How to accelerate particles

Link to the demonstrator: in English


Age: 6-12

Duration: 2 hours

Equipment: PC with internet connection 

Contact details

Author: Prof. Christine Kourkoumelis, Stelios Vourakis (IASA)
Contact: info[at]frontiers-project[dot]eu


This exercise in an introduction to particle accelerators and high energy physics. The focus of the exercise is the world’s most powerful accelerator, the LHC, which is located at CERN. Students learn about how it accelerates, bends and focuses proton beams and how it makes sure that the protons collide inside one of the four detectors located on its circumference. 

To emphasise what they’ve learned after the lesson, the students play a game in which they have to apply what they’ve learned in a ‘virtual accelerator’. 


Learning outcomes:

  1. To familiarise students with the basic concepts of particle accelerators
  2. To introduce students to the high energy physics
  3.  To introduce students to CERN


Prior knowledge:

  • Fundamental forces
  • Structure and particles of the atom
  • Basic electrostatics – like and unlike charges


Concepts introduced:


  • Fundamental Forces


  • Magnetic and Electric Fields
  • Particle Accelerators


Learning intentions:

By the end of this descriptor, students should be able to:

  • Explain the  fundamental forces
  • Explain how electric fields can be used to accelerate particles
  • Explain how magnetic fields can direct particles in the LHC
  • Describe how the LHC accelerates particles
  • List practical uses of the LHC


Key activities:

  1. Videos to engage – possible edpuzzle 
  2. What is the LHC? (Possible student engaged jigsaw or research activity)
  3. Online game to stimulate LHC
  4. Student report

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