Experiment with our swimming lesson ideas during British Science Week

We are celebrating British Science Week with some out-of-this-world activities for you to experiment with in your swimming lessons.

British Science Week runs from 11 to 20 March and creates some fantastic themes and experiments to bring to your swimming lessons. As a Swimming Teacher you can take on the job of becoming a scientist, astronaut and alien in a 30 minute swimming lesson!

Aliens and Astronauts

  • The Astronauts cross the Galaxy (pool) moving in different directions avoiding the Alien.
  • The Alien waits in the middle of the pool.
  • Astronauts are safe if they float with their face submerged blowing bubbles.
  • Astronauts that are caught by Aliens, also become Aliens.
  • When there are more Aliens than Astronauts, a new Alien is selected and the game re-started.

Rules: The Alien should not wait by a floating Astronaut as they may feel pressured to remain submerged for an excessive period.

This activity can be used for Swim England Learn to Swim Stages 1, 2, 5 and 7.

Equipment: Floatation equipment can be used if required.

Supports Core Aquatic Skills:

  • Buoyancy and Balance
  • Rotation and Orientation
  • Aquatic Breathing
  • Travel and Coordination
  • Water Safety
  • Health and Fitness

To make is it easier, the Alien can stand in the middle of the pool and any type of travel or movement can be used.

To make it harder, the Alien can tread water in the middle of the pool and travellers must stay upright without touching the pool floor.

Science Shapes

  • Call out the name of a science-related object. Swimmers perform the movement or shape suggested by the type of equipment.
  • Ideas:
    • Planet – Perform a mushroom float
    • Space Rocket – Perform a pencil float
    • Shooting Star – Perform a star float
    • Astronaut – Choice of floating shape
    • Alien – Bouncing on the spot

Teaching Tip: Move slowly into shapes especially when floating.

Safety Note: Allow plenty of space.

This activity can be used for Swim England Learn to Swim Stages 1 to 4.

Equipment: Floatation equipment can be used if required.

Supports Core Aquatic Skills:

  • Buoyancy and Balance
  • Rotation and Orientation
  • Streamlining
  • Aquatic Breathing
  • Water Safety
  • Health and Fitness

To make is it easier, swimmers can use support when floating.

To make it harder, participants make shapes whilst floating or work in pairs, taking turns to copy the science shape made by their partner.

Space Rockets

  • Participants must perform a push and glide as far as possible, without rolling or taking a breath.
  • They must stand up when they have stopped moving.
  • Swimmers then repeat the activity, checking for improved distance and technique.

Teaching Tips:

  • Keep the chin in the water before pushing off from the wall.
  • Put the face in the water immediately after pushing off from the wall.
  • ‘Blow as you go’.
  • Squeeze ears with arms, hand on hand.

Safety Note: Flat hands in case of contact with the pool floor.

This activity can be used for Swim England Learn to Swim Stages 2 to 7.

Equipment: Floatation equipment can be used if required.

Supports Core Aquatic Skills:

  • Buoyancy and Balance
  • Rotation and Orientation
  • Streamlining
  • Aquatic Breathing
  • Water Safety
  • Health and Fitness

To make is it easier, work in shallow water.

To make it harder, work in deeper water.

Spaceships

  • Participants race against each other blowing the spaceship to a target.
  • Swimmers pass their spaceship to a teammate at the target, who then blows it to the next target and so on.
  • The first team to complete the galactic course wins.
  • Rules:
    • The Spaceship must flip over at least once.
    • Learners must count the number of times their spaceship flips over.

Safety Note: Allow plenty of space between teams.

This activity can be used for Swim England Learn to Swim Stage 4.

Equipment: One egg flip (spaceship) per team.

Supports Core Aquatic Skills:

  • Aquatic Breathing
  • Travel and Coordination

To make is it easier, work in shallow water and allow nervous swimmers or those at lower stages to walk.

To make it harder, work in deeper water and specify the stroke that can be used.

Quick Experiments

Float or sink

  • Swimmers choose an object and decide if it will float or sink.
  • Drop the object, what did it do? Why do you think it did that? 
  • Can you retrieve the object?

Resistance

  • Swimmers travel across the pool doing different animal shapes.
  • Which movements create more resistance and what is more streamlined? 
  • For more advanced swimmers, travel across the pool holding a kickboard normally, then upright with half underwater, then upright fully underwater. Which is the hardest and why?

Forces

  • Swimmers stand in a row one behind the other, the ball starts at the front and they have to do an overhead pass, then the next person passes is under, through their legs, the ball continues to go over and under until the end, the last person travels to the front to begin again. 
  • What forces are acting on the ball? Why is it harder to push under rather than over?
  • If you have a large group do two lines and make a race. 

Save the Earth

  • Pollute the water by adding lots of floating and sinking equipment
  • Swimmers to collect the ‘rubbish’ from out of the pool both floating on top and underneath. Noodles can become pipes that are pumping pollution into the ocean.