Balestra School Workshops Blog

Fantastic workshops in the comfort of your school!

Balestra School Workshops Blog

NEW First World War workshops for KS1 and KS2!

March 15th, 2014 · Comments Off on NEW First World War workshops for KS1 and KS2! · For pupils, For teachers, new workshops, new workshops, Uncategorized, workshop photos

WW1 primary school workshop first aidI am pleased to announce that our new First World War primary school workshop is now available to book and has already taken many bookings in the first few weeks of the launch.  Designed exclusively for the needs of primary schools I use NO GUNS OR OTHER WEAPONS in the workshop as it is based on the role of my Grandfather, who was a stretcher bearer in the First World War.
Following the same successful format of our Blitz School WW2 workshop, this new First World War workshop begins with an interactive timeline, where, as well as looking at the more serious side of the conflict, we also look at some little know lighter facts that are more suited to primary schools.  For example, pupils get to take part in a Christmas truce penalty shoot-out, learn why the first dogfight involved more fist-shaking than shooting, and also why the pigeons of France quickly lost their homes when their army advanced!

First world war workshop soldierThis is then followed by a serious of one hour activities which are perfect for either a single class or more depending on your budget and timetable.  These include looking at a soldier’s kit and trying to put on WW1 ‘puttees’; learning all about WW1 first aid and also the all important marching, where pupils learn how to do it, followed by having a go at commanding their own troop themselves.

This is all taught in a compassionate manner that respects the sacrifice of the men who died in the First World War, but also draws attention to many historical facts that primary pupils found both interesting and inspiring, such as the story of Sergeant Stubby, the American dog who went to war and got medals for saving his fellow soldiers! If you like the sound of this and would like to see more details, please visit my dedicated website for the project here: FIRST WORLD WAR PRIMARY SCHOOL WORKSHOP

First world war workshop marching

First world war workshop heavy kit!WW1 primary school workshop first aid


Magnificent festive rocket cars sign off a brilliant year!

December 20th, 2013 · Comments Off on Magnificent festive rocket cars sign off a brilliant year! · For pupils, For teachers, Fun Stuff, inventions, new workshops, rockets, science workshops, workshop photos

What a fantastic time I had on Wednesday at the most excellent St Christopher’s primary, where pupils made some super-fast rocket cars to launch across the hall with the ultimate challenge of keeping them on the straight and narrow of our specially made (masking tape 🙂 track. P1010035
Everyone really got stuck in to create and modify their designs to run as straight as possible, by adding wings on the side and top, with quite a few starting to look like formula one cars!
The day had started with just the paper rockets aimed at targets before the chassis was added to each one to turn it into a rocket car.
After lots of fun at the final launch, we went to watch some videos of some real space rocket launches, including the launch of a space shuttle which Mrs Rudd, the class teacher, had actually seen in real life!
The fun then continued in the afternoon by looking at two very different inventions, the steam train and morse code, where pupils ended a brilliant day in their inventions topic by powering our model Stephenson’s Rocket around a track and sending secret messages to their friends.
I would like to end by saying a very big thank you for letting me end the year on such a brilliant day with a bunch of teachers and pupils who were an absolute pleasure to work with. Until next time, ta ta for now!
Mr B


China’s moon rover looks like ours!

December 2nd, 2013 · Comments Off on China’s moon rover looks like ours! · Uncategorized

The news that China has sent a rover to the moon called ‘Jade Rabbit’ is certainly welcome to anyone interested in moon science, or indeed anyone running school science workshops such as ourselves. However we can’t help noticing that the rover bears an uncanny resemblance to our own moon rover that pupils control in our Rockets to Rovers space workshop!

China's Jade Rabbit moon rover

China’s Jade Rabbit moon rover

Our rover

Our rover

Our rover on its own moonscape

Our rover on its own moonscape

That’s okay though, we’ll forgive China for now so long as their rover does the brilliant job it is supposed to in finding out even more about how the moon was made and sharing that info with us all 🙂 What do you think? Let us know if you agree in the comments below or visit our science workshops website to find out more about our rockets to rovers workshop in the link below.

Our science workshops


NEW First World War workshop trench model

December 1st, 2013 · Comments Off on NEW First World War workshop trench model · Uncategorized

Hi all! I just thought I’d share this short video on a World War One trench model I am making for my new workshop.

It will be ready for 2014 and will include many things already available in my Blitz School WW2 workshop and my Victorian inventions workshop such as a fun interactive timeline; a chance to handle many genuine and replica artefacts and also related activities, all designed to give you a taste of what life was really like for the men, women and children of the First World War.
trench cap
But every good idea must start somewhere, so this video showcases a model I am making which pupils will be able to investigate in the workshop, all about trench life for both the Private soldiers and the officers in their more comfortable dugouts. I hope you enjoy it and if you have any comments or ideas for the workshop please let me know.

View the trench model video here


Our new Rockets to rovers workshop is here!

June 11th, 2013 · Comments Off on Our new Rockets to rovers workshop is here! · Uncategorized

We have had great fun in the last couple of months putting together our brand new Rockets to Rovers workshop. The workshop, which has more details here: Our primary science workshops website, involves lot of our usual exciting activities, which are all linked to science forces topics and the history of the space race from the 1960s to the present day.rocket workshop launchrocket-workshop-parachute
Activities include driving a remote controlled moon rover around a pretend moon surface, making and firing paper rockets, handling genuine space flow items including an actual sample of gold foil from the Apollo 11 moon landing command module, and finally watching a model rocket launch, complete with parachute!