Lab_13 News Updates

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Lab_13 News Updates

To keep up to date with Lab_13 Irchester, you can follow what we are doing on our twitter feed @Lab_13Irchester, or on the Lab_13 blog. The lab committee make regular posts to share what we have been up to!

Lab_13 News Updates

Just see what happens...

Lab_13 Irchester’s 7th Birthday celebrations!

June 15, 2018

This weeks Lab-13 Blog is all about… OUR BIRTHDAY!!!!!!

This year we are celebrating the 7th year of having  a Lab_13 and scientist in residence at Irchester! We had a fun filled week at the end of last term, with special guests, fun activities in every class and a fancy dress day! Being 7 is an important age for us, because it means we started at the same time our year 6’s started school!

We decided to make our birthday all about outer space and curiosity, in honour of a very special scientist. Professor Stephen Hawking is a great role model for lots of reasons.He studied the universe, black holes(which are nowhere near us!),time and space, wondered if time travelling was possible and also thought curiosity was very important- just like us. And he did all this despite being very ill, and needing a wheelchair move and computer to talk. We’ve put a brilliant quote from him up on our front gate:

Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.committee 2

Here are some of the activities we did for our Birthday:

Foundation stage went to a planetarium and told us that they saw a man and a rocket flying through space. They also told us that they really enjoyed watching it. Years 1 & 2 made solar systems and really enjoyed it. They made them out of paper. Year 3 had some fun making bottle rockets AND blasted them! They also learnt about parabolic curves, which is the curve a rocket takes when it takes off, or a meteor makes to fall to Earth! They were very interested and had lots of fun!


Years 4 + 2 did a science experiment with Miss Draper! They discovered that a magnet is stronger gravity by seeing if a paperclip would stick to the magnet or stay on the table, and that they were stronger than gravity because they could jump! The next experiment they did was about how strong gravity can be, by looking at how much energy meteorites get from gravity when they fall to Earth. They couldn’t make real meteorites, so they made mini ones using marbles and tubs of flour. They used a ruler to measure the height and dropped the marbles from different heights, to see how it changed the size of the crater.

Year 5 made a space game!  They thought it was interesting, fun and competitive! They also went to a really interesting talk about the history of astronauts, from the first space rockets up to the International Space Station the the possibility of going to Mars! Year 6 did something more challenging. They did a Mars Quiz! We talked to a few people and they said that they liked it and loved it.

For part of our celebrations we had a Time Travellers Tea party! everyone came to school dressed as someone from the past or the future.  Professor Hawking also held a time travellers tea party himself, where he only sent out the invitations afterwards so people would have to travel back in time to visit. It was very inconvenient for those without a time machine! For any time travellers out there, you are warmly invited to Lab_13 Irchester’s 7th Birthday Party last term!





Three of the committee came back as their older selves to tell us about the future, we also had a prince, an Ancient Egyptian and a Victorian train driver!


Posted in: Lab13

Summer Term at Lab_13 Nethergate

May 24, 2018

Update from Scientist in Residence Betti Copperwood about what Lab_13 Nethergate has been investigating in the summer term:

At Lab_13 Nethergate we have been exploring inclined planes and movement. We introduced inclined planes using cylinders and guttering from which the students created their own slope and connected this to a row of dominoes. We rolled the balls and tried to knock down all the dominoes. One team developed a complex system of two branches of dominoes leading to a ping pong ball balanced on a block of wood. The ball knocked down the dominoes and on reaching the block of wood this tipped over and the ping pong ball fell into a cup. Very exciting!

We also used the subject of spheres to make giant bubbles using our own homemade bubble solution. We created dome bubbles on table tops and inserted our hands and blew bubbles inside bubbles! This required lot of skills: blowing slowly and continuously, holding the blowing straws at the correct angle, wetting the table and much more! The pupils had to learn the right sequence of method and have lots of patience. The students demonstrated great determination and practiced and practiced until they got it right.

Posted in: Lab13, Nethergate

Irchester lab_13 investigation: What do the woodlice want?

May 21, 2018

Recently Family_lab helped us catch woodlice and make a woodlouse home in a box. Last week Year 2 got to find out some more about them! Year 2 are learning about habitats, so in the lab they experimented to see what habitat the woodlice like better by asking the woodlice! They made a home for them with one side wet paper towel and one side with dry paper towel to see witch side they prefer. Then they also did this but with light and dark, sand and soil and more!

After putting the woodlice in the enclosures, year 2 watched very carefully to see which side the woodlice went to, that would be the side they preferred. After a few minutes each group counted how many woodlice were on each side, and everyone added the results together.

In the end they found out woodlice mostly prefer dark, wet, soily places. The woodlice weren’t sure about wet or dry, 15 chose wet but 10 surprised year 2 by choosing dry! Almost all the woodlice chose the dark half, and soil rather than sand.

We asked some year 2‘s to tell us what they thought of the experiment, here is what Ava said: ‘I enjoyed it because I got to look at woodlice’

We asked Freya and Marli what they found out about woodlice: ‘We learnt that woodlice like soil and wet places’

Lastly here is what Esme said when we asked her what she found out about habitats: ‘I found out all insects have different habitats.’

Posted in: Lab13

Exciting Experiments for schools visiting lab_13 Irchester!

May 3, 2018


Visitors from Whitefriars Primary, South End Infants and Risdene Academy came to Lab_13 last week to experiment about light, colours and how we see. They won a competition in their own schools:  about adaptation for KS2 and how rubbish affects wildlife for KS1. Coming to our lab was their prize: all the visiting children had a great time, and so did their teachers!

First they used CDs and coloured torches to split light into rainbows: they discovered that white light made a full rainbow, but coloured light only gave part of the rainbow. Then they made spinners with the CDs, blue tack and marbles, and coloured in the circle templates. They discovered that the colours mixed together when they span really fast.

They then investigated some jelly balls: at first they were invisible in the cup of water! When you look through them at something far away, everything is upside-down; but when you look through them at something up close it magnifies. The jelly ball acts the same as the lens in our eye, which is why the image we see at the back of our eye is upside down!

The last thing they did was dissect a pig’s eyeball. They are very similar to human ones, so that’s why they used them. We in the committee dissected an eyeball too: we discovered that if you look at the pupil, you’re actually looking at the retina at the back of your eye (because the pupil is actually transparent). The iris is the coloured part in your eye and the optic nerve sends the picture to your brain (where it gets turned the right way up again!) We also discovered that the inside of the eye is clear and jelly like, which is not what we expected.

By Saffron & Demi (yr 5)


Posted in: Lab13

Wildlife and plants at Irchester

May 1, 2018

When we came back to school from the Easter holiday, it was surprisingly warm and sunny: which meant we could go on the field! While on the field some exploring people in year 2 found some weird flowers, they were called Speedwell (a little blue flower) and Chickweed (a tiny white flower). Holly, Merkeyria and Sophia found a strange looking daisy; when they found it they thought it was a mutated daisy. After lots of researching we figured out it was named a fasciated daisy. The daisy looked like two had grown together but actually it was one that got confused while growing and grew side-ways instead of in a circle.

Wildlife club were looking for signs of spring, they saw: birds collecting nest material, butterflies and bees, found some crocuses, a shield beetle (which landed on Freya), worms and ladybirds all across the play-ground last Wednesday.

Family club went on a bug hunt and built a woodlouse habitat for the lab. They found lots of insects and other mini- beasts, including: ants, centipedes, slugs, white tailed bumble bees and ladybirds (5 red and 1 black). They collected as many woodlice as possible to live in our woodlouse habitat, which is a box full of soil, damp wood and stones. The woodlice really seem to like it in there, and we’ll be using them for some animal friendly experiments with year 2 soon!

By Orla and Holly (Year 5)

Posted in: Lab13

Hello from the new Lab_13 Irchester Committee!

April 27, 2018

Just in time for spring we are being joined by four new committee members, ready and raring to go and spread science!

IMGP2912Hi my name is Orla, I’m ten years old. My favourite subjects are science because we get to make new experiments, P.E because you get fitter and English because you get to use your imagination. I’m really excited to be looking after the snails and stick insects and trying out new experiments. At home I like reading and playing with my dogs, hamster and horse. In the lab_13 interview I was really nervous and excited at the same time, then I was so excited and happy when I found out I was in the lab_13 committee!


IMGP2910Hi! My name is Saffron and I’m 10 years old.  I have 3 favourite subjects; science, art and English. I like science because you can try fun experiments. I love English and art because you can be creative and use your imagination in both. At home, I sometimes help cook dinner and I like to draw. I’m looking forward to helping in the lab and being partnered with an old committee member. I have a dog called Cherry, and 2 cats. I like to play with my pets a lot and fuss over them. At the interview I felt very nervous because there were a lot people, but when I started answering the questions I felt more relaxed.  When I found out I was on the committee I couldn’t stop smiling! It was a very happy moment for us.



Hi my name is Merkeyria and I am 10 years old. I like dancing and singing and lab_13 is fun because we get to do experiments and talk about what we are going to do. We also get paired up and clean up the snail tank and stick insects. I like it and science. I also like science because it is interesting and fun. Some of my hobbies are drawing and cooking with my Dad and Mum, I also like to exercise, spend time with my friends and do science.


IMGP2916About me:

  • My name is Sam.
  • I’m 9 years old.
  • I like climbing, exploring, making comics and playing video games.
  • When I go outside I make the most of it by exploring and doing all sorts to have fun.
  • I like my own space but I’m open to playing and working with others.
  • My favourite subjects are p.e and art because I’m really good at them and they’re always interesting.
  • I’m thrilled to be part of the lab_13 committee and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me.
Posted in: Lab13

Irchester News: Goodbye from the old committee

March 28, 2018

We have interviewed and chosen our new committee members (we think they’ll be amazing!), but sadly that means it’s time for the old committee members to leave. They wanted to say goodbye, and tell you what their time on the lab was like:

I’m sad about leaving the committee because it was a lot of fun! My favourite job was the stick insects, because I love how they crawled on my hand! My favourite trip was the big bang fair, especially the bit in the red lorry with the old console. Also, when I go into secondary school, I will know some facts in science like: different animals have certain different ages they can live to. I’m upset to leave but will remember me being on the committee! By Finlay


Unfortunately, the time has come for me to leave the committee. Lab_13 has taught me so many things, like:

-All stick insects are girls

-Snails poo from their neck and are boys and girls at the same time.

I never thought I would get on the committee, or make a rainbow tower, so I made the most of my time. I’m not completely leaving the committee, as I will become a F.lab (friend of the lab.)

Congratulations to the new committee, I wish you all the best. From Emily (Who is now a F.lab)



I’m really sad to leave the committee and I will miss the animals, but I will leave it to the new committee to carry on my jobs. I will really miss the committee but have learnt lots so good bye! From Cheryl.

It was very fun and interesting being on the Lab Committee. My favourite part was making a rainbow tower. I was glad to be on the lab but it is time for me to leave. While on the committee I have learnt to hold stick insects by the belly to make sure we don’t hurt them. By Reece



Posted in: Irchester, Lab13

Dovecote at the Real Science in School Symposium

March 26, 2018

In February, the Lab_13 Dovecote Management Committee went along to the Real Science in Schools Symposium, which was held at the Council House and was part of the Nottingham Festival of Science and Curiosity.

The Symposium was all about trying to get more pupils from schools across Nottingham involved in real scientific research. There were some really great speakers, Hephzi Tagoe and Becky Parker, talking about all the different ways pupils can be involved.

Lab_13 Dovecote went along with Scientist in Residence Bryson Gore to show off the investigations they do and to show their enthusiasm for being able to follow through on their curiosity about science. They demonstrated the multi-coloured slime that they made, which they also sell in little tubs to pupils in the school in order to help pay for the Lab_13! Everyone was really interested in them, and to hear about the kinds of experiments they do, especially because there will be more Lab_13s opening in Nottingham this year.

Posted in: Dovecote, Lab13

Irchester’s Science Week Floating Garden Competition!

March 22, 2018



Coming up on this week’s Lab-13 blog: our Science Week extravaganza, a VIP guest, a great day for the committee & some lovely feedback!

Last Thursday, Mrs. Tyrell, Miss Draper & the committee went to Wollaston to host a competition. But no, this wasn’t just any competition; this was a competition that could save Bangladesh!

I know what you’re thinking: How can a competition save a country? Well, in Bangladesh flooding happens a lot more than any other country in the world! In our competition, we asked schools from our local area to build a floating garden that could help people to keep their crops alive, even if it floods. A charity called Practical Action is actually helping people build their own floating gardens in Bangladesh.

We’ve been planning the competition for ages, sending out invitations to other schools to join in, getting some year 4 teams from our school together, and inviting special guests. Last week the big day finally arrived, and we all went to Wollaston Secondary School where our friend from the Lectures, Mr Sheldrick had got everything organised.

Each school team arrived, and was shown to their table where they could set up their model and display how they made it. Once everyone was set, we in the committee gave a short talk about the competition: with some more background from our research on the causes, effects and solutions to the flooding in Bangladesh.

Our VIP guest was Bren, a Practical Action representative, who was our head judge! We were extremely lucky to get her to come in, and all of us in the committee really enjoyed working with her as assistant judges.

DSCN0134The winners were:

Years 3+4: Irchester- George, Lucy, Evalyn, Ben and Leo. They  won because we liked the design and the raft held 3100 GRAMS before is sank, more than any other!


Whitefriars entry 2


Years 5+6: Whitefriars Primary School- their design was amazing, as they had thought about lots of extra stuff, like vertical planting to make the most of the space, and rainwater collecting tanks to store clean water!

Special mention to the team from Higham Ferrers Junior School: they showed great teamwork and had a fantastic plan for a dome over the top of their garden to protect it, but hadn’t yet figured out how to make it from recycled materials!

Wollaston 3 (3)Years 7+8: Wollaston Secondary School team 3- Their design was simple, but they had thought about it really carefully, and it held the right amount of weight. We gave secondary schools an extra challenge, because they were only allowed to use natural materials, so they couldn’t use tape or glue to hold their models together!

Well done too all the other teams for entering! You are all Bangladesh superheroes!

We’ve had some lovely feedback from some of the schools, saying the Lab_13 committee are a credit to the school and that they had lots of fun entering. Good to hear, and we’re sure next years committee will do something just as amazing!

By Emily and Demi (year 5)

Posted in: Irchester, Lab13

Irchester News- Year 4 are starting their Primary Engineer Leaders Award

February 27, 2018

Year 4 are starting their journey to get a Primary Engineers Leaders Award . To get the award, they will have to solve a problem by thinking like an engineer. They will submit their ideas to see if get gets picked by the engineer judges to be built for real!

To get prepared and find out more about engineers, year 4 have interviewed a design engineer and a civil engineer to find out what their jobs are about. Our first Visitor was Mr Clarke, he is a Design engineer who helped year four find out more about all the many different types of engineers, as well as the process all engineers go through to to solve a problem. The year fours tried to match different names of engineers and pictures so we tried it out as well: Darcie thought it was interesting because she didn’t know there were so many types of engineer. Cheryl thought it was interesting because some of the names of the engineers were easy and some were hard.

Our second visiting engineer Mr Smith was a civil engineer, who told us about all the stages of becoming an engineer, and how he has helped to build all sort of things from hospitals to bridges!

Here are some explanations that children told us about what they learnt…

Catrina and Rosalyn: “They built a bridge in America 1940 and it collapsed because the designers didn’t think about the wind.”

Austin: “Oil can come from below the ocean, petrochemical engineers work to get it and turn it into fuel.”

Leonardo: “I enjoyed and  found it  interesting, my  favourite fact is that the first engineer was 5000 years ago and an ancient Egyptian”

Year 4 will get to interview several more engineers before they start to think like an engineer to come up with their own solution to a problem. Good Luck year 4!

By Miss Draper, Cheryl and Darcie.

Posted in: Irchester, Lab13