A fun afternoon for the whole family

Sheffield Hallam University welcomes the public to experience the work that we do across the sciences and engineering departments.

This event is bursting full of hands-on activities for you and your children to literally get your fingers stuck in. The activities are aimed at children and adults alike and the event is free of charge.

NEW THIS YEAR: Mini-talks and demonstrations at the Pennine Lecture Theatre. 

See what last year’s event looked like: https://youtu.be/8oxHwsip-AY

You will be able to visit the following stands:

The Super Cells

Learn how the immune system and microbes work together to keep you healthy! Each super cell has it’s own unique ability to fight bacteria and viruses. But not all microbes are bad – some help the super cells. There will be activities and an animation to show you the world of the super cells!

Smart Robots

This stand provides an opportunity to see some smart robots: one working around a maze, another self-balancing on two wheels, one solving a Rubik’s cube puzzle you set and also a Meccanoid controlled by voice commands!


Fingerprints: Three villains have teamed up to pull off a heist and raid the vault to steal the Sheffield diamond. Luckily Detective Sherlock Holmes has recovered some valuable fingerprints from the crime scene. Can you act as his assistant help to match these to the suspect line-up?

Fingerprint Keyrings

Everyone’s fingerprint is unique. Come and see how the police take fingerprints and discover the intricate patterns that make up your fingerprint. Take away your own fingerprint as a memento. 

Dexter’s Lab: Blood Stain Analysis

Oh no, what a mess! Blood at the crime scene can answer a lot of questions about the crime. Put your detective hat on and see if you can help Sherlock Holmes gather clues for his investigation.

ESDA (electrostatic detection apparatus) Magic Tricks

The villains have written down where they plan to hide the stolen diamond but have taken the page and torn it up. Using science, can you help us to track down the missing jewel?!

Is your Money Real?

Forensic Lightbox: Did you know bank notes have invisible security features? Police can use different wavelengths of light to see these hidden marks and work out if money is real or fake! Can you tell which ones are the real deal?

Card Tricks in Computing

Join in with some card tricks to find out how computers store and process data. These will be card tricks with a difference – we will explain how the ticks work, so you can see the methods that computers use for fast and accurate work. No prior computing skills needed!

Body Zone

We will be using trays of wet ice to display a number of animal body organs, including heart, lungs, brains and tail bones. These will be dissected in some cases to show the attendees how they work.

Scientific Games

An interactive stand where visitors can have a go at guessing the volume of solutions, measure volumes, learn to use pipettes and race against each other filling tip boxes.

Neural Repair: Understanding Brain Recovery Following Injury and Disease

Visitors can engage in activities involving model making and other table top activities to understand dementia, multiple sclerosis, and stroke.


Antibiotics from Venoms

We will have an animal handler with snakes, scorpions and tarantulas. We will also have basins of water with ping pong balls and other floating plastic things in it to represent membranes and drugs.

Targeting Cancer Cells

Target cancer cells in this fun interactive way. You’ll learn about the body, cells and some radio-biology!

Getting to Know your Bones

Look at X-ray images and guess what they are. Come to the stall to check you are right and get a close look at replica bones and see how they fit together. There will be something for all ages including the opportunity to have bones painted on your hands.

Making a Material Impact: Auxetic Materials

Auxetic materials become thicker when stretched! Members of the research team will display a range of auxetic materials and sports protective equipment. These will be accompanied by posters and a movie describing the unusual auxetic effect and the impact protection applications that are being developed for these advanced materials in the sports and related sectors.

Gels for Back Pain

This stall will have real bovine tails to demonstrate the IVD and injections of the spine with our thermo responsive hydrogel system.

This will go together with an adjacent stand which will utilise doughnuts to explain how the discs work in your spine as shock absorbers.

Joints and Arms

This stand will include a number of augmented reality displays including an anatomy scanner and build-an-arm, together with a number of arm models which visitors can pull apart and put back together.


How do really, really small things make stuff better? Nano-materials are teeny-tiny!!  Take a 1 meter length of string and try to cut it up into a billion pieces – that’s 1,000,000,000 times.  Put these into a polymer (scientific name for plastic) or paint and they can improve their barrier, thermal, fire retardancy and mechanical properties.  Tennis balls can last longer, buildings take longer to burn and stuff can get stronger.

Elephant’s Toothpaste

In the human body enzymes act as catalysts to decompose a chemical called hydrogen peroxide (bleach) forming water and oxygen. This activity will demonstrate how chemical catalysts work, in place of these enzymes, to decompose hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen in the laboratory. 


Bubble Trouble

Explore the science behind solids, liquids and gasses. See what happens when compounds change state. We will be demonstrating dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) becoming gaseous carbon dioxide when put into water. Food colouring will also be put into the water to make the reaction more colourful!

Cabbage Juice Lab

At this stand, you will use the juice from red cabbage as a pH indicator (indicates how acidic or basic a substance is) to test common household liquids and determine their pH levels. You will mix cabbage juice with different household liquids and see a colour change produced by a pigment found in red cabbage called anthocyanin. Through this colour change, you will be able to successfully identify the approximate pH of common household liquids.

Infra-Red Spectroscopy: Bit of a stretch

The manner in which new chemicals are made or extracted is incredibly important. However without an effective way of analysing such chemicals, it becomes practically impossible to tell whether the desired compounds have been made successfully, or how pure they are. Infra-Red Spectroscopy is an analytical technique which takes advantage of the fact that different compounds tend to absorb different wavelengths of IR light. The wavelength of light absorbed by a particular chemical is dependent on the type of bonds present, therefore exposing a sample to a range of infra-red wavelengths and measuring the absorbance of light at each wavelength can give us important information regarding the chemical structure. 

Mirror Image Molecules

The same molecules with vastly different smells. A small difference in chemistry can have dramatic effects.

Fake Coins

Can you identify a fake pound coin? Based on an Expert Witness case at Sheffield Hallam University, you are challenged to identify a “genuine” counterfeit coin that was in circulation in Sheffield. Learn some simple tests you can do yourself, and find out about the way a counterfeit is proved in court.

Super Cool! – The Science of Liquid Nitrogen

This demonstration talk will explore the science of solids, liquids and gases. We will take a look at the curious properties of liquid nitrogen, which has a boiling point of -196°C, and see what happens when some everyday items are placed in this very cold liquid.

Who Stole my Easter Egg?

A terrible crime has been committed at Sheffield Hallam University – an Easter egg has been stolen from my desk! The person responsible has got away, however crucial evidence has been collected. Have you got what it takes to be a forensic scientist and can you help crack the case?

Microbes make your poo smell, but what else are they doing?

This talk will look at what poo is made of, its microbes, and all the cool things poo microbes are doing to help our  bodies work.

Working in Operating Theatres

Put on surgical gowns, hats and masks and perform a keyhole surgery! You can use our keyhole surgery equipment to put rubber bands onto pegs and threads through hoops to simulate a surgery. 


Click here for a map of City Campus. You can find us in the Atrium and Hertha Ayrton STEM building.



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