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...

Gillespie news: Epic Family Space Night

October 17, 2017

Epic Family Space Night

Telescope blog photo

It will be epic and the theme will be space.

It will be on Tuesday 5th December after school. We’re inviting children and families from our school. We want them to learn more about space and the wonders of the universe. We would also love it if children from the old committees or who used to go to Gillespie can come as well. We are also inviting teachers from other schools and their science committees so they can learn more about the committee and inspire their children to learn about science.

If you can come, you can expect workshops about space and art, and space

making activities. The telescope will be out and we will be hoping for no clouds! There may even be space food…

By the way, it’s the Halloween disco at Gillespie school in two days. I wonder, will anyone dress up in a scientific costume? For example you could come as a skeleton with the bones labelled.

Written by David (Y6) and Carole (Scientist in Residence)


Posted in: Lab13

Gillespie news: Origami and Mission Mosquito

October 11, 2017

ORIGAMIOrigami making.png

This morning we had a go at making origami, which is the art of folding paper. We love origami because it helps you practice following instructions, estimating distances, creating shapes, using symmetry and it helps your fingers gain more control. This is useful preparation for jobs like engineering, which is good for Adnan for example because he wants to be an engineer. And it is also helpful for Mina because she wants to become a surgeon. It was really hard but we still persevered and we got there in the end. Adnan has decided to take the space shuttle instructions home to try out. We would like to try more origami at the start of committee meetings in the future so we get prepared. It’s like a warm-up and it makes you focus when you’re doing it. We think that in school, if you’re doing origami first it would give you more control with your grip, which might help with writing.

Space shuttle

Mina’s origami space shuttle



We have some new members of Mission Mosquito! They include artists, technicians, journalists and computer scientists. They have decided to set up a Mission Mosquito website to share their latest research and articles. Here is a link to their website. In today’s session with our Scientist in Residence Carole and our Scientific Supervisor Dr Cathy Roberts, the computer scientists learnt about mosquitoes, different types of mosquitoes and how we know which type of mosquito we have found. The journalists are planning the draft for their next article, which will be about the new members and will reveal our new logo!

Written by Mina and Adnan (Y6)


Posted in: Lab13

Irchester News: Coffee Morning Science and Thinktank!

October 11, 2017


On Friday the 24th of September, it was the 2017 Macmillan coffee morning, where we invited all the parents into school to buy cakes to support Macmillan. Every year group performed a song which they had been learning for about 2 weeks. LAB_13 did experiments to do with our senses with the parents, while they were waiting for the next year group to sing. We think the parents found our experiments really interesting, and they bought lots and lots of cake, raising over £700 pounds for Macmillan!

For one of the experiments we tested skittles and mints. We asked the grownups to shut their eyes and hold their nose, then to eat a skittle or a mint. Most found it very strange that they couldn’t taste it! The purpose of this experiment was to show that when you eat a mint you don’t taste it with your tongue; you smell it with your nose.

The second experiment was the prod test. Basically the lab Committee used some (blunt!) cocktail sticks and pressed them on the adult’s arm or neck. The adult had to guess how many sticks were touching. Most grownups got far more right for their hands than their necks. This showed that you have more nerves in your hands to feel things better when holding them.

Finally, we got out the confuser-phones and let the adults have a go! The confuser-phones swap the sound from one side to the other, so things sound like they are in a different place. We played a game with some adults where they had to shut their eyes and guess where we were just by hearing: it was really hard to get right!


Recently, year 5 and 6 went to the Birmingham Think Tank. There were lots of cool rooms, and the people were really nice, they showed us were to go, and explained really well. There was one room where it was to do with animals, and their different breeds. There were stuffed animals, which looked real. The Think Tank was amazing they had lots of different thing for us to do, and we all had so much fun! Joshua’s favourite part was the steam engines especially the spinning ball regulator. Emily really enjoyed was the science garden with lots of science things to play with, and Sophie’s favourite bit was the classroom where we learnt about the different categories of animals.

Br Sophie (year 6) and Cheryl (year 5)

Posted in: Lab13

Gillespie news: science cinema!

October 3, 2017

Hi, this is Inigo and Maya, and we are part of the new committee at Gillespie. We joined the committee because we love science!!!

We are bringing to you news of our science cinema. This special screening is happening in Lab_13 on Monday lunchtimes and the movie we are watching in 4 parts is… Hidden Figures! It is open to all of you at Gillespie in Y5 and Y6. And we know it’s annoying for you who are not at Gillespie, but we can’t fit everyone in the lab! We know you want to be healthy so we have grapes and carrots as snacks. And you know what everyone likes to eat when watching a movie? Popcorn! It’s made by the marvellous Lab_13 Gillespie committee! We put on science cinema because it’s a fun way to learn about science and about scientists.

We chose this film because it’s Black History Month and the film tells the story of three African-American women who helped launch the first man into space. Katherine, Dorothy and Mary are a mathematician, computer scientist and an engineer. We’ve asked Marwa what she thinks of the film so far. “I think that the Hidden Figures movie is good so far. I think Katherine Johnson right now is a bit sad, because her daughters are worried about the Russians. Katherine is really strong, she gets everything done on time, she’s clever and she’s really really smart. Mary Jackson is also really strong, she always stands up to bullying. I thought they were sisters because they’re always so close.”

Now you know what’s going on at Gillespie, we will see you next week with another post!

Written by Inigo (Y6) and Maya (Y5) with input from Marwa (Y5)

Posted in: Lab13

Irchester news: the BBC Terrific Scientific School of Excellence Award

September 25, 2017

Last week we got the very exciting news, that we have been made a BBC Terrific Scientific School of Excellence! Year 5 and 6 have been doing lots of exciting experiments with BBC Terrific Scientific. We have had lots of fun doing activities like: looking at and counting our taste buds, finding out how our digestive system works, how exercise affects our brain and weighting the trees in our field. Each experiment came with a live lesson from the BBC which we all watched in our classes.

TS Web Badge 1600

This term we completed an exercise experiment by doing a quiz about attention and memory. What we did was, do the quiz before and after different forms of exercise such as skipping, jumping, jogging and running as fast as we can and as long as we could. We also did the quiz before and after sitting outside as a control. This was in case it was being outside rather than the exercise changing how well we did in the quiz.

We are very proud to have received the BBC Terrific Scientific School Of Excellence Award. We got it for standing out amongst the crowd with our knowledge, results and enthusiasm doing all the Terrific Scientific experiments so far. We’re excited about the next experiment which is about evolution and feet, if your school isn’t taking part yet it’s not too late: you can find out more and join at

By Libby (Yr 6) and Emily (Yr 5).


Posted in: Lab13

Irchester Family_lab: making yogurt!

September 20, 2017


For the first family_lab this year, we welcomed children and their parents into the lab after school to have a go at growing their own yogurt. After comparing top trumps on some really horrible bacteria, we found a more friendly looking one: Lactobacillus Acidophilus: the yogurt bacteria! we found some yogurts from the shops which listed their bacteria, then mixed a spoonful of yogurt with warm milk to give the bacteria something to eat and grow in, hopefully turning the milk into yogurt.


IMG_20170920_121629We had to be very careful to make and keep the jars and spoons sterile by boiling then, so that only yogurt bacteria would grow. We heated the milk to 80°C  to kill any cheesy bacteria hiding in it, then had to wait and cool the milk back down to 50°C so it wouldn’t kill the yogurt bacteria.

What foody microorganism shall we investigate next?

Posted in: Lab13

Gillespie news: our new committee!

September 19, 2017

Out with the old and in with the new

Our new committee has been chosen. The new Y5 & Y6 team consists of 10 committee members, and two more children will get a new job called the committee technician (we might change the name) which means there will be 12 children in total. This will be the last blog ever posted by the old committee during our mighty reign. We will all miss this job as it made some of the finest days of our lives. The new committee now have a high standard to live up to. We have enjoyed our time but unfortunately everything no matter how good must end.

Over and out,

Danny & Zac (Y6)


The new committee was chosen on the 12th of this month. To get into the Lab_13 committee they had to fill in a two-page application form and then be interviewed by the old committee.

In Y5:

Maya who said “The committee is fun”


Larianna who said “I want to learn more about science”


Isla who said “I want to help children like science more”


Anisa who said “I want to help the school”


Marwa who said “The committee makes science fun” (she would prefer not to have her photo on the blog, which is why we haven’t put one up!)

In Y6:

Didac who said “This is going to be a good experience for me”


Adnan who said “To be or not to be, that is the question”


David who said “The committee is brilliant”


Inigo who said “the committee is spectacular, science spectacular, GET IT?”


Mina who said “It’s amazing”


Danny & Didac (Y6)

[Danny has kindly offered to mentor our new committee members by helping them out with their first blog posts]

The Lab Twitter is here if you want to see what we get up to in the Lab:

Posted in: Lab13

Introducing the new Lab_13 Irchester Committee Members!

September 18, 2017

IMG_20170912_162610My name is Emily and I am 9 years old. I wanted to join Lab_13 because I have a bursting passion for science which I would love to express, and I look up to my big brother Harvey who was on the committee a few years back.  My favourite lesson is probably art, but science is a close second. Last year, me and my brother visited the careers convention in Birmingham and tested out a few experiments. My favourite experiment is trying to make water travel through tissue or a paper towel. I’m most excited to participate in the Science Week events next year. 🙂


IMG_20170912_162552I am Finlay Morris and I am 9 years old my favourite lesson is Science.

I wanted to join the science committee because I really want to help out with the things that the lab 13 does, like the lunchtime experiments on the playground called lunch_lab!

I am absolutely most excited to help with looking after the animals, mostly the snails because they look so slimy.




My name is Cheryl and at home I watch TV about experiments. I’m 9 years old, and I love science, I love going to my garden to look at the animals. I wanted to join the committee because science is fun. I do like playing with people outside but science is my passion. I am looking forwards to doing experiments and helping other people learn about science. In school I love to do AR, because it’s relaxing and even do it at home lying in my bed. I was so excited when I was chosen for the Lab committee.

Our last new committee member Oliver has been off ill all week, but he’ll add his introduction soon!

Posted in: Lab13

Koli News: Our first Student Management Committee!

September 18, 2017

It’s been three weeks since our first Scientist in Residence, Joe, arrived in Kolin Koulu (Koli school) and it’s gone by so quickly! Lab_13 Koli has grown from an idea into something exciting within the school, and we hope it can grown bigger and bigger.

One thing that all Lab_13s have is a Student Management Committee – a group of dedicated students who lead the school in gathering questions, planning investigations and communicating ideas to teachers and future Scientists in Residence. It’s great to introduce our first ever Committee members!

JanneMy name is Janne and I am 15 years old. My favourite subject is English! My hobbies are biking and playing computer games. Is it possible to make liquid nitrogen? My ambitions are to go to vocational college and study pipe assembly.




My name is Elli and I’m 14 years old. At school I like PE, art english and chemistry! I enjoy playing piano, doing gymnastics, trampolining and downhill skiings. I am interested in why people have different eye colours.



TeemuMy name is Teemu. I am 13 years old and my favourite subject at school is PE. I wonder why people are different sizes… I would like to go to vocational college when I am older.



SamMy name is Santeri. I’m 14 years old. At school I like Chemistry, PE and English. My hobbies are downhill skiing and playing guitar. I would like to understand how to make explosives like fireworks!



KonstaMy name is Konsta. I am 14 years old. I like PE, Chemistry and our optional courses. I like to play floorball, football as well as skiing and ice hockey. How do people make atomic bombs safely? My ambition is to be a pilot or a captain.

Posted in: Koli, Lab13

Lab_13 Koli: Exploring Nature, Naturally

August 17, 2017

Hello everyone! I’m Joe and I am going to be the first Scientist in Residence for Lab_13 Koli, #pressure. With just 10 more sleeps to go until I fly out to Finland, I thought it was a good time to write our first blog post (though I expect the next ones may be written by some younger hands…).

As a quick personal debrief, my academic career took me to the exotic land of Sheffield where I studied for a Bachelors and Masters degree in Biomedical Science and Science Communication, respectively. Since then, I’ve been engaging young people in STEM and health-related issues in a variety of less exotic places, like the Abu Dhabi, Uganda and Ghana (*wink face*), before settling into a job in London running a variety STEM workshops for the capital’s young people at the Royal Institution.


Pondering whether it was a good idea to take my helmet off in deep space…

In mentioning Ghana, I must also mention that this isn’t my first Lab_13 rodeo; last year I was a SiR for Lab_13 Ghana for six months. Though I’d done my research on Lab_13 and understood its ethos, I hadn’t seen it in action. I hadn’t seen the impact that handing the reins of scientific exploration to students can have. In Ghana I saw students taking charge of their own education, asking great questions and finding out the answers through their own investigations. I’m so excited to be a part of broadening the Lab_13 family through this exciting opportunity in Finland.

Every Lab_13 works a little differently and I’m sure this new Lab_13 will too. We’re hoping to create a space within a local school and also work with the National Park’s Nature Centre to develop some form of curiosity space for the community.

I have titled this post ‘Exploring Nature, Naturally’ as it’s my vision for Lab_13 in Koli. Koli is well known for its national park and its stunning landscape which has inspired writers and artists as it transforms between lush summers and brilliantly cold winters; a true hub of biodiversity. Growing up in a place like this must give the community a real connection with nature (something that I often lust for while surrounded by London’s landscape of cranes and scaffolding). My aim for this short three week trip to Koli is to introduce the students and community to Lab_13 as a portal through which they can investigate the world around them in a way that feels natural. I want them to connect their cultural life with science and come up with their own solutions to issues that affect them, or at least find new ways to discuss them.

Finland is well known for its education system where, amongst many other things, teachers are allowed a higher level of freedom to teach their curriculum how they see fit and I believe that Lab_13 is the perfection companion to this system.

And on that note, let us give a big “Cheers!” to Lab_13 Koli or, as they say in Finland, “Kippis!”. Wish me luck (and send me a tweet every now and again @Lab_13Koli)

Lab_13 Koli Logo

Hope you like our logo!

Posted in: Koli, Lab13

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