Winter science lessons with the Highways Agency

Pupils at a Birmingham school have been learning how salt and ice don't mix - and now their classroom experiments are set to go national.

Teachers at Colmore Junior School helped produce educational worksheets which explain how the motorways are able to run smoothly during severe weather. Now their simple experiments, using salt and school rubbers, have been backed by a national science teaching organisation for use in schools across the country.

The worksheets provide a breakdown of how 'gritters' spread salt on the roads and feature activities for the 7 to 11-year-olds to enhance their understanding of the process.

They cover the effect of salt on the freezing point of water and ask the question 'fact or friction?' when looking at how moving traffic affects road temperature.

HA winter science

The Association for Science Education (ASE), the UK's largest subject teaching body, is now distributing the classroom resources through its school science website.

Pupils at the school in Kings Heath were rewarded for the efforts with the visit of a Highways Agency snowplough to the playground. They showed off their work to driver Dave Sullivan and he told them all about his job.

Gritter in the playground

Although there hasn't been so much widespread snow in England this winter Dave and his colleagues have still been busy and have driven around 800,000 miles so far. Most of the work has been overnight when freezing road temperatures can create a risk of icy mornings if the roads aren't treated. It's a less visible risk than snow on the ground, but another example of how winter can present many different challenges.

Download the worksheets Highways Science - winter on the motorway

Further information on how the Highways Agency treats roads.

Learn more about snow and ice.

Highways agency banner

Our guest blogs do not represent the views of the Met Office and we accept no responsibility for the content of external sites.