About the event
Edinburgh Science is more than just an organisation that runs a Festival. Our schools touring programme, Generation Science, is the UK’s longest running STEM outreach programme for primary schools, with 2020 marking our 29th year of operation. Every year we send between 10–15 interactive ‘education environments’, (linked to the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence) around the country, visiting schools in each local authority in Scotland and delivering around 1,500 workshops and performances for primary children.
Our Generation Science shows and workshops are designed to engage young learners using larger-than-life props, actions and experiments. We can’t recreate all that in your living room, but we hope that these activities can get you thinking about the topics in our shows.
Best suited for ages 7–11
Body Builders is an interactive show which explores the main organs of the body, describes their main functions and delves into the role of healthy eating in maintaining their function. In the show Doctor Watson and Nurse It Better treat a variety of patients with common ailments. Children discover the basics of the musculoskeletal, circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems and discover ways to stay healthy.
The following activities are designed to get young people to think about how our muscles and bones (our musculoskeletal system) work. Have a go and see if you can get your home learners talking about what makes them tick.
Supported by Kyowa Kirin
These questions are designed to get you and your home learners talking about the science behind these activities. We don’t expect you to know everything there is to know about our bodies, but we do find that exploring and questioning what we know inspires us to find out more.
Try using some of these Big Questions below to spark curiosity and see what other questions come up as you are completing these activities. We have provided some smaller steps under each question to help with your discussions as you’re exploring.
Starter Question: Our heart is a muscle. What does it do?
Q: What do you know about the heart? Sometimes we can hear it – why? What is it doing?
Hint: What flows in veins and arteries all around our body?
Q: Why does blood change colour? Why do veins look a different colour to arteries?
Hint: When blood picks up oxygen from our lungs, it turns bright red. Blood coming back to our heart in our veins has lost its oxygen, so it’s darker red.
Q: Why do we breathe? What happens to the air that we are breathing?
Hint: We breathe to get oxygen into our body. We need oxygen to make the cells in our body work. Our heart gets the oxygen around our body.
Starter Question: Why do muscles get sore when we exercise?
Q: To make our bodies move, what happens to a muscle? What are muscles doing to our bones to make us move? What does a muscle use when it moves?
Hint: Muscles need energy to work! They use the energy we get from our food.
Q: Is anything made inside a muscle when it is working?
Hint: When our muscles use energy they make an acid, called lactic acid.
Q: Why would it be useful for our bodies for our muscles to get sore?
Hint: You could damage your muscles if you work them too hard.
Starter Question: Why do muscles get bigger when we use them a lot?
Q: What are muscles made of?
Hint: Our body is made up of trillions of cells. Muscle cells have lots of strong parts that work together to make our muscles move.
Q: What happens to a muscle if it is bigger? Will it work differently to a smaller muscle?
Hint: Why is it helpful to our bodies to have bigger muscles?
Starter Question: Why does my heart rate and breathing get faster when I exercise?
Q: What do we use when we are doing exercise?
Hint: We need energy and oxygen when we’re exercising.
Q: Why do our muscles need oxygen? What do they use it for?
Hint: We need oxygen to make the cells in our body work. Our cells use oxygen and glucose to release energy.
Q: How does oxygen and energy get to our cells?
Hint: Our heart moves our blood, and our blood goes to every part of our body
Extension activities and questions
What other animals have muscles and lungs? Do they work the same as ours?
Interesting areas to investigate – insects and fish
How many living things exist in your garden/local area? See how living things you can find existing in and around where you live. How many of them have muscles and lungs like us? Do any of these living things need different things from us to survive? You could make this into a scavenger hunt! How many living things can you find in and around where you live? How many of them have the same organs as us? How are they different?
The daily challenge. Every day complete 20mins of exercise (do the same each day). Each day take note of changes that are happening to your body before and after your exercise. Take your heart rate – is it the same every day or does it change? What else happens to your body when you exercise? Why are these things happening?
Try our other Kid’s Lab activities here
Links to help your young learners
Facts and ideas about how our heart and our digestive systems work, with free downloadable fact sheets (free sign-up required). Suitable for adults and young learners 7+
Activities about the human body and how it works. Suitable for adults and young learners 7+
All about the heart. Please note, contains images of surgery. Suitable for adults
Animation with description of why muscles grow. Suitable for adults, or learners 12+