REVIEW – Edinburgh Science Festival/Workshops at the Botanics


There are lots of hands-on activities and workshops going on at the John Hope Gateway at the Royal Botanic Gardens as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival.  Our junior reviewers were lucky enough to be able to participate in three of the workshops to give you some idea of the range of exciting things going on there.

Pongy Potions

Having watched a display demonstrating the powers of Superglue while waiting, our reviewers were eager to exercise their senses of smell and taste at the Pongy Potions table.

They had to don aprons and blindfolds, and play scientist and guinea pig. Each was given a Starburst and told to hold their nose. Then they had to eat the Starburst and try to guess which flavour it was. Who knew sweetie eating was so scientific? Our two reviewers were unable to identify the flavours in the blindfold, nose-holding test, which proved the importance of the role of smell in tasting food.

Next they had to guess which smells were fake and which were real when given a drop of essence on a piece of paper.  They fared better with this, but still didn’t get perfect scores.

Then it was the turn of horrid smells – this was optional if you were a little wary, but our reviewers smelt them all, even the really horrid ones!

Lastly, there was a choice of making perfume or bubble bath with a selection of scents to choose from. This was good fun, and they rushed home to have a big bubbly bath.

Furry Crystal Monsters

Our younger reviewer said that the workshop taught about different crystals in the world.  During the workshop the participants made a crystal garden in a bottle (although they weren’t allowed to take it home as it contained dangerous chemicals).

Our older reviewer thoroughly enjoyed Furry Crystal Monsters, the age limit of 8+ was about right, the talk was interesting and they got to bring home the Crystal Monsters to grow at home – they worked overnight and when our reviewers woke up in the morning the Monsters were glistening with little crystals.


This workshop showed how electricity was used to pass through a solution to change the colour of a copper coin by coating it with another metal.  The workshop commenced with a discussion of how electricity conducts, then a balloon was used rubbed to create static electricity and attract salt particles to stick to the balloon.  At the end of the workshop a 2p coin (copper) was turned into a silver colour.

Our reviewers really enjoyed this workshop but unfortunately their coins were not as good as they could have been – they think the solution was maybe not quite strong enough.
The age range was given as a guideline of 10+, but our 9 year old participant was quite happy doing the workshop and others there looked even younger.

Recommended: 4 stars for hands-on fun – various age ranges for different activities

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply