Home / Projects / Chain Reaction

Name of Research Activity

(& Document Link)

Brief Description

Potential Links to Junior Cycle LOs

Collision Course

http://www.chreact.eu/images/7-collision.png http://www.chreact.eu/images/7-collision.png

In this Brief pupils learn that the Earth has been hit several times by massive objects from space in the distant past. They are presented with information that suggests an impact from a comet or an asteroid may occur in the future, and the consequences for life on the planet could be devastating. They are asked to assess the risk of such an event occurring again and they conduct experiments that allow them to estimate the physical damage a massive object would cause to the Earth. They are also required to make recommendations as to what plans, if any, should be made to detect and track Near Earth Objects to give early warning of an imminent collision.


EaS 1, 3

PW 1, 2, 3

NOS 2, 3, 4 ,5, 7, 8


Cosmic Website

http://www.chreact.eu/images/8-cosmic.png http://www.chreact.eu/images/8-cosmic.png

In this Pupil Research Brief, you will have the

opportunity to share in some of the excitement, by getting involved in a project to create a World Wide Web site for your school which aims to tell all visitors to your site what is going on in Big Bang Science. In doing this you will not only learn some science, you will also be contributing to the public understanding of this important and expanding area of human knowledge.

EaS 1, 8

NOS 1, 6, 7, 8, 9

ET Phone Earth

http://www.chreact.eu/images/9-et.png http://www.chreact.eu/images/9-et.png


In this Brief pupils are placed in the position of a group of space scientists asked to write an article for PRISM, the PRI pupil journal, about the possibility of the existence of extra-terrestrial life. They are asked to use a number of background articles and papers as a basis for their article and also to suggest activities that the readers of PRISM could carry out - possibly an investigation. Experimental and investigative skills • analysing and evaluating evidence and drawing conclusions (from secondary sources).


EaS 1, 3,

NOS 3, 7, 8


Feed the World

http://www.chreact.eu/images/4-feed-the-world.png http://www.chreact.eu/images/4-feed-the-world.png


In this Brief pupils take on the roles of researchers in a university chemistry department research team working on the development of fertilisers. Following a press release by the World Food Commission (WFC) announcing the setting up of an educational programme for use in a number of developing countries, the research team has been asked to produce two educational leaflets. The leaflets, covering the same topic, should be aimed at two different audiences; farmers and teachers. They should explain what fertilisers are, why they should be used and how they work. To enable these leaflets to reflect both the work of the department and other current research work, the researchers have to read a series of background papers and carry out experiments and investigations on the production of ammonium nitrate and its effects on plant growth. They then plan and produce an A4 size leaflet to address the issues outlined in their briefing sheet.


EaS 5

CW 8, 9, 10

BW 10

NOS 2, 4, 7


Green Heating

http://www.chreact.eu/images/5-green-house.png http://www.chreact.eu/images/5-green-house.png

In this Brief pupils carry out simple investigations to find out which colour and type of surface is best for absorbing infrared radiation so that it can be used in a solar panel. They are given background information about solar panels and about infrared radiation from the Sun, and they are provided with information about how a scientific investigation is conducted. They must plan an investigative procedure to answer the question posed in Green Heating 3, or to test the hypothesis set out in Green Heating 4, or to find out if the prediction made in Green Heating 5 is correct or not. They should submit their plans for approval and then carry out the investigation. Reports should be written after the investigation has been conducted.


EaS 6

PW 4, 6, 8

NOS 3, 4





Green Light

http://www.chreact.eu/images/1-green-light.png http://www.chreact.eu/images/1-green-light.png


The pupils, working in groups, are invited to take the role of members of the Energy Trust’s Energy Efficient Lighting Committee. Their task is to produce a promotional newspaper advertisement to encourage the public to switch over to CFLs. They are given briefing notes and are required to work through a committee meeting agenda, taking it in turns to give short presentations on each agenda item. As well as covering basic information about light bulbs and costing electricity, they learn about the short-comings of using ordinary filament bulbs and the benefits of CFLs. They also learn about the results of market research into why some people switch to using CFLs and why others do not.


PW 8

NOS 6, 7




http://www.chreact.eu/images/10-mars.png http://www.chreact.eu/images/10-mars.png


In this Brief the teacher and pupils take on the roles of research scientists at the Institute of Planetary Research: the pupils are new students, whilst the teacher is their research director. The Institute is putting together a proposal to NASA (the U.S. National Aeronautical and Space Administration). NASA is planning to send a series of space probes to Mars over the next few years and has requested ideas from researchers worldwide about what the probes could investigate during their missions. The pupils, in their roles as researchers, are asked to help in putting together ideas about the type of investigation which the Institute could suggest to NASA. The Institute is developing theories about volcanoes on Mars. It is thought that they are caused by the same sort of processes which cause volcanoes on Earth. The Institute will therefore propose that the Mars probes investigate factors relating to the types of volcanoes on Mars and how they might have been formed.


EaS 2, 3

PW 1, 2

NOS 2, 3, 4, 6, 7


Out of Site, Out of Mind

http://www.chreact.eu/images/2-out-of-sight.png http://www.chreact.eu/images/2-out-of-sight.png


In this Brief the pupils take on the role of new research students in a university environmental chemistry unit. The unit has been asked by a waste disposal company to make a recommendation concerning the most suitable natural material, or combination of materials, to act as a liner for a landfill site. Pupils are asked to read background papers, report back to their team and then plan and carry out the investigations. A report must be written to the waste disposal company, who will then use it in an application to the county council for a licence


CW 8, 10

PW 1, 2

NOS 2, 3, 4, 6, 7



http://www.chreact.eu/images/11-phepps.png http://www.chreact.eu/images/11-phepps.png


In this Brief pupils take on the role of researchers in a university engineering department. They are asked to conduct some research into the design of a Portable Hydro-electric Power Plant (PHEPP). This is based on real work carried out at Lancaster University. The pupils have to investigate the factors affecting the e.m.f. produced by a generator. They also look at the design of the blades for the turbine so that the most efficient design to turn the generator as fast as possible is achieved.


EaS 6

PW 2, 6, 7, 8

NOS 2, 3, 4, 7


Plants in Space

http://www.chreact.eu/images/3-Plants-in-space.png http://www.chreact.eu/images/3-Plants-in-space.png


In this Brief pupils take on the role of research scientists in a university department of bioastronomy. They are asked to carry out some preliminary work to use in a competition to design a life-sustainng unit for use in a crewed flight to Mars. They are asked to carry out investigations into various aspects of photosynthesis, to work out what plants could best be used in the life-support system, and into human physiology to work out what needs a crew would have for oxygen and food on the journey. The Brief is based on an article which appeared in New Scientist in the Spring of 1996. All the research activities mentioned in the background paper are real, as are the research institutions cited.


EaS 5, 6

BW 1, 7, 10

NOS 2, 3, 4, 7


Download the Chain Reaction Legacy Webpage Document from the button below: