Science shows for schools & colleges

Matthew on stageScience presenter Matthew Tosh is a qualified science teacher and former head of physics. You can be confident that you’ll be getting a show, talk or lecture that is expertly pitched and engages your students.

This page gives a general overview of some of Matthew’s shows. You should be aware that he tailors individual shows to meet the needs of your particular school audience or event. For example: To focus on a specific area of science or a cultural event.

The costs of each show varies according to distance, so please contact Matthew for a quote. It’s worth checking out the frequently asked questions (FAQs) too as there is useful information there about logistics, health and safety.

Firework science (indoors)

Indoor flame effect

Is it real science or just flashes and bangs? This is Matthew’s most popular school show in which gunpowder, fuses, bench demos, flames and stage pyrotechnics come together to illustrate a whole range of scientific ideas: Combustion, sound waves, forces, energy transfers, shock-waves, electron transitions, circuit theory, oxidation and rates of reaction… (depending on the age group). You’ll see how science, maths and technology is used to create different effects and entertain audiences around the world. Featuring exclusive video footage from firing sites and “ground zero” cameras! Matthew also takes time to talk about the skills required, the working conditions (pretty grotty at times!) and how science and maths play an important role in what he and his crews do.

Running time: 1 hour
Setup time: 1.5 hours
Suitable for: Ages 8+

Outdoor firework science lab

Popular with organisers of activity days, fundraising events, high profile events or just an excuse for something a bit different at your school, Matthew will deliver something truly unique. Think of a large-scale outdoor science lesson, where you actually feel the ground shake and you’re pretty much there. Matthew and his team will demonstrate black powder, rates of reaction, forces, supersonic waves, energy transfers, moments, colours, aerial effects and larger fireworks, all backed up with sound science explanations. And yes, this can take place during daylight hours! Depending on the size of the audience, you will need a PA system. This can be arranged on your behalf, although most schools provide their own.

You also have the option of adding a professional display to finish off your event (additional fees apply).

Running time: 1 hour
Set-up time: 2 hours
Suitable for: Ages 6+

Gunpowder uncovered – from burning to bangs

Matthew Tosh demonstrating a burning fuseUncover the history of gunpowder, its discovery and early uses. Learn how it is used to perform different functions and create different effects. Starting with the basics of combustion, Matthew will explore how we cannot reverse these reactions or, in some cases, stop them. He’ll show materials burning under-water, early and modern day fuses and, of course, black powder. How can a minor tweak can mean the difference between a gentle fizz and a bang? Why is gunpowder good for firing projectiles?

Approx running time: 45 minutes
Set-up time: 45 minutes
Suitable for: Ages 6-14

Firework safety

Danger fireworks signNot your usual “don’t play with fireworks” talk. Matthew will be exploring, explaining and demonstrating why we have laws in the firework industry, why there are large safety distances at firework displays and why the most dangerous firework (in terms of numbers of injuries) is the common sparkler – all through science. Starting with gunpowder, it will feature a combination of demonstrations, videos and indoor pyrotechnics.

Approx running time: 50 minutes
Set-up time: 1 hour
Suitable for: Ages 5-14