company will talk about how you budding entrepreneurs can get your business off the ground. Bring along your business plans.

This term we will go out with a bang. This workshop will be an opportunity to see, hear, find out about and gain hands on experience of a wide variety of unusual instruments from many countries and cultures. Didgeridoos, Djembe drums, rainsticks, panpipes and all kinds of drums, bells, shakers, wind instruments both ethnic and modern from all over the world. Absolutely no experience necessary, suitable for all ages. This session cost 100pounds to book so please come along and make it a success.

Summer 2000

6th May 2000 "Emotional Intelligence Part II"

Alan Jensen will be chairing a discussion based on the presentation he made to us last term. (See the last newsletter). Alan will give a brief 30 minute summary on the concept and then we will have a free form discussion about how this applies to the children of the Explorers club.

20th May 2000 "Dirty Little Grots" - Nower Wood - NOTE THE EARLY TIME!

Find out what goes on beneath your feet - soil structure and mini-beasts galore at the Surrey Wildlife Trust, Nower Wood (click for a map). Meet up the steps from the car-park at the field centre at 10am. Remember to wear long sleeves and trousers. This is the countryside! The whole outing should last about two hours.

10th June 2000 "Genes, Proteins and Computers" and AGM

Dr. Andrew Martin from The University of Reading will tell us about what our bodies are made of, how our DNA is copied, how proteins are made and how computers help with the human genome mapping project. There will be lots of games to play including the transcription game and the translation game!

During the meeting we will also hold our Kingston Explorers Annual General Meeting. Come along and have your say in how the club is run.

24th June 2000 "D'Oh"

Play-Dough, Salt-Dough, Bread-Dough, an afternoon of dough modelling to create your favourite cartoon characters or whatever you want and take home to keep. Gill Wolland who made such a splendid event with the beanie doll making last term will be teaching the children how to make their own dough models. We will also have clay available for the more ambitious child.

15th July 2000 "Summer Pot Luck Party!" - Nonsuch Park, Cheam

Many parents have asked if we could do a simple party so hopefully this will fit the bill. Please meet at 2pm at the picnic area (a dog free area) in Nonsuch Park in Cheam (click for map). Please bring along something for the picnic for us all to share and later we will be taught some folk dancing from a number of nationalities. I'm sure we could have a game of football or two as well if we want! Subs will be waived for this session. (Note the change of venue - not Richmond Park as previously advertised!)

Autumn 2000

23rd September 2000 "Orienteering" - Tanner's Hatch YHA

Here's a chance to combine brain and brawn to see if you can navigate your way around one of Surrey's most beautiful areas. Meet at 2.30pm and bring your compasses Explorers! For directions, see the map overleaf

7th October 2000 "Baroque to Rock"

Five music teachers will be coming with drum kits, guitars and all sorts to play music through the ages. There will be musical questions and plenty of fun. This is a paid activity and, although we acquired a music grant for the activity, we will be out of pocket if there is a low turnout.

We will also have an informal parental discussion that will cover the subject of "What is Giftedness"

14th October 2000 "NAGC AGM and Family Day; Newton Prep, Battersea Park, London."

Children's events include: Chemical Concoctions, Geometry in Art, Palaeontology and Evolution.

Afternoon parent's events include: Getting the Best Help from your School, Tackling the Teenage Years, Specific Learning Difficulties. Sorry I have no times but they call it a "Family Day".

4th November 2000 "Craft Workshop"

It's time to get those sorcerers sewing, magicians modelling and children creating in the latest Explorer's club craft workshop.

18th November 2000 "Kew Bridge Steam Museum"

N.B. The date of this event is the 18th November NOT the 8th as stated in the newsletter!

This is possibly the best day in the year to go to the museum, they are having the largest model railway exhibition from 16mm gauge to garden size models. 4/adult, 2/child (aged 5-15). Subs waived.

Please meet at 2.30pm in front of the main entrance.

2nd December 2000 "Bones R Us and Christmas Party"

Dr Richard Oreffo of "University Orthopaedics, Southampton University" will spend an hour talking about bones. This should be of interest to any budding doctors or biologists but I hope you aren't squeamish about handling bones! We will also have a Christmas party after Richard's activity.

Spring 2001

20th January 2001 "Schultz's Sinister Shenanigans"

Here's a chance try out your acting and detective work. Two groups of Explorers will perform two separate plays of whodunit murders in New York. Each will try to solve the other groups murder. This will be more appropriate for the older children aged 9 and upward. Make sure you dress for the Bronx: sharp suits, macs and trilbies are the order of the day.

10th February 2001 "Weaving"

In this term's explorer's club craft workshop, we are going to explore weaving. There will be a variety of activities for all abilities and hopefully everyone will create something to take home.

3rd March 2001 "Imperial War Museum"

Join us at this excellent museum which covers all aspects of war in the twentieth century. There is a reconstruction of the pre-war suburban semi which stars in the Channel 4 series, The 1940's House. Adults 5.50, children free. Subs waived.

Please meet at 2.30pm under the arches by the entrance. See the IWM map. We may be able to make a group booking including a 2 discount per adult. Phone Paul or Gill before January 31st. Excellent web site:

17th March 2001 "Gaelic Story Telling"

Gavin Henderson, Head of English at Twyford High School will share some of his experiences in verbal story telling in the form of story telling games for the children.

This will also be the session where we will have a parental discussion group. If anyone has a theme they want to discuss, please phone it onto one of the contacts overleaf.

31st March 2001 "A Journey to Mars"

Paul Latham from the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) who has worked for many years on satellites and space travel will lead a session on a journey to Mars. Why go to Mars? What would we have to do to send robots there or humans?? Learn about the problems we would have to face on the journey as well as what equipment you would need and what you'd find when you get there!

While youi wait, take a look at the NASA or European Space Agency web site.

Summer 2001

12th May 2001 "Food and Art" and AGM

"I'm cooking up some yummy activities for you Explorers this session with which to be creative. Please bring some fruit (e.g. an apple, some grapes, a banana, a few strawberries or a tangerine) and a paper plate!" - Jill Wolland (Explorers Art and Crafts Teacher and parent).

The Kingston Explorers Annual General Meeting will also be held during this meeting.

19th May 2001 "The Secrets of Singing"

Singing is something we all do in the bath. But instead of filling the bath, how do you fill the Albert Hall? And more to the point, how do you fill it with something other people want to hear? Preshi Navaratnam a professional singer on the ascendant will show you how.

23rd June 2001 "Meet a Game Inventor"

Leo Marshall, the inventor of the word game, "Le Cardo", and former member of the NAGC is coming to talk about inventing games.

This will be followed by a discussion with the parents about his experiences as a gifted child. Naturally, this will be the session allocated for a parental group discussion.

9th June 2001 "Summer Party and an Introduction to Bird Watching - Richmond Park"

The other day, I was walking in Richmond Park and a kestrel swooped down onto the path 10 feet away! Earlier I spotted parakeets in some beech trees! Bring some binoculars, your bird books and a food dish to share at the party whewn we will play games!

Please meet at 2.30pm in the car park closest to Pen Ponds - Fees waived

7th July 2001 "The Sun and its Nine Little Companions"

A fun trip in our solar system, where everything turns around everything else. A must for budding scientists - especially girls.

Born in Thessaloniki, MariLiza set her mind to become the first Greek astronaut. She graduated from UCL with a degree in Physics. In Oxford, she has decided to unveil the mysteries of Venus' atmosphere. Talk to her about being a scientist or being a female in a male dominated science world.

Autumn 2001

29th September 2001 "How to make your kids glow in the dark!"

Dr. Michael White from Liverpool University will be travelling down to tell us a little bit about his research. This involves attaching the genes of fireflies and other luminescent creatures to bacteria etc. to make them glow to keep a track of them. Come to listen to a biochemist talk about his groundbreaking research and see if you would like to be a biochemist too.

6th October 2001 "A Morning Visit to Tate Modern"

This is an activity for all the family. The Tate has kindly supplied an extra teacher to take us through some of the exhibits and to get the whole family involved. Although this is ostensibly free to the public, with the anticipated numbers, we have paid for the extra teacher so subs of two pound will be taken to cover that teacher. There are limited places (30 total including parents) for this activity so please ring the branch contact to book.

20th October 2001 "Web and chips: From sand to the world wide web"

Computers have revolutionised the way people work and spend their leisure time. This session will explore some of the basic electronics behind how a computer works and some of the history of computers, bringing us right up to date with the world wide web. There will be a chance to help in the design of the Explorers web pages - tell us what you want to see on them and how you would like the pages to look!

10th November 2001 "We've got Rhythm!"

We have been very lucky to attract a professional classical percussionist to come to talk and play to us. There will also be a chance to play some of the instruments. We are proud to be able to support the music community in this way but these sessions are expensive for the Explorers so we would appreciate a good turnout for this one.

The meeting is being held in the "Gateway Studio" of the Combehurst Studio building on the (usual) Kingston Hill campus. Park in Car Park A or B. See the map of the Kingston Hill campus.

24th November 2001 "Crafts and Christmas"

Come and create those advent calendars and special Christmas cards for the doting grandparents! There is a chance that this will be Gill's last event as the crafts organiser. We would appreciate a new volunteer(s) to continue the excellent work that Gill has started. Thank you Gill This will be the session allocated for a parental group discussion.

Spring 2002

12th January 2002 "Photography Past and Present"

Andrew Martin, one of our "Explorer Parents", will introduce you to the history of photography showing you cameras from the last 100 years as well as old types of photographs. Learn about how photography works and make your own pinhole camera!

26th January 2002 "Let's Make a Play"

Morag Thorpe (a former "Explorer Parent") will be running a drama workshop that will culminate in a play. Morag has a successful touring company called Imagination Productions and hopes to inspire the children to use their imagination during this workshop. Bring anything of interest to inspire (like a shoe or a leaf) or anything to make an interesting character like a hat or a badge.

This will be the best session for parental discussion. If anyone has any topics they wish to discuss, please contact us.

9th February 2002 "Classic Car Rally"

Bring your old bangers and classic cars to Richmond Park (see overleaf) and we will take the kids for rides round the Park. We will even open up the bonnets and talk about how the engines work. If parents have any interesting vehicles, PLEASE ring me and tell me what you can do... Thanks.

Please meet at 2.30 pm in the car park (Labelled P closest to Pen Ponds on the map) - Subs waived

9th March 2002 "Learn Russian (Stage two)"

Some of you will be familiar with the Cyrillic script from Gill's first lesson she gave us. Two years have passed and she reckons we need a refresher course! Come along whatever your level.

23rd March 2002 "Cardboard City!"

This has been a very successful activity at other Explorers and so we are going to try it at Kingston. Bring the biggest boxes you can find and we will create our own life-size city.

Summer 2002

4th May 2002 "X-Rays and 'flu"

Elspeth Garman from the University of Oxford will lead a session on how the structures of proteins can be worked out and how this can help us to treat illnesses like 'flu. Elspeth works on one of the proteins of the virus that causes 'flu in people - and she will also tell us why pigs are important for use getting 'flu!

18th May 2002 "Over to you..." and ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

We are always telling the Explorers what to do well this time it's your chance! Come with anything you want to present from a card trick to a joke to a lecture on quantum physics. Whatever you want to try out on a friendly audience is welcome.

Plus Kingston Explorers Annual General Meeting.

15th June 2002 "Learning Methods and toys..."

Recently one of our committee members attended an entertaining and interesting talk about learning methods, given by Mr Simon Prebble, the headmaster of the local primary school attended by her children. Although the talk is not specific to gifted and talented children, she feels that fellow explorer parents may benefit from it too. We also intend to spend some money on new toys for the cupboard. We are probably going to spend about 150 pounds so come and try them out!

29th June 2002 "Wisley"

Due to popular demand, our outside trip for this term will be to the Royal Horticultural Society Garden at Wisley. At the time of printing we are negotiating free entrance on an educational basis but this might not be guaranteed. Fees are shown below just in case. Explorers' fees are waived.

You can see pictures of our last trip to Wisley

By road: the Garden lies between Cobham and Ripley in Surrey, off the main London to Portsmouth road (A3) south of Junction 10 of the M25. Follow the brown tourist flower signs on the A3 and M25 to RHS Garden. (Click for map) Car parking is free. Adult - 6 pounds, Child 2 pounds

13th July 2002 "Vive la Revolution!"

Marie Jackson, who teaches at an after-school French Club, has agreed to come and talk to us about Bastille Day and other entertaining things INCLUDING French games... in French if you want!

Autumn 2002

21st September 2002 "Worms and Poo"

Come along and meet Dr. Piers Clark, an expert on the digestion of sewage sludge. He is especially excited about vermiculture and could teach you a lot you didn't know about worms!

5th October 2002 "Oaks Park Nature Trail"

Take a walk through the formal gardens, meadowlands and woodland of Oaks Park. With over 20 points of interest on the way let's hope it's not too wet! Meet outside the Tea Rooms. (Click for map)

If you are travelling by car there is free parking, or by train to Carshalton Beeches or bus routes 154 & 413 to Carshalton Beeches Station or route S4 to The Warren.

9th November 2002 "Paramedics and Fungi"

Two separate activities! If you enjoy the thrill of all those TV medical dramas, come along and see inside a real ambulance and ask a genuine paramedic what it's really like.

And if you enjoyed spotting some mushrooms on the Oaks Park nature trail our very own "fun guy" (aka Dr. Andrew Martin) will have you looking down the microscope at some spores.

23rd November 2002 "Storytelling Drama Workshop"

The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Guildford Youth Department are sending along a member of their team. Be prepared for lots of games and activities to develop characters and storylines for your performance.

7th December 2002 "Christmas Crafts"

The ever popular craft session to get you into the festive spirit. Glue and glitter guaranteed!

Spring 2003

18th January 2003 "It's Music Time"

If you play an instrument please bring it along for a chance to tell others about it. (That includes the grown-ups!) But if you don't, or it's too big to bring, don't worry as we'll be making some of our own and playing something slightly more unusual...

1st February 2003 "What is Giftedness?" and "Board Games"

One for the grown-ups. Val Napier, an expert in the field, is coming along to talk about giftedness in children, what to expect and how parents, teachers and schools can support them. Meanwhile, the children can have some fun playing board games. If you have a favourite game at home bring it along with you or alternatively, why not try inventing your own board game.

15th February 2003 "101 Things To Do With Art Straws"

Well one or two things anyway. Master the fascinating art of corn dollies and maybe something for the dinosaur lovers among you.

15th March 2003 "Visit to Brooklands Museum Weybridge"


Our very own guided tour of the museum. You even get to sit in the planes. Also included is a Senses' science show plus free time in the interactive discovery centre. Special education price of £3 per child and £5 per adult. (Subs waived this time) PLEASE NOTE THE EARLIER START TIME AS THE MUSEUM CLOSES AT 4 P.M. (Click for map)

29th March 2003 "First Aid"

If you enjoyed the ambulance last time you'll enjoy learning some more first aid skills with a St. John's Ambulance expert.

12th April 2003 "Pub Lunch"

(Extra Event!)

If you're not escaping for the Easter break then come and join us for a pub lunch at the Black Swan (better known as the Mucky Duck) Ockham Lane, Martyr's Green, Ockham and featured in Inspector Morse. Good food, a huge selection of real ales and a garden for the kids to play in. Meet at 12 o'clock in the garden. (Click for map - The Black Swan is under the letter 'G' in the word 'Green', not where it says 'PH'!)

Summer 2003

3rd May 2003 "Maths Workshop"

In the questionnaire we did last year, a number of people asked for a maths activity. Well here it is! Liz Pumfrey from the NRICH team at Cambridge University ( is coming to run a special maths workshop. I know it's the Bank Holiday weekend, but you'll have Monday to do all those things you usually do on a Saturday. This was an extremely expensive activity to arrange so please make every effort to attend!

17th May 2003 "Cardboard City" and "AGM"

The cardboard city activity last summer was such a success that we decided to run it again. Last time around, the parents got as involved as the children and were equally proud of their creations! For those who weren't able to come last time, or if you just want a reminder of what you managed to create, visit the web site at and see the scrap book. Please bring any cardboard boxes you may have.

Plus Kingston Explorers Annual General Meeting.

7th June 2003 "Snakes!"

Nick Bessant, an expert on snakes will be coming to show us some of his pet snakes. If you like snakes then you will love the chance to see and handle them. If you don't like snakes, well now is your opportunity to overcome your fears and see what fascinating creatures they are! Nick is very experienced with NAGC groups and will run the session in two parts - one for the younger children (pre-school and infants) and one for the older ones (juniors). Meanwhile there will be a session on dinosaurs for the other group as well as the favourite games from the cupboard.

21st June 2003 "Visit to Cobham Bus Museum and Chertsey Fire Station"


Cobham Bus Museum is home to the London Bus Preservation Trust ( which preserves and restores a collection of over 30 historic buses and other public transport vehicles. This is a special display day and is combined with an open day at Chertsey Fire Station with a free bus service (on a historic 50-year-old bus) between the two sites. There is free parking along the B366 Redhill Road beyond the museum and bus route 462 runs from Weybridge Station to the Museum. Redhill Road is just off the A245 Byfleet Road from the Cobham junction of the A3 heading towards Byfleet and Brooklands (see map). Adult admission price £3 with accompanied under-16s free. (Subs waived)

5th July 2003 "Party in the Park"


A chance to relax and have some fun at Bushy Park - bring a picnic tea! The children get a lot out of being able to play and socialize with other children of similar ability. Bushy Park is the second largest of the royal parks ( and the children's playground is just near the entrance on the Hampton Court side (from Hampton Court Road, see map). Note that parking is limited (and about a 500m walk from the playground). There is access by bus (465 Dorking-Teddington; 111 Kingston-Heathrow; 216 Kingston-Staines; R68 Richmond-Hampton; 9 Piccadilly- Hammersmith; 33 Hammersmith-Twickenham) or by train to Hampton Court.

26th July 2003 "Hever Castle"

(Extra Event!)

An extra event for anyone who wants to come along. Highly recommended by an Explorers parent, Hever Castle (, near Edenbridge in Kent was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. The summer attraction is jousting at 2p.m. Make your own way there (M25 Jct. 5 or 6 or 1 mile walk from Hever station) and meet at the jousting spot at 1.30p.m!

Autumn 2003

20th September 2003 "Brain Gym"

A great event to kick off the autumn term. Come along and get your brains in gear after the long summer break. Evelyn Moniram, a fully qualified brain gym and educational kineseology consultant and licensed instructor, promises an active session for all ages. Please visit if you are new to the concept!

4th October 2003 "Visit to Deen City Farm"

Meet at the farm at 2.15pm.

Normal subs (£2 per child) apply to contribute to costs.

Come and see the animals at this 5-acre community farm. Many of you will already know the farm, but there is always something new to see and the recently appointed education officer is creating some special activities for our budding biologists to make our visit more worthwhile. The farm is open until 5pm and there is a cafe open until 4pm. Colliers Wood and South Wimbledon tube stations are within walking distance; the 200 bus runs to Phipp's Bridge stop in Haslemere Avenue; the Wimbledon to Croydon tramlink stops at both Phipp's Bridge and Morden Road; there is also a car park at the bottom of the farm gate. Our membership covers a wide area of SW London and Surrey and it has been commented that some people have a long journey for an afternoon's outing. If you would like to make a whole day out, you may like to consider combining your trip with a morning at either Tigers Eye Adventure Playground or Merton Abbey Mills. Tigers Eye is an indoor adventure play centre for children aged 2-10 (maximum height 4ft 9/1.45m) at 42 Station Road SW19 and Merton Abbey Mills is on the A24 Merantum Way with a lively weekend market. (See map)

18th October 2003 "Mushrooms and Fungi"

Postponed from last year, but continuing our biology theme, our fun guy Andrew Martin will share with you his interest in the fascinating world of mushrooms and fungi. Find out about their biology and learn what to look for when trying to identify them. If you have seen some mushrooms that you want to try to identify, bring them along (just avoid the Death Caps!)

15th November 2003 "Exercise is good for you!"

Neil Jackson, a practising GP will be here to show us the changes that the body goes through during and after exercise. Blood pressure, pulse, temperature - he'll get our hearts pumping to chart all sorts of physiological measurements.

13th December 2003 "Super Bounce Christmas Party (5-7pm)"

Meet at the leisure centre at 4.45pm.

Normal subs (£2 per child) apply to contribute to costs.

Take a well earned break from the Christmas shopping at Westcroft Leisure Centre. Two trampolines plus a bouncy castle for children aged 4-12. The bouncing starts at 5pm followed by Christmas nibbles. This will provide a good opportunity for the adults to have an informal chat and share experiences and maybe raise some issues we may like to explore further at a future event. The Leisure Centre is 10 mins walk from Carshalton or Wallington stations; buses 127, 157, 407, 408, 726 and N44 stop in Carshalton High Street; by car, Westcroft Road is just off Carshalton High Street by the pelican crossing on the A232. Places must be booked and paid for in advance. Please complete and return the reply slip below as soon as possible as available places are limited. (See map)

Spring 2004

24th January 2004 "Brain Gym"

As we were unable to run this session last term we thought we'd try again. A good way to get the brain back into gear after the Christmas hols. Evelyn Moniram, a fully qualified brain gym and educational kinesiology consultant and licensed instructor will introduce us to brain gym and some of the activities. You can find out more about it at

7th February 2004 "Argh!!!! A Practical Approach to Conflict Resolution between Adults and Children"

Rachael Underwood has worked as a teacher for the past twenty years. She is currently an early years trainer with a particular expertise in conflict resolution with young children. Rachael is a parent herself and so is very familiar with that "Argh!!" feeling. In this session, Rachael will focus on using a practical problem solving approach to resolving conflicts between adult and child in a way that leaves everyone's self esteem intact. She will also look briefly at how to support children to resolve their own conflicts with one another. The content of the session will fit with the book You Can't Come to My Birthday Party! by Betsy Evans which is mentioned on the website which you may like to visit.

This will be a talk specifically for parents/carers, but there will be a Valentine crafts activity available in a separate room if you need to bring your children.

28th February 2004 "Proteins and DNA"

This is a repeat of an event we ran nearly 4 years ago, but since then we have lots of new members and some of the children have doubled in age, so we thought we'd do it again! Following on from Dr. Neil Jackson's wonderful exercise and physiology session last term, Dr. Andrew Martin from University College London will tell us about what happens at the sub-microscopic level. We will find out about proteins and DNA, how our DNA is copied and how proteins are made. As well as some kitchen chemistry, there will be lots of games to play including the transcription and translation games!

13th March 2004 "Brass Brass and More Brass!"

If you like brass instruments, this is the activity for you. Ed Maxwell is coming along to show his wide range of brass instruments. He will tell you a little about them and how they have evolved. Then he will let you try them. Parents bring your ear plugs!

27th March 2004 "Murder Mystery Suspense"

Back by popular demand (from the children) Sean and Anasuya will be doing the detective plays again. Come with a distinctive item to wear; feather boa, bowler hat, whatever takes your fancy and we will act out some whodunnit plays. Then we will see if the parents are as clever as the children in working them out. (Somehow I think not...)

Summer 2004

1st May 2004 "Discover Leatherhead"


Normal subs of £2 per child.

One of those hidden gems of a Surrey town. Come for a guided tour of the Leatherhead Museum which is housed in a 17th Century timbered cottage. There is a permanent exhibition of World War II memorabilia and a Victorian kitchen (you'll have a head start at the drama workshop) amongst other things. There will also be a circular walk down by the river Mole so bring your wellies if it's wet. Leatherhead is clearly signposted from the M25 Jct 9, the A3 or the A24 and there are several pay and dispay car parks in the town. Alternatively the museum is easy walking distance from Leatherhead station which is on lines between Waterloo or Victoria and Dorking, Guildford or Effingham Junction. You could combine your visit with a trip to Leatherhead Leisure Centre, local shops (including a new and excellent music shop) or nearby Boxhill. Meet outside the museum in Church Street, by the bed shop at 2.15 pm. (Click for map)

15th May 2004 "Filthy Dirty... Filthy Rich - A Very Victorian Experience" --and-- "AGM"

Catch the steam train and hold on tight for a whistle stop adventure through Victorian England. Meet the rich boy, the poor girl, the beggar man and thief as Alice's story unfolds. A story of hardship, cruelty and joy from the Victorian era, with reference to the class system, crime and punishment, disease and sanitation, the Crimean War and Victorian entertainment. The children get to participate in the interactive Victorian workshop and act alongside the main characters; then the parents get to watch the performance. Loads of fun guaranteed! This is our most expensive event of the term, so please make every effort to attend. An Imagination Productions event by Morag Thorpe. Morag used to come to Kingston Explorers with her own daughter who is now a teenager. Please visit their website at

Plus Kingston Explorers Annual General Meeting.

12th June 2004 "Dabbling in Pastels"

Forget the Blue Peter crafts you're used to - this is the real thing. Explore shape and colour with the help of apples and sunsets. Whether you're a watercolour whizz, or have trouble drawing stickmen, I defy you not to be inspired by Kathryn Harper's passion for art. Kathryn is mother to two very able daughters and is also a talented musician herself.

26th June 2004 "Fun With Things That Fly"

Steve Midson has lots of experience working with groups of children and promises an afternoon of fun for any budding pilots! He will begin with discussions and demonstrations using model aircraft, showing not only how they fly, but also how they are controlled in the air. Then everyone present will make, decorate and test fly a model glider which will be yours to keep. Though small, these react in exactly the same way as any real or model aircraft and the piloting lessons learnt apply equally to all aircraft. Click for another picture.

10th July 2004 "Party in the Park - Nonsuch Park, Cheam"


Subs waived. Note earlier time.

Chill out in the sunshine (we hope!) Bring a picnic and a rug and prepare for some games. Please meet from 1pm at the picnic area (a dog free area) in Nonsuch Park in Cheam (Click for map). Cheam station is on the line from Victoria through Sutton to Dorking. Bring along something for the picnic for us all to share. Subs will be waived for this session.

Autumn 2004

18th September "Magical Mathematical Mystery Tour"

Join the McQuaids for an arithmetical adventure from algebra to zero. It's such a mystery that even they won't tell us what's involved, but it is bound to beat the numeracy hour any day!

2nd October "Visit to the Horniman museum"


Subs waived

Victorian tea trader Frederick Horniman founded the museum in 1901. Today it is the Good Britain Guide Museum of the Year and London Family Attraction of the Year 2004 winner. With a wealth of things to see and do, visit the website at to plan your whole day at the museum, but meet the Kingston Explorers at the usual time of 2.15 p.m. in the Hands On Base to join the drop-in discovery session. Entrance to the museum and gardens is free. The museum is located on the South Circular Road (A205). There is parking available in surrounding streets or a pay and display car park behind the local Sainsbury's. Alternatively take the bus 176, 185, 312, 356 or P4 or the train to Forest Hill station. More detailed maps at the Horniman web site.

16th October "Over to You"

Back by popular demand, a chance for the children to take to the floor and share their hobby or passion with everyone. Last time we had everything from music to herbs, sporting achievements and magic tricks. Can you play a tune on the bagpipes? Are you a skateboarding expert? Did you attend any interesting courses over the summer, or are you good at telling jokes? Whatever it is, we want to hear about it!

6th November "Music Time"

We know a lot of you play musical instruments and previous musical activities have been extremely popular. Nicholas Smith, Head of Kingston Music and Arts Service, will be leading a session on African Drumming! Whatever your level of musical ability, come along and join the fun of hands-on music making.

20th November "Perfectionism and Highly Able Children"

Many a conversation has been had during the tea break about what to do with your bright children who think they can't do something if they can't do it perfectly, or who won't try something new for fear of failure. Jo Counsell, Gifted and Talented Co-ordinator for Hastings and St. Leonards Education Action Zone and former NAGC Education Consultant will come and share her expertise and wealth of experience with us. This is strictly a talk for the adults only, but if you need to bring your children with you, there will be a supervised craft activity in a separate room.

4th December "Christmas Invention Party"



Normal subs of £2 per child.

Come and have a go at making zoetropes and optical toys at the Honeywood Heritage Centre followed by a Christmas tea party. The Centre is in Honeywood Walk, Carshalton, Surrey just north of the junction of the B277 and A232 at Carshalton Ponds. There is limited parking in Honeywood Walk and there is a pay and display car park in the High Street. The Centre can also be reached by buses 127, 157, 407 and 726 and is 4 minutes walk from Carshalton Station. Meet at the usual time of 2.15 p.m. at the Honeywood Heritage Centre. Normal subs (£2 per child) apply to contribute to costs. Places must be booked and paid for in advance. Please complete and return the enclosed reply slip as soon as possible as places are limited. Click for map

Spring 2005

22nd January "Mathematical Patterns in Music"

Wilfred Hodges, Professor of Mathematics at Queen Mary, University of London believes 'music is a human universal'. If you enjoy listening to music then you will know that music is full of patterns. Patterns are mathematics, and geometry is the part of mathematics that is devoted to analyzing patterns. Professor Hodges has been 'touring' some of the other Explorers Clubs and we are in for a treat.

5th February "Creative Writing/Storytelling Workshop"

What makes up a gripping tale? Who are your favourite characters? How do you go about turning your ideas for plots and settings into a good story? Morag Thorpe from Imagination Productions ( will have you creating stories to share. No actual writing skills are required and the children will be split according to age, so if you can't write yet (or you just don't like writing!) then bring along your ideas and imagination.

26th February "Music Time"

If you thought you'd missed your chance last term, you didn't as this session was canceled! Nicholas Smith, Head of Kingston Music and Arts Service, will be leading a session on African Drumming. Whatever your level of musical ability, come along and join the fun of hands-on music making. We know a lot of you play musical instruments and previous musical activities have been extremely popular.

12th March "Flatland"

To coincide with National Science Week, Dr. Andrew Martin will take you on a tour of 'flatland'. In 1874 Edwin Abbot published a short book called 'Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions' in which he described a world in which the inhabitants could perceive only two dimensions. He went on to show how movements in a third dimension would appear to the people of flatland as changes over time - in other words time can be considered as just another dimension. As you may know, this went on to be one of the main principles of Einstein's theories of the space-time continuum.

26th March "Visit Hampton Court Palace"

Note earlier time. Subs waived in view of the entry costs. Adults £11.80 Children (5-16) £7.70 Family £35

Meet at 12 o'clock outside the ticket office on the main entrance side by the grass. This way we may be able to take advantage of the group discounts available and book ourselves onto a guided tour.

Special events will be taking place in the palace kitchens and a new exhibition Suffragettes, Soldiers and Servants: Behind the Scenes of the Hampton Court Palace Community 1750-1950 will be open. And don't forget there's always the maze in which to get lost!

The palace is located on the A308 and is well signposted from all the major local roads; follow the brown tourist attraction road signs. From the M25 take either exit 10 on to the A307 or exit 12 on to the A308. The palace is also accessible via the A3 and then the A309. Trains run from London Waterloo or use bus routes 111, 216, 411, 416, 451, 461, 513, 726 or R68.

Summer 2005

30th April "Codes and Codebreaking"

Did you know that Mary, Queen of Scots was betrayed by a code or that there exists a code so complex that no one has yet been able to decipher it? In this session Jane Etheridge will show you how secret writing has changed history and how mathematics is used to break codes. You will be a codemaker and a codebreaker and will discover how to send secret messages that only your friends can decode.

14th May "Circus Skills Workshop"

Booking required!

A good activity for improving co-ordination, concentration and co-operation, but above all great fun. Julian the Juggler from Circus Unlimited will have you juggling and plate spinning in no time! As there was no suitable hall available at the university please note that we will be meeting at St. Giles Church Hall, Ashtead. (On the map The Street is the A24 and the dotted line is a drive with parking, although there is an event at the school at 2 p.m. Either arrive early and take a walk in Ashtead Park or use one of the nearby car parks.) Numbers are limited so places must be booked and paid for in advance. [MAP]

11th June "Fascinating Facts about Stag Beetles & AGM"

At Kingston University as usual...

The Stag Beetle is Britain's largest terrestrial beetle, named because the male's huge jaws look just like a stag's antlers. Sadly it is also an endangered species. With the help of live specimens, Deborah Harvey will be talking about the life cycle and biology of the stag beetle and her research at Royal Holloway. This will be at Kingston University at the usual time.

Meet outside the Crooked Billet pub, Wimbledon, 7.30pm

With our new found information, we then plan a bit of stag beetle spotting in the evening on Wimbledon Common. Please meet outside the Crooked Billet Pub near Kings College Boys School at 7.30 p.m. [MAP]

26th June "Fun in the Sun (weather permitting!)"

Note earlier time and day (SUNDAY)

Meet 1pm at the Black Swan

Subs waived

Join us for lunch at the Black Swan (better known as the Mucky Duck) in Ockham Lane, Martyr's Green, Ockham. One for all the family - a bar full of real ales, pub grub and good company and a great garden for the kids to let off steam. Meet in the garden from 1 p.m. [MAP]

9th July "The Cassini Spacecraft Mission to Saturn"

Calling all budding astronauts. Dr. Anasuya Aruliah will talk about the latest news of the Cassini spacecraft mission to Saturn including the Huygens probe which landed on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, in January this year. Titan is larger than the planets Mercury and Pluto and it is unique amongst moons in having a thick atmosphere, just like Earth. There will also be a chance to build models of Saturn or spacecraft too.

Autumn 2005

24th September "Fantastic Plastic"

What's the link between Lego® blocks, zero pollution cars, disposable nappies, liquids that flow up hill and false legs? How is this linked to the perfect recipe for slime? Education Consultant Dr. Averil MacDonald will take you on a tour through the fascinating lifecycle of a polymer followed by some hands-on slime and potty putty making. If you thought you'd outgrown Explorers last term then at least make it to this one as it's sure to be of interest.

8th October "NAGC Family Day and AGM - National Event"

All members should already have received details of the family day at Shenley Brook End School, Milton Keynes. Bookings close 16th September. For further details call 0845 450 0295.

15th October "People in Art"

University College London is home to the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. It is closed on Saturday afternoons, so Celine West is bringing the museum to us instead - well just a small part of it. There will be a selection of paintings and drawings of people to study plus a range of materials to make your own portraits including Chinese brushes, quill pens, chalk and charcoal.

5th November "A Pot-Pourri of Mathematical Problems"

Douglas Hainline runs maths masterclasses and also workshops for both NAGC and Mensa. The focus of this session will be on problem solving and how to get started when you don't know where to go. Maths activities are always popular with the children and there will be ample opportunity for parents to be humiliated by their offspring. I know I will be!

19th November "Theatre Museum"

Note earlier time

Meet at the entrance at 2 p.m.

Subs waived

Our outing this term will be to the Theatre Museum, Russell Street, Covent Garden. Nearest Tube station: Covent Garden. Nearest mainline stations: Waterloo and Charing Cross. Buses run to Strand or Aldwych. Entrance to the museum is free. Every visitor to the Theatre Museum can participate in a daily programme of workshops, demonstrations and guided tours, run by a team of professional theatre practitioners and educationalists. Here you can operate puppets, try out make-up and costumes and walk on stage. Sign up on arrival. (There may be a a small charge for some of the activities available on the day).

3rd December "Christmas Crafts"

An old favourite returns. A chance to make some decorations and gifts. Glue, glitter and mince pies guaranteed (and sherry for the adults!)

Spring 2006

28th January "Chinese New Year"

It's too late for Hogmanay, but this day marks the last day of the Chinese calendar. Karen Pang will share her knowledge of Chinese culture with us, not only New Year traditions, but also Chinese writing and art. Taste some Chinese food and find out how good you really are with a pair of chopsticks.

25th February "Science, our Bodies and our Food"

We are very fortunate to be visited by Professor Richard Bruckdorfer who is professor of Biochemistry at University College London. He teaches both science and medical students and his research interest is in molecular aspects of heart disease. The session will begin with a short talk about science as a career, how scientists have helped our understanding of what food contains and its importance to our health. There will be a discussion and practical demonstration of where the main organs in the body lie and what they do. (I have some insider knowledge that this promises to be a real - and potentially messy - treat!) There will be an opportunity to listen to each other's hearts with stethoscopes and to decide what foods are healthy from an array of options. There will also be a demonstration using microscopes and testing different vegetables for the presence of starch.

11th March "Introducing YouthAgency"

You've established that you have a bright child, you've joined NAGC, you've been to Explorers, but then what? Whatever age your child, this is bound to be an enlightening session. Jane Hughes is the YouthAgency Manager at the National Association for Gifted Children. YouthAgency is a virtual community of gifted children aged 11+. Jane's role is to cater for the needs of gifted teenagers by nurturing the community of members. This is by providing enrichment activities and materials, a forum for celebrating members' work and advocacy for giftedness issues. Jane has agreed to come to Kingston Explorers to talk about her current post, her experience of working with gifted children and to help us look at ways of meeting the needs of our older club members. This is strictly a talk for the adults and any interested 11+ children. There will be no provision for younger children at this session.

25th March "Cardboard City"

You know you love it! (Well you did 3 and 4 years ago). Please visit the scrapbook on the web to see what was built at previous cardboard city sessions if you haven't been to one before. You've had plenty of notice to start saving those empty cardboard tubes and interesting shaped boxes. We'll provide some too and plenty of tape.

8th April "Springtime Stroll"

Subs waived. Please meet at the far end of the car park at 2.15 p.m.

I thought calling it a hike might put some of you off! If you're not jetting off to sunnier climes for the Easter holidays, join us for some fresh air and good old English countryside exploring the 1400 acre estate of Polesden Lacey in Great Bookham. It is a National Trust estate so if you don't have National Trust membership, entrance to the gardens and grounds is £6 per adult, £3 per child or £15 for a family ticket. If you want to make it a family day out there is also a house to visit, a shop and tea-rooms. Please visit for further details. Please see the map. Polseden Lacey is approximately where the 'B' is in Great Bookham and is well sign-posted with brown tourist signs from the A24 and the A246 from Guildford.

Summer 2006

6th May Amazing Animals

Have you ever stroked a leopard or stared down a tiger? Join us for the chance to handle genuine animal specimens from across the globe. We will also be finding out how animals are built perfectly for their environments, in the way they eat, move and protect themselves. We welcome Jack Ashby from UCL's Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy one of the oldest natural history collections in the country.

20th May Climbing at High Ashurst Outdoor Education Centre

Please note the time of this event: 2-5 p.m.

This activity had to be booked and paid for in advance.

Please check your e-mail for detailed directions. At the time of writing there are a couple of spare places so please contact me asap if you are interested. Your name could be added to a waiting list in case anyone drops out at the last minute. Please let me know if you can't make it on the 20th so that we can try to fill your place. You can e-mail . (See map)

10th June The Mysterious Electron

We welcome back Doug Hainline who has run workshops in the past for both NAGC and Mensa. As the title suggests we're not going to tell you too much about this one. However, if you were lucky enough to be at our pot-pourri of mathematical problems last year, I'm sure you can imagine that there's a lot more to bits of wire than meets the eye. Don't miss a treat!

24th June Brazzles, Sinistroms and Snagglefangs

They say that everyone has a book in them. Have you ever wondered where authors get ideas for their characters from, or how to go about getting your work published? Elizabeth Kay, author of The Divide trilogy will come and tell us all she knows. Bring along your own copies and she will even sign them for you. Elizabeth's publisher is The Chicken House, whose director, Barry Cunningham, discovered J.K.Rowling. If you're not familiar with Elizabeth Kay's work or even if you have read the books, do visit her website as it's really good. And you may also be interested to know that Elizabeth's daughter, who was herself a member of Kingston Explorers Club is now 26 years old, has a PhD and has just had an insect named after her - Aganocrossus newmanae!

8th July Move Over Mozart

If you play an instrument please feel free to bring it along. (That includes the grown ups!) But if you don't never fear as we can all make music. This will be a fun hands-on session of music making. We will make a recording of our outstanding performance which will be made available next term. Assuming, that is, that a new committee has been formed to continue running next term!

Autumn 2006

16th September: Starlab Planetarium brings astronomy to life!

Enter the planetarium and be transported into a dark starry night, complete with sensation of Earth rotation and planetary close-ups. A memorable experience not to be missed with Royston Dean.

7th October: NAGC AGM & Fun Day, Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes

A packed day of talks & workshops tailored to all age groups. For more information Tel. 0845 4500295 NAGC

14th October: Use mixed media to develop stunning art effects

Jassie Jagdev, artist and teacher will be your guide and if you wish, will capture your 'creativity' on a personalised printed t-shirt.

T-shirts cost extra and will be delivered 4 weeks later.

11th November: Julian Richards, acclaimed archaeologist, broadcaster & writer!

Meet the Ancestors, Blood of the Vikings (BBC TV) Come and share in Julian's passion at this fascinating archaeology workshop!

25th November: Music & Movement

Sue Sealey, national Youth Moves teacher-trainer, invites you to create a 'celebration' of shape & movement. Come in loose clothing. Guaranteed enjoyment for boys & girls.

9th December: Christmas Crafts

Back by popular demand! Come and use your skills to make some very special gifts and join us for an early mince pie!

Autumn 2007

6th October: Fighting With Sticks

Learn Eskrima, the Martial Art of the Philippines. Jim Smith will explain the use of the stick, safe handling of a weapon, how to respect weapons, the history of the sport in Filipino culture - suppressed by the Spanish but revived by the Americans; demonstration and practice in pairs.

27th October: Do You Want to be a Doctor?

Dr Ian Cropley, Consultant in Infectious Disease at the Royal Free Hospital will introduce you to the world of medicine, explain what and tell you what it is really like to be a doctor.

10th November: How to Create Pictures Like the Great Artists 

Romany Stratton will give a master class in art, looking at the work of some artists, how they make you see things in a new way, how they use colour, how colours work together, then combining all this into making a felt artwork.

1st December: Kids in Space

An interactive theatrical show performed by Spacefund. After a history of space flight, the rocket takes off for a moon landing then on to a tour of the planets and the sun. Children see what is like to be an astronaut and experience weightlessness, and this as well as orbits and satellites and the sun's place in the universe are all explained.

Spring 2008

Saturday 19th January: Rubbish!

Dirk Hazell, Chief Executive of the Environmental Services Association (this country's "Head Bin-man" ) will talk about what happens to all that we throw out, your local dump, how recycling and incineration works, and whether we are poisoning ourselves with our waste. The conflicts over environment and cost will also be discussed. Please come with your questions.

Sunday February 3rd 11am - 1pm: Mad Science

Note day and time!

These are the science teachers you wished you had. The first topic will be Moving Motion. Children will make progress in this class all about motion, unlike a rocking horse which makes motion but no progress. Friction and inertia are among the forces that we will investigate. The second topic will be the Science of Art. These are more closely matched that you may think from the detection of forgeries to the development of colour paints. Children will make their own distorted scientific work of art to take home.

Sunday March 2nd 11am - 1pm: Double Bill

Note day and time!

(i) Elizabeth Kay, best selling author of The Divide trilogy will talk about how to write books and what inspired her to write science fiction for children.

(ii) Maths beyond anything you dreamed of. Bob Newman, mathematics enthusiast and donor of our huge selection of advanced thinking board games, will present a selection of fun activities involving shapes and numbers. Topics include number friezes, plaiting cubes and sprouts. The latter is not a green vegetable, but a pencil and paper game.

Sunday March 16th 11am - 1pm: Music Workshop

Note day and time!

Everyone will be a member of the band and a guitarist and a drummer will lead, playing on a range of instruments including djembe, Cajun drum, drum kit and glockenspiels. The objective is to learn rhythm, beat, the different styles of music and the principles of composition. This is for all drum fanatics. The workshop will start with musical warm-ups involving body percussion and circle games. Our two instructors are from the Music House for Children.

Summer 2008

Sunday May 18th 10.30am-12.30pm

Come with your own Presentation. This time we will try a totally new format in which the children prepare a 5 minute talk on their own chosen subject, followed by questions. As we a have digital projector they could demonstrate a computer game. So far we have had volunteers from Kate Howes on Origami and Paul Norris on History. We promise to be a friendly audience. If your child would like to present, please email the Chair. If you have slides, please bring a memory stick.

Autumn 2008

Sunday September 21st 10.30am-12.30pm

LIGHT YEARS - The science writer, Brian Clegg will take a historical journey from ancient times to the present day of that most amazing phenomenon, light. From the bizarre ideas of the ancient Greeks that light streamed from our eyes to modern experiments where light has been pushed past its own speed, and so backwards in time, or slowed to a stop, it's a fascinating subject. He will show some of the amazing aspects of light from its incredibly fast speed, unchanged by relativity to the way the very atoms of our body are held together by an invisible web of light.

Sunday November 2nd 10.30am-12.30pm

Andrew Martin (an ex-chair of Surrey Explorers) will return to run a music session. If you play an instrument please bring it along for a chance to tell others about it. (That includes the grown-ups!) But if you don't, or it's too big to bring, don't worry as we'll be making some of our own and playing something slightly more unusual...

Sunday November 16th 10.30am-12.30pm

Don't be Sea Blind. Admiral John McAnally, former commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies and president of the Royal Naval Association will talk about the role of the Royal Navy to-day, what it is like to command a fighting ship, the weaponry and military strategy. He will also talk about the importance of the sea in the 21st century. For any child who thinks the sea is a place on the edge of a beach or the bits in between the continents on a map, this is the time to learn that the sea is more like a physical world wide web.

Sunday December 7th 10.30am-12.30pm

Note change of date!

Robots and Artificial Intelligence. Dr Miroslav Bober, Chief Scientist, Mitsubishi Electric ITE will talk about his work on Robots and Intelligent Agents. What are the best designs today and what can they do for us? How could they be improved? Can they ever become more intelligent then us? We will look closely at technological challenges facing the designers, including the mechanical design, energy supply and above all we will examine the brain of future robots built on Artificial Intelligence (AI). This will be a very hands-on talk, so you will design and build a lot! First, we will build a crawling turtle, a sliding fox, and a two-leg jumping kangaroo. Then you will all talk to and challenge the Zabaware, the "most human" chatting computer and the winner of the Loebner Prize Competition for Artificial Intelligence. We will examine the Zabaware brain (no blood, so please do not worry!) and finally you can have a go at designing a brain using the LOGO programming language. Best of all, you can take the creatures you will build back home with you (but only with your parents and your dog/cat's permission, of course). As numbers are limited, please let us know in advance if your child will be coming by replying to

Spring 2009

Sunday 25th January

ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL Come and meet the great Victorian engineer talking about his life and works. From the Thames tunnel, the first in the world to be built under a navigable river, to the world’s largest steamship 'The Great Eastern', and all of the bridges, tunnels, railways and steamships along the way, Darryl Boot from Spectrum Drama, originally from the Science Museum, will bring the man and his achievements to life.

Sunday 15th February

HOW TO SAVE A LIFE Sorry, indie rock fans, we haven't invited The Fray along, but better than that: some St John Ambulance volunteers (including Explorers member Kate Howes and her brother Matt who are Cadets) to demonstrate important life skills that you're never too young to learn. In a hands-on practical session, you will gain confidence in making a 999 call, and practise emergency resuscitation and the recovery position. These three steps could help you, literally, save someone's life! You can then try your hand at applying slings and bandages as emergency first aid, and a 'body parts' quiz will test how well you know what's under your skin. Once we've fired up your enthusiasm, we'll tell you how to find out about your local Cadets (10-18) and Badgers (5-10) where you can do first aid and so much more!

Sunday 22nd February

CREATING THE SUN HERE ON EARTH (Postponed from 8th February) Slamming together hydrogen atoms to form helium will provide a limitless source of clean energy – when they can get it to work. Chris Warrick from UKAEA Culham will demonstrate how Nuclear Fusion, which fuels the sun and stars, could be replicated in a power station. It works in the laboratory, they have been improving it since 1940, but the contribution to our electricity supply is still precisely zero. At enormous temperatures and pressures, the engineering challenge is immense.

Sunday 1st March

WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE TO BE THE ONLY HUMAN LEFT ON EARTH? Science writer Henry Nicholls tells the story of Lonesome George, a giant tortoise who is the only surviving member of his species. At the age of 80, George still lives on a remote Galapagos island and is, according to the Guinness Book of Records, "the rarest creature on earth". George's tragic tale takes in Darwin, cloning and DNA fingerprinting as scientists race against time to find a way of reproducing him and resurrecting his species. Henry Nicholls is Editor of the history of science journal Endeavour and is the author of Lonesome George: the Life and Loves of a Conservation Icon.

Sunday 22nd March

INSIDE THE MAGIC CIRCLE The master of disaster and highly skilled delusionist, Gilbert Giggles, will perform his magic. Then he will change out of his tight blue suit and big glasses into his alter ego, Simon Fullerton, who will give us a peep behind the magic circle, demonstrating a few of the tricks of the trade and how to carry off a conjuring act convincingly. You will learn some great tricks to impress your friends.

Tuesday 7th April

Note venue - contact the Chair!

HERSTMONCEUX SCIENCE EXPERIENCE DAY ON ROCKETRY Hidden away in the Sussex hills next to the beautiful castle and gardens is a science centre converted from the wartime home of the Greenwich Observatory. The hands-on activities are better than the Science Museum and a lot less crowded. In order to have a full day, we will stay overnight at a nearby B&B, but it can be done as a day trip if you prefer. Please let the chair know if you are interested (). Fee is about £13 for one child and one adult, £24 for a family of four.

Sunday 19th April

Booking required for presenters - contact the Chair!

YOUR CHILD THE PRESENTER We will be a friendly and informal audience for your child presenting on their favourite topic. We intend to have five or six talks of about 5 minutes each, followed by Q&A. There will be prizes for the best speakers. Our only volunteers so far are Paul on a subject to be decided and Joshua presenting on the asteroids outside Neptune and other Space-related topics. If you have a junior enthusiast on any subject who would like to give a talk, please email the Chair (). Let us know as soon as possible as speaker slots are limited! You will be amazed how confident and fluent your child can be when talking about something that interests them. We have a digital projector for slides if required (please bring a memory stick).

Autumn 2009

Sunday 6th September

STREET DANCE Robert Gregg: Dance teacher, choreographer and founder of Hip Hop 4 all. This is your chance to try popping, locking, newstyle, Hip-Hop, breaking, waving, robotics and all the styles of Street Dance. Robert Gregg graduated in Multimedia computing, will talk about where this all came from (was it Michael Jackson?), how he got there himself and even if you think this is not for you, even if you never wanted to be cool, you will find yourself carried along!!. Don’t just watch it on TV, do it!!

Sunday 11th October

CODES AND CIPHERS Bob Newman returns to Surrey Explorers to explain how these are made and broken. Starting with Morse Code and going on to Yogi Bear and the latest techniques based on prime numbers, he will demonstrate some valuable techniques for the anyone who aspires to be a spy. After the break, we will give an introduction into how to solve cryptic crosswords.

Wednesday 21st October

10.30-12.30 The role of the Royal Navy in the Second World War. Clive Norris will give a history tutorial at his house in Putney SW15. This is intended for a small group of over-10s.

24th-25th October

NAGC Family Week-End in Birmingham.

Sunday 15th November

THE MAGIC OF MATHS Andrew Jeffrey is the maths teacher every child should have, but he gave it up because he was too good at it. He is a now a mathemagician. He takes you into some quite advanced concepts in a fun and magical way that would otherwise need complex equations to explain. He can create an octahedron from a piece of paper. Your child will see the point of learning long division and all that stuff - it is the route to something a lot more exiting and, well, magical. If you came to his session at Explorers three years ago you will know what I mean.

Sunday 29th November

FUN SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS with Philip Searle. Build a tower from Spaghetti and Marshmallows... Design a paper boat that could float (when loaded with marbles), and perhaps go on to make GIANT bubbles from coat hangers... make new greeting cards (printed from household objects) just in time for Christmas, make a simple electrical circuit with a coat hanger and a doorbell... (parents are welcome to take part in experiments). And more! Everyone will have the chance to investigate and experiment!

Spring 2010

Saturday 16th January 2.30 - 4.30pm

Note the unusual start time

THE LAST MAN ON THE MOON was Gene Cernan who will be coming to visit us, (strictly speaking it will be Colin Uttley from Spectrum Drama).

On 14th December 1972, Astronaut Gene Cernan followed colleague Jack Schmitt into their Lunar Module and and lifted-off from the surface of the moon. No one has returned since that day, making Cernan the last man on the moon. An experienced naval aviator and test pilot, Gene Cernan jumped at the chance to fly the ultimate mission. On Gemini 9, Cernan carried out a space walk that almost ended in disaster. On Apollo 10, he descended to within nine miles of the moon's surface in the mission that made the first manned landing possible. Finally, on Apollo 17 he achieved his goal and set foot upon the moon.

Colin Uttley is a director of Spectrum Drama. He has performed and lectured at The Royal Institution, Royal Albert Hall, Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford and many other major venues. He has also published eight books on Science and Technology and written pieces for many publications including the Grolier Encyclopedia and the Guinness Book of Records. Colin has been passionately interested in space exploration for as long as he can remember and has been playing Gene Cernan at London's Science Museum for over seven years.

Sunday 7th February

DARK MATTER, ANTI-MATTER AND THE START OF THE UNIVERSE with Tom Jacobs. What's the largest doughnut you have ever heard of? It could be the Large Hadron Collider, LHC for short, and the largest machine ever built. You can't eat it, so what is it good for? It recreates the conditions that created matter. Can only large hadrons collide, why can't little ones? What's a Hadron anyway?. Come and hear a real physicist de-mystify it.

Tom Jacobs did not start life as Tom Jacobs and for the final 20 mins will talk about growing up as a German schoolboy in Kent during World War II.

Our speaker has designed some very unusual real-life reconstructions and some diagrams to explain what it going on underground on the French/Swiss border and what exactly this huge experiment is going to prove.

As there will be a demonstration with glass, please bring goggles (swimming goggles will do) for yourself and your child if you have them. If not, we have some spare. Please also bring a small notebook for your child to jot down some observations. We will provide pencils.

Thursday 18th February, 10.30am - 12.30pm

Note this is an event at the RI - booking required

HOW DO SHAPES FILL SPACE? Mathematics masterclass,. Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS, 020 7409 2992. Please contact Philip Searle by email (psearle{} - replace {} by @) for tickets, £5 for children/adult guests.

Nature and human endeavour are filled with examples of shapes being packed together - the clustering of galaxies, the Great Wall of China, tilings, grocers stacking oranges, the leather patches on a football, foam, honeycombs, crystal formation, atomic configurations, ... the list goes on. Some of these are elegant, some efficient, some both, but is there a relationship between elegance and efficiency?

Join a highly accessible and hands-on session, crafting and exploring shapes and symmetry in two, three and possibly higher dimensions, to see how mathematics, through its quest for truth and beauty, helps us better understand the space we live in.

Suitable for anyone aged 8 and above. Children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult.

Saturday 27th February, 2.30 - 4.30pm

Note that this is a SATURDAY and the unusual start time

EINSTEIN DID WORK OUT HOW TO TRAVEL THROUGH TIME We have another distinguished visitor from Spectrum Drama, this time Albert Einstein. Albert did not speak until he was 5 years old and spent his time at school tormenting the teachers and devising practical jokes until he dropped out. He was a brilliant musician and comedian, but became a great scientist. When asked by his son Eduard why he was so famous he said "When a blind beetle crawls over the surface of a curved branch, it doesn’t notice that the track it has covered is indeed curved. I was lucky enough to notice what the beetle didn’t notice." We promise the science will not be blinding, but will help you see things a little differently.

Sunday 21st March

WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT? THEIR KID IS GIFTED! Dr Wenda Sheard will give a practical advice session for parents. She will cover academic, emotional and social aspects with examples of strategies that have worked and where you can go for resources to help. Dr Sheard is the immediate past president of SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted She has long experience of teaching teachers, supporting parents and lobbying in the US for schools to meet the educational needs of gifted children. We need her to do the same over here! Dr Sheard is currently teaching English at Tasis (The American School in England) in Thorpe, Surrey. As our talks are usually directed at children, the children do not get a chance to get to know each other. This will give them an uninterrupted session playing games and puzzles with each other in the next door room.

This is a special even for adults and will cost £7 per adult, children free.

Denise Yates, Chief Executive of the NAGC, will be attending this meeting.

Saturday May 22nd, 10.30 - 1.00

Nurturing Gifted Teens at Queen Mary University London E1

The guest speaker will be Lisa Rivero, a writer on intensity and creativity, homeschooling and Gifted Teens.

[More information]

This is organised by NAGC head office [Booking form]

Friday 25 June 2010 - Sunday 27 June 2010

South Bank Science Fair: BBC BANG GOES THE THEORY ROADSHOW [More information]

Autumn 2010

Sunday 17th October 10.30 - 12.30pm

LIGHT - from WAVES to VISION with Andrew Hanson from the National Physical Laboratory. What do radio, x-rays, light, microwave, gamma rays, ultraviolet and infrared have in common? They are all the same thing (electromagnetic waves)! We just create them or do different things with them. We will travel along the range of wavelengths (or frequencies) of the electromagnetic radiations. Stopping off along the way to see some of the things we do with them. Warning: includes demos with microwave ovens you should not try at home, and involves a heat camera which may detect presence of alien beings.

Wednesday 27th October 10.30am - 12.30pm

SPECIAL HALF-TERM MEETING * * * PRESENTATION COMPETITION * * * Each child will give a talk for about 5 minutes on a topic of their choice, with slides if they wish, followed by Q&A. This has proved a very successful format in the past with some excellent presentations on the Solar System, Asteroids, the Island of Mauritus, the History of the World to name a few.

Note! This meeting has a special venue and is limited to 4 or 5 members. Please contact for details.

Sunday 7th November 10.30 - 12.30pm

CAN YOU USE A SWING ON THE MOON? The Ups and Downs of Gravity Tom Jacobs, the physics teacher you wish you had, is back with plenty of demonstrations. He will start from basics but quickly move to the weirder aspects.

Sunday 21st November, 10.30 -12.30am

MICHAEL FARADAY, THE FATHER OF ELECTRICTY Using a toy remote controlled car Michael Faraday himself (alias Spectrum Drama) will come to explain the story of electricity with the help of a remote controlled car (Batteries; Motor; Radio). He will explore early statics and the nature of electricity and molecular structure with the emphasis on the movement of electrons. Next the birth of early batteries 'Frogs Leg soup and Volta's Pile' - culminating in the discovery of electromagnetism. We will also hear about his life and his relationship with Sir Humphrey and especially Lady Davy. No, nothing salacious - she treated him like a serf and he hated her! There will also be a mention of Benzene and Optics. Then the breakthrough - Linear Induction, that makes the modern generation of electricity possible. Using a modern plasma Ball and neon light he will demonstrate simple radio that came from his work.

Spring 2011

Sunday 16th January 10.30 - 12.30pm

TRAVELLING THROUGH TIME with Michael O'Callaghan Make sure that you are in good time for this talk! Michael will try to convince you that time travel into the future, like we see in Dr Who, is not only possible, but has already been done. We'll see how to use maths to work out where in the future you want to land. We will also find out how to see 800 years into the past, or even further. You need never be late for school again! Michael will also answer any science questions you have.

Sunday 6th February 10.30 – 12.30pm

"SURREY'S GOT TALENT!" Presentations by club members Children - come with your own presentation. You are invited to prepare a 5 minute talk on your own chosen subject, to be followed by questions. As we have a digital projector you could bring photos or other slides, or demonstrate a computer game. We promise to be a friendly audience! There will be prizes for the best presentations.

Parents - if your child would like to present, please email . If the presentation includes slides etc., please bring a memory stick. Please let me know beforehand if you can, or just turn up with the presentation or demonstration. It doesn't have to be academic - if your child has a collection they'd like to show or a hobby they'd like to talk about, they'd be more than welcome!

Sunday 13th February 10.30 - 12.30pm

Note - booking required

"HOLLYWOOD COMES TO EXPLORERS" with the Studio Film School A film-making workshop with professionals from the Studio Film School. Children will learn the basics of film production including developing a storyline and planning camera shots. If all goes well we will make a short film on the day.

Places are limited, so please email us if your child wishes to come. The cost of this event will be £10 for members of the national NAGC, and £15 for non-members.

Saturday 26th - Sunday 27th February

Held in Bedford

NAGC's BIG Family Weekend is coming to Bedford! On Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th February 2011 hundreds of children with high learning potential and their parents will come together for this fantastic event. Children up to the age of 12 can take part in a wide range of workshops including Dinosaur Detectives, New World Anthem, Mission to Mars and Fencing.

Booking required via the NAGC Website

Sunday 6th March 10.30 – 12.30pm

"MEET THE AUTHOR" with local children's writer Kirsty Riddiford Kirsty will be reading from her book Ben and the Book of Prophecies, and inviting the children to develop the story further. Kirsty will also be passing on tips on how budding writers can use creative words to convey the image to their readers.

Sunday 27th March 10.30 - 12.30pm

"THE DAY THE APPLE DROPPED" with Sir Isaac Newton The famous scientist, with the assistance of our friends at Spectrum Drama, will tell us about that famous day in the orchard which changed completely the way that humankind looks at the world.

Sunday 17th April 10.30 - 12.30pm

"SURREY'S GOT YET MORE TALENT" back by popular request, more presentations by our younger members.

Children - come with your own presentation. You are invited to prepare a 5 minute talk on your own chosen subject, to be followed by questions. As we have a digital projector you could bring photos or other slides, or demonstrate a computer game. We promise to be a friendly audience! There will be prizes for the best presentations.

Parents - if your child would like to present, please email me. If the presentation includes slides etc., please bring a memory stick. Please let me know beforehand if you can, or just turn up with the presentation or demonstration. It doesn't have to be academic - if your child has a collection they'd like to show or a hobby they'd like to talk about, they'd be more than welcome.

Autumn 2011

Sunday 9th October 10.30am - 12.30pm

THE AMAZING ESME. Gilbert Giggles, comic illusionist, conjurer and wit and the closest thing to Pied Piper you will ever see, has teamed up with children's author Tamara Macfarlane. They create a fictional world with eccentric plot twists to entice children into writing fantasy and creating characters. This is part circus skills workshop, part story-telling.

Saturday 15th October 2.30-4.30pm

HOW THE ROYAL NAVY MOULDED MODERN BRITAIN with Commander Alastair Wilson Cdr Wilson was a career naval officer, before running the Historic Dockyards at both Chatham and Portsmouth. He is the author of Who's Who in Naval History (Routledge, 2004) with another book "on the stocks", a guide to visiting HMS Warrior at Portsmouth.

His theme will be How the sea and the Navies (Royal and Merchant) got this country where it is now and how the three ships at Portsmouth, Mary Rose, Victory and Warrior, illustrate this.

This event was postponed from last term.

Sunday 6th November 11.00am - 1.00pm (please note later start)

MARIE CURIE will come as herself to tell the story of her turbulent life. She will explain how she came to make the discoveries that make her probably the most important female scientist in the world, what exactly radioactivity is, how it changed the direction of science and the developments it unleashed. Another visit from the always-popular Spectrum Drama.

We will hold our Annual General Meeting - which will be brief! - in parallel with this session. All parents/carers are welcome to come to this.

Sunday 27th November 10.30am-12.30pm

SCIENCE PUZZLES WORKSHOP. Philip Searle promises an hour or two when you will be baffled, bemused and bewildered as he and his assistant (and son) Josh display their amazing range of scientific puzzles. You won't believe your eyes as solid blocks change shape and wheels roll uphill!

Spring 2012

Sunday 22nd January 10.30am-12.30pm, Shepperton

FILM SOUND: WHAT IS THAT ALL ABOUT? One of our parents, Jens Christensen, has generously offered to give us a talk at the world-famous Shepperton Film Studios. We will meet at the studios at 10.30, and the session should finish by our usual time of 12.30.

During this talk you'll learn about the history, methods and technology of making film soundtracks. The talk will take place in a Mixing Theatre at the famous Shepperton Film Studio, where films like 'Harry Potter' and 'Hugo Cabret' were filmed.

Numbers are limited to 15 children, and we need to know names in advance. So please let us know as soon as you can if you plan to come, by email to

Sunday 26 February: 10.30-12.30

THE MATHEMATICS OF GAMES WITH JOHN FOLEY John will show how games are really maths in disguise - not just number games, but also prisoners' dilemma, pattern recognition in chess, Spoof and lots of pen and pencil games. He will also talk about the use of maths in real life, and how it is maths that drives submarines, Formula 1 cars and nuclear power. A fun session for children of all ages.

Sunday 11 March: 10.30-12.30

MY THOUGHTS ARE STITCHED TO THE STARS! with Dr. Francisco Diego, University College London. A talk on astronomy. Dr. Diego is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UCL. The quotation is from the 16th. century philosopher Giordano Bruno. No need to book.

Sunday 18 March: 10.30-12.30

YOUTH LEADERSHIP TRAINING WITH JULIA CLOKE (NAGC) Are you aged 9+? Then join in this workshop to learn and practice leadership skills such as how to take part in a debate, try your hand at various roles on a committee, as well as try some fun, creative games and activities. If you enjoy it and are good at speaking up, you could potentially join the NAGC Youth Board next year. A member of the Youth Board will be joining the session. The NAGC has obtained special funding for this workshop. (It is aimed at 9+, but we will be organising games and puzzles for younger ones as well). We need a quorum of about 6 children, so please email if you are intending to come.

Autumn 2012


£7 per child on the door, no need to book.

10.30am Sunday 30 September, CALLING THE SHOTS! [ 8-13 year-olds]

Nick Handel is a former senior BBC producer who now trains directors starting out in the television industry and has recently published a children's novel. "Newskids on the Net" is a thriller about a group of teenagers who start their own TV news station on the internet. Nick's particular way of writing is to first 'direct' each scene as a 'movie in his head'. Thinking of stories as 'sequences' made up of different 'shots' is an excellent way of bringing written work to life in the imagination. You might say that 'shots' are the equivalent of 'sentences' - each one has a special part to play in telling a story and is designed to have a particular effect on the audience. Nick will be talking about his career in television and, using video illustrations, explaining how all film techniques (from characterisation to lighting and sound) can be transferred to the written word. By tapping into that connection, we can build zest, confidence and creativity in our literacy work. He will be signing copies of his novel to anyone wishing to purchase them at £5.99. Please bring the money in on the day.

12.00pm Sunday 7 October HONEY BEES [8-13 year-olds]

Note start time!

Dr Karin Alton from the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects at Sussex University will bring a hive full of bees just in time before - well what exactly does happen to bees in the winter? She will talk about their extraordinary skills in foraging, navigation, architecture, and division of labour. The sudden collapse of bee colonies has made everyone aware of how without bees there would be no flowers and no crops. After hearing Dr Alton, you will all want to become bee-keepers!

10.30 Sunday 28 October THE SCIENCE OF ZOMBIES [8-13 year-olds]

Led by Dr. Anna Tanczos. We will have a look at Zombies in modern pop culture, in history and stories of real life Zombies in Haiti. The science is about puffer fish toxin, what happens if we don't have enough salt in our diets, reanimation, biting, brain diseases and more. Some advance information is at

10.30 Sunday 18 November AN ANAMORPHIC ART EXPERIENCE [8-13 year-olds]

With Philip Searle. We will discover a world of weird (and unbelievable) Art in hidden perspectives in Paintings, Photographs and TV that defy all 'normal' perspectives and so appear to 'float' in mid air or 'stand-up' (when they are supposed to be totally flat). We will also be exploring some 3D exhibits in class for you to marvel at and wonder 'how do they do that'?! Children will get a chance to plan their own 'impossible' perspectives and we will show everybody (parents included) how to do this in class in the second half of the talk and this you can take with you back to school or home for more discoveries!


Working towards a CREST Award - these will be held on:

Advance booking requested: please email if you are interested –

Costs: child member £10, child non-member £12, child concession £6, under-4s free. If you book all four workshops and pay on the first day, you pay only for three!

Technology and design are essential to modern life - from the clothes we wear, the food and water we drink, to the homes we live in. Over the next few months we will look at features of design and technology, which have made our own life possible and comfortable, and ask why science and art are so intrinsically linked, and why they are both so important to us.

'Design solutions' incorporates two workshops, one art oriented, one science oriented, both interlinked. This term we look at textiles and the clothes we wear, in order to investigate materials.

Along this journey we will learn many things. Firstly, we will learn to think deeply about the little things in life that we take for granted - we will learn how to ask questions. Secondly, we will learn to think like a scientist, we will design projects, which answer our questions. Thirdly, we will begin to understand how important art is to science and specifically to design. While we do this, we will keep a diary of what we have learnt - a special keepsake scrapbook detailing our journey to a greater understanding of the world around us, and we will begin to consider the importance of reportage to science.

Our adventure starts in September with a discussion of 'what is art' and its relevance to science, in Art; and a discussion of fluorescent materials and a coat design project in Science.

In October we consider the properties of the perfect coat, with an investigation of absorption in Science, and by way of a comparison with modern materials creation we try making materials the old-fashioned way, by felting, in Art.

In November we will conclude this term's adventure with a discussion of shoes in Science, and in Art we will try weaving and other techniques, which make yarn strong and usable.

Spring 2013


£7 per child on the door, no need to book.


Note There will also be a parallel Design Workshop session

Open to any Explorer who has a interest in any topic on which they would like to give a 5-minute talk, followed by Q&A. We will have time for around half a dozen presenters. They will be judged on knowledge, delivery and visuals, obviously taking age into account. Please reply to if your child would like to enter, with their age and chosen topic, or if your Explorer would like to join the panel of judges. Even if not competing or judging, please come anyway as we need an audience! (no charge). Previous winners have given fascinating presentations on Near-Earth Objects, Jelly Babies and the History of the World in Five Minutes.

10.30 Sunday 3rd February CODES AND CIPHERS

Codes and Ciphers in History and Mystery - from The Hobbit to Winston Churchill! A chance to make your own cipher, break some real ones, and have a look at others which nobody has (yet) broken. Nick Pelling runs the Cipher Mysteries blog, wrote the highly-acclaimed book "The Curse of the Voynich", appeared in National Geographic's "Ancient X-Files", and has lectured at London Rare Book School. Bring your impossible questions on famous codes and ciphers, the more the merrier!

10.30 Sunday 10th February MAD BAD AND DANGEROUS TO KNOW

Dr Anna Tanczos from SciCommStudios will be making a return visit to Surrey Explorers with an expose of six famous scientists and the things that they got up to including duelling, making lightning and weighing the world.

10.30 Sunday 3rd March LIGHT DRAWING

Dr Kathryn Harkup, also from SciComm will give an introduction to the science of light and photography. Using LEDs and long exposure digital photography we will make some stunning images.

10.30 Sunday 17th March GENES AND PROTEINS

Postponed from 20th January, Dr. Andrew Martin from University College London (an ex-Explorers parent, previous chairman of this branch and still webmaster) will tell us about what our bodies are made of at the sub-microscopic level. We will find out about how our DNA is copied, how proteins are made and how computers help us to understand the human genome and the proteins it encodes. As well as some kitchen chemistry, there will be lots of games to play including the transcription and translation games!


Working towards a CREST Award - these will be held on:

Advance booking requested: please email to reserve a place.

Costs: child member £10, child non-member £12, child concession £6, under-4s free.

The final workshop of a series of four on design and technology, leading to the Star Award. If your Explorer has not attended the earlier workshops, he or she is still very welcome.

Technology and design are essential to modern life - from the clothes we wear, the food and water we drink, to the homes we live in. Over the next few months we will look at features of design and technology, which have made our own life possible and comfortable, and ask why science and art are so intrinsically linked, and why they are both so important to us.

'Design solutions' incorporates two workshops, one art oriented, one science oriented, both interlinked. This term we look at textiles and the clothes we wear, in order to investigate materials.

Along this journey we will learn many things. Firstly, we will learn to think deeply about the little things in life that we take for granted - we will learn how to ask questions. Secondly, we will learn to think like a scientist, we will design projects, which answer our questions. Thirdly, we will begin to understand how important art is to science and specifically to design. While we do this, we will keep a diary of what we have learnt - a special keepsake scrapbook detailing our journey to a greater understanding of the world around us, and we will begin to consider the importance of reportage to science.

Autumn 2013

10.30 Sunday 6th October SPECTRUM DRAMA: BOUDICCA

Some call her a brutal savage massacring thousands in an attempt to destroy a sophisticated civilisation. Others call her a patriotic leader rising up against an alien occupying power. Boudica herself (with thanks to Spectrum Drama) - flaming hair, golden necklace and fierce eye - will be coming to Kingston to describe her dramatic life and death. We will also learn what it is like to live in Roman Britain. (If you have time before Oct 6th go and see her statue on Westminster Bridge).

10.30 Sunday 3rd November - TWO PARALLEL SESSIONS

For Parents: What is 'Giftedness' and How to Cope

Dr Wenda Sheard, board member of Potential Plus UK and past president of the US equivalent SENG, Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted ( will be making a return visit to Surrey. Dr Sheard has writes extensively on giftedness and will give advice on how to bring out the best in your bright child while keeping yourself and family life on an even keel as well as answering all your questions.

For Children: The Mad Chemist

Richard Thieret will entertain you while you learn about chemistry in a fun, interactive environment. Mr. Thieret is a teacher at The American School in England.

10.30 Sunday 10th November THE FUTURE OF AVIATION

For all aspiring pilots and aeronautics engineers, Paul Norris will talk about the history of supersonic flight, focussing on the design, development and operation of Concorde, the conclusion of the crash investigation (and some other interesting ones) as well as the future of air travel.

Why do planes not fall out of the sky? Is the sound barrier really a barrier and what is the sonic boom? We will look at the basics of flight and test our theories on some paper aeroplanes. Very quickly in the history of aviation, a plane in the sky became as routine as a bus on the street. But then came Concorde! People would look up and clap. Paul Norris will talk about the history of supersonic flight, the design and operation of Concorde, the conclusion of the crash investigation (and some other interesting ones) and why it is not the future of air travel it was thought to be. If you are not an aspiring pilot or aeronautics engineer you soon will be!


After a successful parallel session for parents last week, we will be doing the same again this Sunday to coincide with Paul Norris's Aviation workshop. This time we will have an informal discussion on coping with a gifted child.

After the meeting we will hold a quick AGM. All are welcome.

10.30 Sunday 24th November PUZZLING SCIENCE WORKSHOP

Philip Searle, a compulsive puzzler and author of several books of puzzles, will present a few choice brainteasers, give some tips and award prizes for the most ingenious Explorer solvers.

Other Recommended Activities for Children

Surrey Explorers meetings are intimate, lively discussions prompted by our distinguished speakers, quite different from school and from public events. There are also some good public events coming up:

Wimbledon 'BookFest' in October

Royal Institution Christmas Lectures

For those who want to be on TV for the (RI) Christmas Lectures this year, there is a ballot closing 18th September. Tickets are £25 for children and £35 for adults!

The lectures will be televised and all the past Christmas (2010 to 2003) RI lectures are available online

Spring 2014


with David Cherry. How does the internet work? What is the difference between the Web and the internet, wi-fi and mi-fi, 3G and 4G? Are your photos really stored in a cloud? As well as answering all these questions, David will talk about how a computer knows what to do, along with many other technological bits and a bytes.


Meet Squidy, the only trained Squid in captivity. He goes up and down in a bottle on command (and is somewhat disobedient). He explains how submarines work and how forces act in strange ways. Try the Rocket and Spinning Balloons. Race balloons with jet cars. Look through diffraction grating glasses. See tornados in a bottle, handle the repulsive magnets and make elephant's toothpaste. Have no preconceived ideas about science.


Kate and Richard Summers will talk about FAMOUS ARTISTS AND THEIR ART. In the second half of the morning there will be a chance to try out the techniques, styles and ideas of the great painters and architects.


The great Victorian engineer talking about his life and works. From the Thames tunnel, the first in the world to be built under a navigable river, to the world's largest steamship 'The Great Eastern', and all of the bridges, tunnels, railways and steamships along the way, Darryl Boot from Spectrum Drama, originally from the Science Museum, will bring the man and his achievements to life. Brunel was so interesting and entertaining when he came to Surrey Explorers in 2009, we have invited him back for a second visit.

Summer 2014

We are very pleased to be able to offer a summer school this year, with more time than our usual meetings for children to get fully immersed and involved and to get to know each other. Parents are welcome to stay for all or part of each day, but this is not required.


10am - 5pm 23rd July, 28th July and 5th August £22 per child per day

To be held at St Paul's School, Lonsdale Road, Barnes SW13 9JT

For 8 - 13 year-olds, but open to aspiring writers of any age.

Three full days of workshops and talks will build up to a book of short stories written by the children which we will publish ourselves. Each day is stand-alone if you cannot come to all. We will start with an idea hunt, going on to Plot and Character with some instruction on what might grandly be called literary techniques - tricks with language, imagery, not stating the obvious, creating tension, mystery and comedy. We will also look at poems and script writing for TV and film. As most people who write creatively for a living are in more mundane occupations like marketing and journalism, we will look at these too. There will be plenty of discussion as well as feedback on the children's work, with breaks for outdoor games.

A writer steals from his or her own life, from others' lives and from other writers' work. Imagination is nothing more than stealing unexpected things from unexpected places so it's not difficult to learn. The sessions will be led by taught by young writers (and some old ones too) as well as our panel of children's authors: Josh Lacey (A Dog called Grk, Island of Thieves, Bearkeeper, Dragonsitter), Cath Howe (The Curse of the Highwayman, The Revenge of the Highwayman) and Marcus Alexander (Keeper of the Realms)

See, hear and think like a writer and capture those thoughts! * gain confidence in your imagination * is there a bigger truth behind your story? * wage war on cliché * start your own school magazine * widen your reading * enter competitions

St Paul's School is located on the south side of Hammersmith Bridge. Free parking.

£22 payable on the day includes drinks and snacks, but please bring your own packed lunch.

Places are limited. Please book by replying to 'jennyclive' at, stating your child's full name, school and age and your contact details.

Autumn 2014

October 5th 10.30 MICROBES : FRIENDS AND FOES with Prof Mark Fielder, Professor of Medical Microbiology at Kingston University

Microbes are an ever present force in nature - there are good microbes and bad and we need to understand both. During this interactive session we shall, together, explore the world of microbiology both good and bad from the production of food and drink through to the cause of disease and pestilence. We will have a look at vaccination and antibiotic resistance and recent disease epidemics – including Ebola and Salmonella.

See his blog.

October 19th 10.30 CONSTRUCT A ROCKET

Dr Andrew Hanson from the National Physical Laboratory will work from first principles to design the perfect water rocket. We will all set about building one, then stand well back and launch them all on a high speed departure in a dramatic demonstration of Newton's Laws.

November 2nd 10.30 SAMUEL PEPYS

Samuel Pepys himself will come to visit (courtesy of Spectrum Drama) to talk about his life and times. He will bring his diary of course, but also demonstrate the great economic, political and scientific developments of his time (including building projects, the Laws of Motion, the start of the Meridian question). He will also give us the wonderful soap opera of the Royal Family, split by religion and faction.


Well, obviously the days of the week, our language, the names of our towns and villages, but also less obviously a great deal of our customs, folklore, traditions and fairy tales. And Surrey is where a lot of all this started. We will try some runes and riddles and some artwork inspired by the Lisisfarne Gospel. Our Anglo-Saxon enthusiast is Richard Summers.

Spring 2015

Sunday January 11th, 10.30 - 12.30 Surrey Explorers' X-Factor - The Annual Presentation Competition

A chance to talk about a favorite topic with a friendly and interested audience. Open to any Explorer who has an interest or enthusiasm on which they would like to give a short talk, no more than 5 minutes, followed by Q&A. They will be judged on knowledge, delivery and visuals, obviously taking age into account. Even if not competing or judging, please come anyway as we need an audience! (Audience no charge; £10/£7 per speaker/judge) Previous winners have given fascinating presentations on Near-Earth Objects, Jelly Babies and the History of the World in Five Minutes. Please reply if your child would like to enter, with their age and chosen topic, or if they would like to join the panel of judges. If your child has not yet decided on the topic, you can let me know nearer the time. We need a quorum of 4 speakers to go ahead, and limited to 6, so please give your indication of interest as soon as possible.


with Adam Stevens, former science teacher, now writing a doctoral thesis at the Open University. His kit-box of inflatable planets will explain all the latest discoveries focussing on Mars and why we should go there. He will talk about human spaceflight, climate change on other planets, some history and the search for life in the universe. Curiously we know about some planets on other stars than the outer planets of our own sun. (Please note later start time).

Sunday, February 15th, 10.30 - 12.30 HELP! LEGOLAND IS FLOODED.

A team of Geography students from Royal Holloway College will show us the consequences of flooding and how it can be prevented. They have a Lego model which some may recognise as Kingston-upon-Thames and a series of games to learn about the management of flooding. We will all work out some Lego features to the adapt the model for flood defence. For example, Lego walls may be constructed to increase the capacity of the river and defend important buildings against the water, bricks may be removed from the bottom of the river to act as ‘dredging’, or foam blocks could be added (acting as trees) which absorb some of the moisture. To put our defences to the test we will ........ADD A LOT OF WATER.

Sunday March 8th TO FRACK OR NOT TO FRACK?.

Sean Mcquaid, oil rig veteran, will demonstrate how gas gets into rock, how to get it out and what it might be like to have a shale gas well in your back yard. He will also talk about oil exploration more generally and the awesome technical achievements and dangers of pumping oil deep under the sea and in the Arctic.

* * * * * S T O P    P R E S S * * * * *

...with Philip Searle, Educational IT consultant.

TO BE HELD AT PUTNEY* METHODIST CHURCH, Gwendolen Avenue SW15 6SN (5 mins from Putney mainline station and East Putney District Line). The church is on the corner of Gwendolen Avenue and Upper Richmond Road.

*Putney not in Surrey? Well, it used to be before London took it over in 1889.

Please book your place by email with the name and age of your child.

The workshops will run over four days, but each day is a standalone session. See details below!

Time 11.00 - 15.00 Earlier drop off and later pick up can be arranged. Cost £20 for your first day. For your second, third and fourth day £15. Lunch will be provided. Please pay cash on the day.

Equipment: Please bring a laptop with its charger. Please let us know if you cannot get hold of a laptop.

The age ranges are indicative and a younger child with a keen interest in computing would be welcome.


From 10.00 Registration and playground or indoor play

Earlier drop-off and later pick-up by arrangement.

The venue has free parking for approximately 4 cars, otherwise metered parking. Putney Leisure Centre on Dryburgh Avenue, 8 minutes walk, has free parking for up to 2 hours (all day if you have a swim!)

* * * * * S T O P    P R E S S * * * * *



Tuesday 26th May 2015 11am - 3pm

We are very pleased to be able to offer another computer workshop at half term. All ages 6 - 12 are welcome.

Create a film in a day, marrying up your creativity with your computer skills. Alan Harrison normally teaches stop frame techniques as an after-school club over eight weeks so be prepared for the speeded up version!

Working in groups of two or three, you start with blocks of plasticine, create your characters, come up with a storyline and take photos for the film. Stop frame animation gives the filmaker's imagination far more freedom than any live action filming. Using green screen technology we add titles, credits, music and sound effects, before finishing off with a gala presentation. If you have a toy that you might like to include as a prop, please bring it along.

All equipment is provided, no need to bring laptops. All you need to bring is a memory stick if you would like to take your film home with you.

Venue: PUTNEY METHODIST CHURCH, Gwendolen Avenue SW15 6SN (5 mins walk from Putney mainline station and East Putney District Line). The church is on the corner of Gwendolen Avenue and Upper Richmond Road. The church has a small car park, otherwise metered parking. Putney Leisure Centre, 6 mins walk away on the Upper Richmond Road, has free parking all day for customers, (£4.50 for a swim).

Parents are welcome to stay if they wish (tea and coffee provided).

Cost: £20 per child including buffet lunch. Please pay cash on the day.


Booking essential by email to:


From 10.30 Registration and playground or indoor play

Earlier drop-off and later pick-up by arrangement.


21st July, 3rd and 28th August 2015

To be held at Tower House School, Sheen Lane, East Sheen SW14 8LF

Suitable for 8 - 14 year-olds.

Further information - 22 May 2015 We now have additional teachers for slightly younger children, so I am pleased to say we can welcome everyone from 8 upwards instead of 10 as previously stated.

Three days of workshops and talks bringing together young book-lovers and authors.

The aim is to provoke a critical approach to reading and give confidence in taking on some of the major works, moving on from Malorie Blackman to Byron, from Anthony Horowitz to Gerard Manley Hopkins. We will examine texts, film clips and pop lyrics, and explore the references and discuss why they work or don't work. Talks by authors will be interspersed with break-out groups split by age and interest led by sixth-formers and undergraduates studying English Literature. Our principal speakers are Joe Craig, bestselling author and creator of Jimmy Coates; Alex Woolf, writer of sci-fi, crime and history; and Ann Jungman, best known for her humorous fantasy.

Each day is stand-alone if you cannot come to all.

Places are limited. Please book by emailing stating your child's name, school and age and your contact details. Pay by cash or cheque on the day. Bring a packed lunch. Unmetered parking. Parents welcome.

Tower House School (188 Sheen Lane, SW14 8LF) is close to the junction with Sheen Gate Gardens (please use the main entrance on Sheen Lane, not the junior school entrance on Sheen Gate Gdns). Unmetered parking. Parents welcome to stay. The school is close to the centre of East Sheen, fairly close to Sheen Gate, Richmond Park. Nearest station is Mortlake.

Timetable for 28th August

Registration from 10.00am for a prompt start at 10.30am

What to bring:

  1. £25 fee per child, exact change if possible (or cheque payable to Surrey Explorers).
  2. Packed lunch.
  3. Cash for your child if he or she would like to buy a signed copies of books

Preparation (optional) Think about a good book you have read, what appealed to you, was the hero all good and the villain all bad. Did you feel changed in any way as a result of reading the book? If you are able to write a review, please bring it along.

SATELLITE IN A CAN, 27th September 2015, 10.30am-12.30pm

£5 per child on the door (£7 for non-members), pay on the door.

It may not have received as much publicity at the Eurovision song contest or the Tour the France, but this year it was the United Kingdom which won the European Space Agency's CanSat competition to send a simulated satellite into space, accomplish a mission and send the results back to earth (yes we beat the Germans at engineering). Under the rules, the entire apparatus including power, sensors and communication equipment has to fit inside a coca cola can. Members of the winning team, Team Impulse from St Paul's School SW13, will bring all the kit, build it step by step (with your help) and re-create the entire experiment as far as is possible within the confines of a room. They will explain the physics, programming and electronics and the perils of undertaking such a project.

Suitable for 8-12 year olds, or younger children with a keen interest in science.

TOM CREAN, ANTARCTIC EXPLORER, Sunday 4th October 2015

£7 PPUK members, £10 non-members, pay on the door.

The Irish explorer Tom Crean, alias Spectrum Drama, will be making us a visit unseasonably clad in furs and boots to tell us about his extraordinary life. He survived two years on board Discovery immobilised by ice floes, the first scientific investigation of the Antarctic, then Scott's Terra Nova race to the South Pole and finally Shackleton's Endurance expedition which demanded unimaginable courage and comradeship after the ship was crushed by ice.


£7 PPUK members, £10 non-members, pay on the door.

Astronomer Seb Jay will start with a guided tour of the night sky over Surrey for 15th November, picking out the best objects to see with binoculars and telescopes. We will then go on a space adventure to the moon and planets in an imaginary spaceship. Back in a real life activity, the seasons, the phases of the moon, the tides, the daily rising and setting of the sun and the movement of the stars in the sky will all become clear. Finally, have you ever made a black hole?

MATHEMATICAL ORIGAMI, Sunday 22nd November

£7 PPUK members, £10 non-members, pay on the door.

Make your own flexagons, those extraodinary 3D puzzles, starting with a hexagon or a set of triangles and some pictures, see the images appear and disappear and then reappear in a kaleidoscope. Please bring a laptop. We supply the paper.

PLASTICS AND POLLUTION, Date to be announced

Details to follow


Kingston Hill campus, Kingston University

Surrey Active Science will be arriving in a van packed with laboratory equipment for two days of Hands-on-Science. Working in pairs we will be investigating, testing theories, making observations and all the other things that scientists do. On the second day (Wed 28th Oct) there will also be a parallel Young Literature day. Unlike the Sunday morning meetings these require booking (see below). Please bring a packed lunch.

Tuesday 27th October, Hands-on Science 10:00-15:30

BOOKING REQUIRED: £25 for members of PPUK, £27 for non-members.

Forensic Science A crime scene is set up. You have the means to solve the mystery by investigating the clues and ensure your evidence will stand up in court. Examine trace evidence to identify the minerals, fibres, hairs and powders, test for fingerprints and match them to the suspects.

Wednesday 28th October, Hands-on Science, Parallel Session 1. 10:00-15:30

BOOKING REQUIRED: £25 for members of PPUK, £27 for non-members.

Morning: Rocks and Soils: where do they come from; the rock cycle; fossils; how can a rock be soft and how can it be porous; rock families; viewing crystals in rocks through the microscope. Surrey Active Science have a huge range of specimens for investigating. Bring your own rock if you can find an interesting one (not too big!), or a sample of soil.

Afternoon: Data Logging: how light is it in your pocket, which curtains are best for a dark bedroom, heart-rate and exercise, speed of your reflex, which is the best colour for a car on a hot day; infra-red detection; how noisy is your classroom. We will use all types of sensors and measuring instruments, plot the data and draw some conclusions which may not always be what you expect.

Wednesday 28th October, Young Literature, Parallel Session 2. 10:00-15:00

BOOKING REQUIRED: £15 for members of PPUK, £17 for non-members.

YOUNG LITERATURE : READ MORE WIDELY AND MORE ADVENTUROUSLY. What makes a story appeal and what is the mark of a good writer. Some close reading of texts to appreciate language, atmosphere and character. As in the summer school, this will take the form of small discussion break-out groups led by English Lit. students and an author visit. There will be supervision for the children to cover the full day (10:00 - 15:30) if required.


Engineering Activity Day

Potential Plus UK are working together with Exscitec, a provider of science and technology activities, to bring you an Engineering Activity Day, suitable for 4 - 11 year olds, alongside a Potential Plus UK parent programme. Brief details are below:

DATESaturday 14th November 2015
VENUEDenbigh School, Milton Keynes

DESCRIPTION Become an engineer for the day, discussing what engineering is and what engineers do. Children will investigate a variety of engineering disciplines, building and experimenting with a variety of kits. Build life size mars habitats, investigate vortex rings and shoot solid fuel and air powered rockets in this fun packed hands-on day of engineering.

PARENTS A varied programme for parents who are both new to high learning potential and those that already have a good understanding. It will include social and emotional characteristics, learning strategies and thinking skills.

There is also the opportunity to join us and fellow member families for a fish and chip supper (or vegetarian alternative) and an evening of quizzing and board games.

And on Sunday 15th November [if you are not coming back to Kingston for the Stargazing session at 10.30] there is a wide range of activities in and around Milton Keynes that families could enjoy, such as Bletchley Park, Big Rock Climbing Centre, Planet Ice, or simply enjoying the local parks. Families can arrange on Saturday what they would like to do together on the Sunday.

More information and booking is available via the Exscitec website. Look for Potential Plus UK. Please direct queries to Exscitec, as they are also managing this event.

Spring 2016

Sunday January 10th, 10.30-12.30 FATHER-AND-SON / FATHER-AND-DAUGHTER Presentation Competition

A chance to present on any topic to a friendly audience. In a change to the usual format for this annual competition, we are inviting children to team up with their Dad to give a joint talk on any enthusiasm or interest they (or their father) may have. It should last no more than 15 minutes, followed by Q&A. There will be only be time for about four entries, so please reply quickly if you would like to enter, indicating child's age and likely topic. The judging will be on knowledge, delivery and visuals, obviously taking age into account (not the Dad's). Even if not competing, please come anyway as we need an audience! (Audience no charge; speaker £7 for PPUK members/£10 non-members) Previous winners have given fascinating presentations on Near-Earth Objects, Jelly Babies and the History of the World in Five Minutes and an Electronic Circuit Demo.

£7 PPUK members, £10 non-members, pay on the door.

Sunday January 24th, 10.30 - 13.00 COMIC ART MASTERCLASS

We are very lucky to have Kev F Sutherland who is the genius behind comic strips in the Beano, Dr Who Adventures and Match and will be coming all the way from Bristol. He is not only a comic artist but also comedian and seems to be capable of getting children in stitches as they are taught how to devise, sketch and complete a comic. The finished product will be produced on the day and every one will go home with their comic as well as everyone else's and a caricature of themselves. Please note the slightly later end time. Kev will run an extension lesson until 1.30pm for those who do not need to leave at 1pm. Meet him on his website

Cost £15 for members of Potential Plus UK or £14 for non-members. (No charge for adults.)

Sunday January 31st, 10.30 - 12.30 THE SCIENCE AND ART OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Would you like to learn more about how a camera works and why it makes that click when you take a photograph? Or how to take a great photograph with your phone or camera? We will go in detail into the mechanics of the camera, and the function of the various lenses. We will look at the work of some famous photographers to help you understand how they photographer take the shots so that you too can take a great photograph! Digital cameras will be provided for the children to use during the course, and they are also welcome to bring their own.

Cost £11 for members of Potential Plus UK or £12 for non-members. No booking required. Pay on the door. (No charge for adults.)

Sunday February 7th, 10.30 - 12.30 THINK LIKE A MATHEMATICIAN

Dr Doug Hainline of the Mathematics Trust, Olympiad mentor, and one of the great communicators of this subject will be returning to Surrey Explorers with his pot-pourri of mathematical problems. None of it will be anything like what you learn in a maths lesson. It will be about rules of thumb, recognising patterns, representing the problem visually - so that you will know how to approach any problem . 'How many numbers between 1 and 1000 have the digit 7'. Don't just count - there is a much quicker way. Or how about this: you have 100 cookies. The cookie monster takes 1 on the first night, 2 on the second night, 3 on the third night. How many nights before they are all gone? Dr Hainline has 1000 Olympiad problems (with their solutions) to download and take home if you bring a memory stick.

Cost £8 for members, £10 for non-members. Pay on the door.

Monday 15th February 11am - 3.30pm KODU VIDEO GAME PROGRAMMING


In this new course the children will work individually to design and program their own video game using a piece of software called Kodu. They will be taught Kodu’s When + Do programming logic and will create a variety of games that they can install and play on their PC at home. They will use an Xbox controller (which we will supply) to operate the software.

Cost £20 per child for PPUK members, £21 for non-members, lunch is provided, pay cash/cheque on the day. Please bring your own Windows laptop, let me know if you do not have one. Booking is essential as places are limited. Please email with your child's name and age.

Kodu is free from Microsoft and will run on any Windows computer. It is essential to download and install the software before arrival as it may require admin passwords. You can get Kodu from the link below. It will not run on any Apple device. All details are on the website.

Venue for Kodu workshop only is PUTNEY METHODIST CHURCH, Gwendolen Avenue SW15 6SN (5 mins walk from Putney mainline station and East Putney District Line). The church is on the corner of Gwendolen Avenue and Upper Richmond Road. The church has a small car park, otherwise metered parking. Putney Leisure Centre, 6 mins walk away on the Upper Richmond Road, has free parking all day for customers, (£4.50 for a swim).

Parents are welcome to stay if they wish (tea and coffee provided).

AGENDA for 15th Feb

Earlier drop-off and later pick-up by arrangement.

Sunday February 28th, 10.30 - 12.30 THE LADY WITH THE LAMP with Spectrum Drama

We are honoured to have a very special visitor, inventor of the pie chart, statistician, pioneer of hospital design, writer, founder of the first professional training school for nurses, battlefield saviour and - above all - the inspiration of nurses the world over, FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE!. She returns to life on Feb 28th 2016 to tell us her story. She will describe how she led a party of 38 female nurses to the Crimea in 1854 and how she worked out that more soldiers were dying of disease than of wounds in battle. While the dangers of infection are obvious to us now, she will explain what she had to do to get her medical reforms instituted, thereby saving many lives.

Cost £8 for members, £10 for non-members. Kingston Hill campus. Pay on the door.


These courses, run by novelEnglish, are highly recommended by a Surrey Explorers family. There is still space on their Easter programmes.

NovelEnglish offers the opportunity for small groups of children to attend residential literature courses on The Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall.

We are surrounded by beaches, cliff tops and fields and also have on our doorstep numerous antiquities dating back to Celtic times; it is a place where children can easily imagine the plots and settings of a great many classical novels and plays. A chance is offered to really explore and get involved with a genre, author or playwright.

We have two main age group categories: 9-11 (Years 4 to 6) and 11-13 (Years 6 and 7).

During the Easter Holidays we are planning a month long celebration of the works of Shakespeare for his 400th anniversary; the courses will run as follows:

On all courses we offer a full range of activities to complement the literature and historical time being studied: we visit many of the local areas to read texts in coves, on beaches, on moorland. We make props for the plays, we create appropriate hairstyles, we write transcriptions from the novels so they can be performed, we have midnight feasts in our traditional novelEnglish dormitory, we have story telling through the night and have lots of picnics!

Our price covers all accommodation, food, beverages, local transport, materials - we only request the child to bring their favourite novel and Teddy (or similar) with them! We have a small studio and a holiday cottage, so if a parent or a few mothers/families want to combine together in bringing their children down here we are happy to try and accommodate them.

We are happy to answer any queries that you may have either by telephone or email.

+44 (0) 1326 291076

Summer Computing Workshops - August 2016


Gwendolen Avenue SW15 6SN (5 mins walk from Putney mainline station and East Putney District Line). The church is on the corner of Gwendolen Avenue and Upper Richmond Road. The church car park has space for 8 cars, otherwise metered parking.

Advance your computer skills ... use screen time more constructively ... unleash your creativity ... learn how to capture the power of some of the latest audio-visual and graphic software.

Suitable for ages 8 to 14, but open to the well-motivated younger child. Please bring your own laptop (Mac or PC, but not a tablet). Lunch provided. Each day is standalone and limited to 12 children. To reserve a place (if you have not already) contact Jenny at £20 payable on the day (£18 for members of PPUK).


Create your own comics from photographs. It's great fun to build up a story using your own photos of yourself and your friends or anything you like. Make captions, banners and background graphics all within one program. Bring your own photos (digital SD card or on computer), or use our photo library. Your final comic book can be printed out at home.


Make your photographs talk! This will be an introductory session on making your pictures talk, wink and tell jokes. Bring in your own photos or use our photo library. After a tutorial and demonstration each child will create a basic sound and video animation.

Turn photos of people into lifelike 3D or classic 2D heads. 3D face fitting technology with one photo for instant results. Synthesize an entire 3D head by using both Front / Side photo profiles for accurate looks. Inanimate objects can also be refigured to your own design: A noisy example!

For both events...

Venue: PUTNEY METHODIST CHURCH. Gwendolen Avenue SW15 6SN (5 mins walk from Putney mainline station and East Putney District Line). The church is on the corner of Gwendolen Avenue and Upper Richmond Road. The church car park has space for 8 cars, otherwise metered parking.

Parents are welcome to stay if they wish (tea and coffee provided).

AGENDA for each day

From 10.30Registration
11.00Tutorial and Demo
11.45Getting started on animation/comic project
12.30Buffet Lunch
12.50Outdoor break
13.15Demo part 2
13.30Animation/comic project
14.30Grand showing on big screen
15.00End of the day

Autumn 2016

Sunday October 16th 10.30 - 12.30 Eugene Cernan, The Last Man on the Moon.

Kingston Hill campus. £10 payable on the door. No booking required.

A very special visitor, Captain Cernan himself (aka Spectrum Drama), 11th man to set foot on the moon and fastest man in space, will climb out of his spacesuit and describe what it is really like to be an astronaut. He was selected for two Apollo missions, in 1969 and 1972 and left behind the last footprint. He will also explain the science and technology of the rockets and what Apollo taught us about the moon and space exploration.

Tuesday 25th October 10.30 - 15.30 Young Arts and Literature Workshop

Putney Methodist Church, Gwendolen Avenue SW15 6SN £25. Please email to book. Lunch provided. Free car park.

Guest author Robert Paul Weston will talk about the medieval folklore, strange historic fads and mystical creatures that have inspired his books. One of them is the rhyming novel Zorgamazoo and through this he will describe his love of language, especially rhyme and alliteration. He has been described as a descendant of Dr Seuss. The day will be punctuated by small-group workshops led by gap-year students on a variety of topics focussed on the appreciation of books, how to construct an argument in written form, comprehension of prose excerpts and poetry.

Sunday 6th November 10.30 - 12.30 The Ugly Animal Roadshow

Kingswood House School, Epsom £10 payable on the door. No booking required.

The jumping slug; the common eel; the lice which lives in eyelashes, these are some of the world's less cute endangered species. Simon Watt will tell us why the world needs these these creatures and how the the ecosystem would suffer without them. A bit of an rare species himself, he is a biologist and a comedian and possessor of an encyclopedic knowledge on the natural world. He runs "Ready, Steady, Science", a science communication company committed to 'making information interesting'.

His new book "The Ugly Animals: We Can't All be Pandas" is out now.

Sunday 20th November 10.30 - 12.30 I'm no Bird Brain

Kingswood House School, Epsom £10 payable on the door. No booking required.

Birds are all around us, but how often do you stop and listen to their song or just sit and observe them? Steve Cupit, top-flight ornithologist from Surrey Bird Club can convert anyone into a bird-lover. With demonstrations, some mini-experiments for the children to perform and his slides of our feathered friends from all over the world, we will learn everything about birds including physiology, social behaviour, adaptations, migration and how intelligent they really are.

Sunday 4th December 10.30 - 12.30 Going to the Stars

Kingswood House School, Epsom £10 payable on the door. No booking required.

The difficulties of sending humans to other planets are formidable, but it could just be achieved in our lifetimes. Going to other solar systems creates problems on a totally different scale and are not simply ones of technical and economic resources. What are these problems and how might we get around them?

Spring 2017

Sunday January 15th 2017, 10.30 - 12.30 Dr Death and the Medi-Evil Medicine Show

Kingswood House School, Epsom £10 payable on the door. No booking required.

A historically, scientifically accurate panto for children and other childish people. Sneezes, wheezes, sickness and diseases are never welcome. But in the past, some of the treatments could be worse than the underlying illness. Join the time-travelling 'Doctor Death', Simon Watt, to see if he can 'cure' you. Warning: This show promises blood, guts, gore and a lot more! Topics: History of medicine, hygiene, anatomy, disease. Simon Watt runs Ready Steady Science and his Ugly Animal Roadshow for Surrey Explorers in early November was so brilliantly put together that we immediately asked him back.

Sunday January 29th 2017, 10.30 - 12.30 Father-and-Son / Father-and-Daughter (or Mother-and-Son / Mother-and-Daughter) Presentation Competition


A chance to present on any topic to a friendly audience. We are inviting children to team up with their Dad or Mum to give a joint talk on any enthusiasm or interest they (or their parents) may have. It should last no more than 15 minutes, followed by Q&A. There will be only be time for about four entries, so please reply quickly to if you would like to enter, indicating child's age and likely topic. The judging will be on knowledge, delivery and visuals, obviously taking age into account (not the Dad's or Mum's). Even if not competing, please come anyway as we need an audience! Last year's winner was a most instructive demonstration How to Swim Better, runners up were a talk on Fly fishing which we wished could have lasted the whole two hours and a carefully weighed argument on the pros and cons of Family Cars vs Supercars, and an urgent call to action on How to Save Animals from Extinction. Previous winners have been talks on Near-Earth Objects, Jelly Babies, the History of the World in Five Minutes, an Electronic Circuit Demo.

Sunday February 5th 2017, 10.30 - 12.30 The Science of Food and Cooking

Kingswood House School, Epsom £10 payable on the door. No booking required.

Have you ever wondered why eggs go solid when heated while most other things melt. What makes toffee so brittle. Why doesn't microwaving give you that delicious brown crust. Do you prefer chicken breast or leg - they're different because the muscles are used quite differently when the bird was alive. What kind of cooking pot is most efficient. This is not so much a cookery lesson, more to use the everyday knowledge from the kitchen to draw out the science - but with a bit of science you will definitely improve your cooking.

Sunday February 26th 2017, 10.30 - 12.30 Round the World in 186 days: Tim Peak's ISS Mission

Kingswood House School, Epsom £10 payable on the door. No booking required.

Of course Tim Peak went round the world a lot more than once - we'll calculate exactly how many orbits. Dr Heather Campbell from the Surrey University will describe the International Space Station and its first British astronaut, the launch on Soyuz, the docking, the spacewalk, the landing, the experiments on board and some early findings.

Sunday April 2nd 2017, 10.30-12.30 Car Physics

Kingswood House School, Epsom £10 payable on the door. No booking required.

The internal combustion engine has not changed since Ford's Model T in 1908 in its basic design. If you understand how it works you will know all that there is to know about thermodynamics. Dr Sean Mcquaid will explain all. He will bring his perspex model engine and demonstrate such things as vaporisation, gas expansion and condensation as well as talking about cooling systems, horsepower and fuel efficiency. Sean is well known to Surrey Explorers from his informative and entertaining talk on fracking, an oil man for his day job but his real love is cars.

Monday April 3rd and Tuesday April 4th 2017, 10.30 - 16.00 Easter Holiday Maths Workshop

Putney Methodist Church, Gwendolen Avenue SW15 6SN. £25 per day, or £40 for both days. £2 discount per day for Potential Plus UK members. Payment on the day and the price includes lunch. Numbers are limited. Please reserve a place by email with your child's name, age and school.

Two full days with the Problem Solving company who will show how to apply a mathematical approach and logical reasoning to puzzles of all kinds - numbers, electronic mazes, 3D models, tangrams and everyday situations. Using teamwork and discussion, the day should develop skills in co-ordinates and positioning, shape and measurement as well as numbers.

Sunday April 23rd 2017, 10.30-12.30 Drawing Your Stories

Kingswood House School, Epsom £10 payable on the door. No booking required.

Do you like drawing and illustrating? Would you like to learn new approaches and techniques to help you develop the characters in your stories? Viola Wang, inspirational illustrator, will share her experiences and lead you in a fun drawing workshop.

We will be working individually and in groups to learn new ways to create characters and bring them to life.

We will supply pencils and paper, just bring your imagination! Your grown-up might like to join in too. Feel free to bring your own sketchbooks and share your past creations.

Tuesday August 1st 2017, 10.30-16.00 Summer School 1
Tuesday August 29th 2017, 10.30-16.00 Summer School 2

Kings House School sports ground, Chiswick, W4. £27 per child, £25 for PPUK members. Booking by email is required.

The Summer School is back with a wider remit of arts and thinking skills and a science option as well as literature and creative writing. The morning sessions will be taught in small year groups by a team of Oxbridge undergraduates and senior boys at St Paul's School, followed by a guest author. The purpose is the same as in previous years, to inspire an enthusiasm for reading, discussion and argument. The venue has plenty of space for running around and letting off steam between lessons.

Topics will include: Revolutions; poetry analysis; what makes good writing; the idea that some things are not "true" but contestable or debatable; astronomy; Greek myths.

Guest Authors:

If you cannot come to both days, each day is standalone. Please bring a packed lunch. Places limited to 30 children. To book, reply to , stating your child's name, age, school, school year entering in September and whether you are a member of PPUK. Payment on the day.

Agenda for each day

King's House School Pavilion and Sports Ground, Riverside Drive W4 2SH is10 minutes walk from Barnes Bridge station. Free parking.

Autumn 2017

Sunday October 8th 2017, 10.30 - 12.30 Comic Workshop

A Comic Workshop with Richy Chandler, comic creator and writer. How to design a character, devise a story, illustrate your idea and produce your own comic strip.

Sunday October 29th 2017, 10.30 - 12.30 Science of Space Exploration

...with Simon Watt of Ready Steady Science. Which planet is hottest? Which would float in a swimming pool? Which is the most studied? And just how much space is in space? A live show of experiments you can recreate at home and learn about what you can see if you only look up!

Sunday November 19th, 10.30 - 12.30 A Puzzling talk

...with Philip Searle author of The More Interesting Book of Puzzling Science + Maths. Here are one or two puzzles I solved earlier, how they get into you so that everything you see becomes a puzzle. What is a puzzle anyway? Philip's book, written with his Surrey Explorers son, will be out in October published by Tarquin Educational books.

Sunday December 3rd, 10.30 - 12.30 How to Design a Satellite

...with David Wade. After considering the many applications for which we use satellites, you’ll select a mission and design your own satellite. Along the way you’ll consider the satellite’s payload, what orbit it will operate from and what systems the satellite will need to be able to work in space. This is one thing you do need a rocket scientist to guide you through, and David Wade truly is one. He is a also a Kingswood House parent.

Spring 2018

Sunday February 11th 2018, 10.30 - 12.30 Andrew Martin - Genes and proteins

Dr Andrew Martin from University College London who was Chair of Surrey Explorers about 15 years ago will run a session on our DNA and the proteins we are made of. DNA contains genes each of which codes for a protein. These proteins make up our cells and do various jobs including making copies of DNA, working our muscles to let us move and digesting our food. In the session we will start by looking at some cells, we will then work down to looking at proteins and seeing what they can do. Finally we will look at DNA itself and see how it gets copied and makes proteins.

Monday 12th February 11am - 3pm: Making electronic devices using MICRO:BIT

The micro:bit is a fully programmable handheld computer. It has a number of features including 25 LED lights, an accelerometer, Bluetooth, temperature and light sensors and multiple power outputs. Once a program have been loaded onto the micro:bit it can run on battery power and so can become a mobile computer-controlled device. The micro:bit can be programmed in a variety of ways and we will explore two different options during the workshop and create three or four intelligent devices.

The workshop will be led by Alan Harrison, director of ComputerXplorers, on his third visit to Surrey Explorers, an inspiring and commanding presence. It will be a productive day.

To reserve a place, email Jenny. £20 payable on the day (£18 for members of PPUK). Suitable for age 8 upwards. Please bring your own laptop (Mac or PC, but not a tablet). Buffet lunch provided.

Venue: PUTNEY METHODIST CHURCH, Gwendolen Avenue SW15 6SN (5 mins walk from Putney mainline station and East Putney District Line). The church is on the corner of Gwendolen Avenue and Upper Richmond Road. The church car park has space for about 10 cars, otherwise metered parking. Parents are welcome to stay if they wish (tea and coffee provided).


Sunday February 25th 2018, 10.30 - 12.30 James Lind - A cure for scurvy

A special visitor James Lind, 'Gor Limey! ship's surgeon who discovered the cure for scurvy in 1753 will be travelling through time to 2018. He will tell us about his life, his seagoing days and how he went about investigating a disease which was claiming the lives of so many sailors. He actually invented the clinical trial. No-one will go away from hearing Dr Lind without understanding why we need vitamins! (though he didn't call them that).

Sunday March 25th 2018, 10.30 - 12.30 Reporting the News

Postponed from 4th March

Every day there are happenings good and bad all over the world : calamities like floods, but also great sporting achievements, miraculous rescues and and always there are politicians debating how we should be ruled. Who decides what is important enough to be on the TV news? Helen Wade, BBC Television reporter, will show some footage and discuss how it is influencing how we think. Try being a reporter for a day, learn how to check sources and then imagine you are in a war zone. You might also find yourself being interviewed or being the interviewer.

Sunday March 18th 2018, 10.30 - 12.30 Speaking English

The words we think in, sing in, talk in, which feed our imagination, which tell us what we are - where did they all come from? How did a few tribal dialects on a northern island become the billion-tongued language of Modern English? Why does the spelling have to be so difficult? Our speaker is a professional actor so all be delivered with a flourish, and a lot of audience participation.

TUESDAY 3rd April, 10.30 - 15.00 Shakespeare Workshop

* Discussion * Comprehension * Performance

With a quick and lively overview of the works to bring out some themes, then a close reading of a few passages, this workshop will be an introduction to Shakespeare's work. Younger ones will use abridged adaptations, older ones the original, but all will explore the imagery, the double meanings and what Shakespeare's characters tell us about ourselves. Some dialogue will be acted out with a brief scene in the old burial ground, weather permitting. By the end, you will be able to make up your own mind whether this Elizabethan playwright who did not even make up his own plots really is as good as he is made out to be.

Led by Cambridge English undergraduates assisted by sixth-formers.

Tuesday 3rd April 2018, 10.30 registration for 10.45 start. Day ends at 3.00pm

To reserve a place, email Jenny. £17 payable on the day (£15 for members of PPUK). Suitable for ages 9-14, or younger children if they are advanced readers and well motivated. Pens and notebooks and buffet lunch provided.

Venue: PUTNEY METHODIST CHURCH, Gwendolen Avenue SW15 6SN (5 mins walk from Putney mainline station and East Putney District Line). The church is on the corner of Gwendolen Avenue and Upper Richmond Road. Free parking in (smallish) church car park. Parents are welcome to stay if they wish (tea and coffee provided).

If you cannot understand my argument, and declare "It's Greek to me", you are quoting Shakespeare; if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool's paradise... if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood... if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then – by Jove! O Lord! Tut, tut! for goodness' sake! what the dickens! but me no buts – it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare. - Bernard Levin

THURSDAY 31st May, 11.00 - 15.00 Raspberry Pi Workshop, Putney

The Raspberry Pi is a fully functioning computer in the form of an ARM (that great British company which is now Japanese) chip, no different from the ARM chip inside every smartphone in the world. The ARM chip costs around £8 and is the size of a fingernail. The Pi has its own operating system and central processing unit and can do anything that a computer can do.

The workshop will be an introduction to the Raspberry Pi, the various types, how to buy them, the special features and how to use it to build a computer. As a particular application we will then program it using SCRACH to create Spirograph. Using just a little bit of maths we can then produce gorgeous and colourful geometrical patterns.

If you do not have a Raspberry Pi yet, don't worry as SCRATCH (something you may have already) can be used on any laptop. To make the SPIROGRAPH shapes on your computer! You just need to bring a laptop (any laptop) with charger. Just check that you have standalone SCRATCH installed

For the Spirograph, please bring EITHER your own keyboard, monitor and mouse (we can supply the raspberry pi) OR a laptop (Mac or PC, but not a tablet). You can download SCRATCH in advance or we can supply the software on the day. We will be using either SCRATH 2 or SCRATCH 1.4.

The workshop will be led by Philip Searle, puzzle book author and computing tutor. Suitable both for beginners and for Raspberry Pi owners who would like to explore its capabilities. Age 8 upwards. Younger children are welcome if they are keen and able or if they bring a parent.

This will be restricted to a small group and to reserve a place, email Jenny. £15 payable on the day (£13 for members of PPUK). Lunch provided.

Venue: PUTNEY METHODIST CHURCH, Gwendolen Avenue SW15 6SN (5 mins walk from Putney mainline station and East Putney District Line). The church is on the corner of Gwendolen Avenue and Upper Richmond Road. Free parking in the church car park. Parents are welcome to stay if they wish (tea and coffee provided).

Raspberry Pi is fully supported around the UK with lots of help! These are called CoderDojo's and are held locally worldwide. . It is run by the Raspberry Pi foundation.


Summer Workshops 2018

MONDAY 13th August, 10.45 - 15.00 --and-- THURSDAY 30th August, 11.45 - 16.00
Surrey Explorers Summer School, Putney

Venue: PUTNEY METHODIST CHURCH, Gwendolen Avenue SW15 6SN (5 mins walk from Putney mainline station and East Putney District Line). The church is on the corner of Gwendolen Avenue and Upper Richmond Road. Free parking in (smallish) church car park.

Enriched Learning for the curious child

Understanding Poetry * Storytelling * Lawrence of Arabia * Charles Dickens * Why go to war? * Thinking skills * ancient texts and scripture as history and literature ............ and other eclectic topics

This summer school is intended for children aged eight to thirteen to expand their comprehension and writing skills beyond what is taught in school. It is best suited for those who are creative, perhaps naturally more advanced than their peers, and who are bored or insufficiently stretched by lessons.

The school is led by Oxbridge undergraduate humanities students with help from sixth-formers from St Paul's School.

It aims to foster the super-curricular interest in literature, history and philosophy which is the perfect grounding for academic success at a higher level, as well as for a well-rounded intellectual life. Sessions will be taught in small year groups.

£25 per child, £23 for PPUK members. Buffet lunch included. If you cannot come to both days, each day is standalone. Places limited to 30 children. To book, email Jenny, stating your child's name, age, school, school year entering in September and whether you are a member of PPUK. Payment on the day.

Topics to be announced.