National Physical Laboratory

Educate & Explore - Outreach Educate & Explore

NPL scientists love sharing their enthusiasm for measurement and science in general. Every year they are involved in hundreds of outreach activities meeting tens of thousands of people. Here you will find information about some of these activities.

Schools Resources

  • Primary Schools - These classroom resources are designed to support learning for children aged 7 to 11 (Key Stage 2).
  • Secondary Schools - These classroom resources are designed to support learning for children aged 11 to 16 (Key Stages 3 and 4).
  • Posters & Factsheets - A selection of posters is available for the classroom to support science and maths teaching at primary and secondary schools.

Be Amazed!

See examples of the amazing science NPL carries out. From building an artificial eye to the world's fastest car!

Be Amazed

Virtual Physical Laboratory

The Virtual Physical Laboratory (VPLab) software contains over 250 interactive experiments for use by teachers and pupils. It demonstrates physical principles and applications, and is pitched at Physics GCSE, AS/A2 level, though the simulations may be of value at other academic levels.

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We strive to actively promote public awareness and appreciation of science and technology, particularly the importance of measurement and the role of NPL.

Here you can find out more about the interesting things we do, science activities you can get involved in, or take a look at some of our educational resources. Broadly speaking, our activities comprise:

  • On-site activities such as open days, teacher CPD events, work experience, our science course, challenges and competitions
  • Off-site activities like workshops, talks, representation at careers events and science fairs
  • Our range of educational resources for teachers and students which can be ordered on this website

For more information

For more information, please contact Andrew Hanson

Our Aims

We aspire to promote our science and technology to schools and young people within the nation's STEM and skills agendas, to support our scientists' public engagement work, and to develop the NPL site as a base for outreach and training programmes.

Our main target audiences are the science-interested public; young people aged 8-16, their parents and teachers; new audiences not traditionally engaged with NPL science; and policy makers, such as government and industry.

NPL is a supporter of the Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research which is a set of principles drawn up by the Funders of Research in the UK and operates its public engagement activities according to the Concordat's principles.


Find out about measuring reaction times and take the ReactFast challenge.

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Outreach activities

Poster Competition

We invited you to create posters for the Centre for Carbon Measurement Schools Poster Challenge.

See the results and find out more

Water Rocket Challenge

Aim for the sky in our annual Water Rocket Challenge, which sees hundreds of participants, from school teams to adults, battling it out to become champion.

Find out more

Science Film Challenge

Are you a budding young film maker keen to share your science know-how? NPL's Science Film Challenge could win £500 for your school, or £300 if you're entering independently.

Find out more

NPL Academy

The NPL Academy gives GCSE students a real taster of work at the UK's leading measurement research laboratory.
Annually we invite a cohort of 30-35 students to spend a week at NPL. Competition is fierce - there are usually about four applicants per place!

Find out more


Please note that the information will not be divulged to third parties, or used without your permission