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: Science Spectacular 2017

March 22, 2017


As we said in our previous blog, we put on our annual Science Spectacular last week. This is to share what we have been doing so that children and adults are inspired to be curious and do science. The Science Spectacular is a show about science and engineering featuring experts in science and technology for example Sheila and Andres who were part of our Science Spectacular this year.


Setting up the top hall


Before the show started we organised three tables to showcase science and engineering projects that we have taken part in this year:

  • At the handling table there were lots of objects like meteorites, objects from space, which people could hold, look closely at and smell.
  • The Green Team explained about our air pollution project and asked for people to sign their petition.
  • The primary engineer competition is for young budding engineers to create design ideas. They had to pitch their ideas in a letter to engineers who judge the entries.
  • Daniel brought special guests up to Lab_13 and handed them over to Naomi to show them around. It was nerve-wracking as they were scientists and we wanted to make a good impression. It was enjoyable in the end!

The Show


The apple represents the Earth and the cherry tomato the Moon to show their relative sizes

Kiri and Reiss introduced the show by asking the question: is the Moon made out of cheese? They also explained that the Moon is about a quarter of the width of the Earth. They showed us this apple, saying that if the Earth were this size then the Moon would be the size of this cherry tomato, and they would be about 2m apart.


Andres, our rocket technician, setting up the hydrogen and oxygen generators

Daniel and Hamza came to the stage to help us learn how to get to the Moon. We invited Andres to help us because he is a technician who knows about rockets. He helped us to investigate pipette rockets and we tried to launch them and hit a drawing of the Moon. It was very fun as we first tried just hydrogen and tried to hit the Moon but it didn’t work. Then we tried oxygen and that still didn’t work. So then we thought mixing them together might work. We tried it and it worked! This was a combustion reactions, where oxygen and fuel (hydrogen) react to make water. But we needed the pipette rocket to get to the Moon and it only got half way. So next we added water (a propellant), hydrogen and oxygen and that was better but it still didn’t hit the moon. Finally we tried air, hydrogen, oxygen and water. It hit the Moon! Yay!



Sheila uses dry ice to cool down her comet ingredients

The next guest was Dr Sheila Kanani and she was introduced by Nimo and Choi ying, who also told some very funny jokes (funny and cheesy!). She showed us how to make a home-made comet and it was very engaging and funny. We learnt many things, we were most surprised that some comets have the ingredients for life in them. We were also surprised that dry ice is colder than the North Pole, but it also burns you.

The Moon


The Moon disc contained six different samples of Moon rock and soil

As for our big finale we wanted to see once and for all whether the Moon was really made of cheese. So we decided we needed a piece of Moon to examine so that we could find out. First we examined pieces of cheese under the microscope and then our big reveal: NASA had lent us a piece of Moon! Carole had been carrying it in her bag all along. We were over the Moon to have real pieces of Moon in our school, and we couldn’t wait to examine them. Our final conclusion that the Moon is not made of cheese, sadly.



One of our brilliant technicians, who put together and managed the powerpoint presentation

We found out in the Science Spectacular that science isn’t just about the scientists, but the technicians who work with them are also really important. Two members of the committee were our light and media technicians on the night and they did a brilliant job.

We all had a wonderful time, and the feedback we have received from guests has been so positive. Thank you to everyone who came and who helped us out!

Written by Naomi (Y5) and Daniel (Y6)



Posted in: Lab13

Rosehill News: Light & Dark

March 17, 2017

Between November and January, all the pupils at Rosehill had the opportunity to engage in activities in the Lab_13 and develop their curiosity. Those who were particularly engaged were chosen by teachers to continue working on developing their interest in scientific inquiry. During the January-February half term, these pupils continued to build on their knowledge of light and dark to learn about Earth and space in the January-February half term.

Lab 13 Light and Dark

Discovering reflections

Pupils have been exploring objects on a light box, looking at different colours using the OHP, exploring torches and UV objects and looking at paint under different lights.

Lab 13 Light and Dark 2

Exploring shadows



Posted in: Lab13, Rosehill

Irchester news: Tasting Citizen Science at parents evening

March 13, 2017

On Tuesday 28th February and the 1st of March at parent evening, Lab_ 13 ran a little stall doing experiments to do with taste: we were inspired by the BBC Terrific Scientific supertasters experiment.

For the first experiment we showed pupils and parents 3 different colour drinks:  red, orange and green. We asked them to taste all 3 and write down what flavour they thought each drink was. We got 38 people to try this experiment!

For the red drink, 37% thought it was a red fruit flavour, 10 people said strawberry. For the orange drink, 47% thought it was an orange fruit flavour, 15 people said orange. For the green drink, 58% thought it was a green fruit flavour, 11 people said apple and 12 people said lime.

The interesting bit is that we managed to trick almost everyone! All three drinks were actually lemonade! Our experiment was to see if what people tasted would depend on the colour. Our experiment has shown that colour does have an big effect: about half of the people thought each drink was a flavour that matched the colour, and only 5 people though all three drinks tasted exactly the same, and none of them said it tasted of lemonade!


Some of the people who were completely fooled by the colours.

We found out that the green drink seemed to trick the most people, but maybe that is because lemon flavour is quite close to lime flavour.

We also tried the experiment with summer fruits flavour instead of lemonade, but this did not work as well. This is probably because the real flavour was stronger than for lemonade, so it was harder for people to imagine the colour flavour.


The other experiment we did used blue food dye colour to see if you are a taster, non-taster or super taster. Firstly, we asked the grownups and the children taking part if they wanted us to paint their tongue blue, or to do it themselves. Then they had to wait 1 minute with their blue tongue sticking out. This was a bit funny, because some people dribbled and they had silly expressions on their faces. Also, it was their only chance to stick their tongues out at people without being rude!

After 1 minute, we counted how many pink taste buds were on their tongue inside the space of a hole punched in a piece of card. If it is between 0 and 5 you are a non-taster, if it is between 6 and 10 you are a taster and if you have 11+ then you are a super-taster. Of the adults and children we tested, 25% were non tasters, 42% were tasters, and 33% were supertasters. The fewest taste buds someone had was 2, and the most was 21! Supertasters should be able to taste bitter things more strongly, so are less likely to like bitter things like Brussel sprouts and coffee.

By Ty and Jamie, Yr 5

Posted in: Irchester, Lab13

Holiday Club at Irchester: Rockets and Air-zookas!

March 10, 2017

Hello and welcome to the Lab_13 Blog!!!

Today’s blog is about… the Lab_13 Irchester Half Term Holiday Club! All the children who came to the club had LOTS OF FUN!!! They made rocket fuel (for POP ROCKETS not REAL ROCKETS) by experimenting to see which mixture of chemicals would react the best by making lots of fizz and bubbles. They also used the lab’s giant air-zooka and made their own mini air-zookas to take home, after using them to knock down their huge cup towers!

We will tell you how to make pop rocket fuel and mini air-zookas, so you can do it yourself too!

For the rocket fuel, we used three liquids: vinegar, water and laundry liquid, and three solids: citric acid (powder), Bicarbonate of Soda (also a powder) and fizzy vitamin tablets (a tablet).

The best combination for us was…………


The reason they were the winners was because they fizzed (reacted) the most, and the fizzing shows that the reaction is making a gas, which is what makes the rocket launch!  They reacted because the citric acid is an acid, and the laundry liquid is an alkali.


To make a pop rocket you will need:

  • A sealable pot with a push lid: like an old film canister.
  • Some of the liquids and solids listed above
  • Tissue paper

To make your rocket ready to launch:

  • Put your chosen liquid into your sealable pot and place a sheet of tissue paper on top.
  • Place your chosen solid on top of the paper and put the lid on gently.


    Pot half filled with laundry liquid, and citric acid on the tissue paper.

To launch:

  • Go outside!
  • Clip the lid on properly and turn your pot upside down to mix the chemicals together to start the reaction.
  • Put your rocket on the floor and step back quickly!

The rockets made a big mess in the playground, but luckily the rain washed it all away. Science club loved seeing how high the rockets went, much higher than they expected!

The air-zooka works by pushing all the air inside the container out of the hole, whenever you ping the sheet at the back. It makes a ball (or vortex) of moving air that you can feel hit you even at the other end of the room!

The mini air-zookas work just the same, except they are much smaller. You could still knock down cups towers with them though!

How to make mini air-zookas you will need:

  • Disposable cup
  • Balloon
  • Scissors
  • 2p coin
  1. Firstly blow up the balloon to stretch it then let all the air out.
  2. Secondly tie a knot in the balloon and chop it in half leaving the knotted end. We’ll need that later.
  3. Next, cut a hole in the bottom of your disposable cup, the size of the 2p coin.
  4. Then, stretch the knotted end of the balloon over the top the disposable cup.
  5. Ping the knot to fire!

Everyone at holiday club really enjoyed the day. Finlay’s favourite part was launching the rockets, while Miss Draper enjoyed shooting everyone with the air-zooka!

By Charlotte and James

Posted in: Irchester, Lab13

Rosehill News: Visit from an Inflativerse

March 9, 2017

The Lab_13 at Rosehill had a visit in January from scientists from the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Nottingham.

They brought along an inflatable planetarium, known as an inflativerse! You can read more information about the Inflativerse here:

The children had a great time exploring the inflativerse and really enjoyed the visit from scientists.

Posted in: Rosehill

Gillespie news: Science Spectacular

March 7, 2017

(not actual stage!)

On the 14th March we are hosting a Science Spectacular at Gillespie. There will be a handful of special guests helping us to answer a question about space. It begins at 5.30pm, when you can come to explore what we’ve been doing lately in the lab and hold special mystery objects.


There will be rockets in the show, similar to but not exactly like this one!

The show starts at 6pm, when everybody settles down to enjoy and listen to our spectacular science performance. It will be humorous, there will be cheesy jokes, inventions, rockets, investigations and comets. Expect it to be a VIP (Very Important Performance… or a VVIP, a Very Very Important Performance).

We don’t want to say too much because you will just be sitting at home reading this blog, and instead you should come and enjoy the show. If you can’t make it, look out for our next blog. There will be lots of information and pictures. It will be just like you were there (but not literally).

Written by Kiri (Y5) and Choi ying (Y6)

Posted in: Gillespie

Irchester News: Terrific Scientific supertasters and a stargazing night!

February 23, 2017

On Tuesday 31st of January, we held a stargazing evening but due to really bad weather we couldn’t see any stars or planets: it was foggy and raining. Instead we learnt lots of exciting things about space. We had a stargazing group called the Northamptonshire Amateur Astronomers visit with different types of telescopes and equipment. We got to look through them even though we could only see the walls! There was a really big telescope, which was a reflector; we could see our faces when we looked down the tube. There was a finderscope on top of the telescope which is for aiming where you want to look. Everyone had a good evening watching the presentation and learning about stars and planets. Sam’s favourite fact was how many constellations there are: 71 roughly.

We have been taking part in a science experiment called Terrific Scientific. Terrific Scientific is run by the BBC, they wanted us take part in a taste test. They wanted to see how many of us are non-tasters, tasters and supertasters. We had to dye our tongues blue and count how many pink bumps there are in the area of a punched hole. If there were 11+ you would be a supertaster, if you had 5-10 you would be a taster, if you had 0-4 you would be a non-taster.

Supertasters can taste bitter things more strongly like brussel sprouts; tasters can taste things strong but not too strong and like lots of foods and non-tasters can eat a lot because their taste buds are weak. On average 25% are supertasters and 40% tasters and 35% non-tasters.

At ICPS, we discovered that  9% were super tasters,   61% were tasters and  30% were non-tasters.

by Sam and Elisabeth




Posted in: Irchester, Lab13

Gillespie news: new recruit & book review

February 21, 2017

The New Recruit

Out of the blue we were sent a letter from an aspiring young scientist who wanted to be a member of our committee. This was unexpected because it is the middle of the year and the interviews have already taken place. We felt like this young scientist’s letter was very thoughtful and she had loads of experience of a lot of clubs and organisations including engineering within the school. We were awestruck by the letter and so we decided to let her in to the next stage: the interview. During the interview we asked her many questions about her commitment to the committee and her experience and skills. We asked her questions based on our aspirations for a fab committee member that we came up with in the morning:


She is very kind to others and always includes people and gets along with others. We could tell that she is a committed and hard-working scientist. That’s why we want her in the committee. Welcome Nimo!

Science book review: Itchitch

Recently I have read a book called “Itch” by Simon Mayo. It is about a boy called Itchingham Lofte who is an element hunter and is very adventurous and brave. He is very cheeky and takes many risks with his elements for example one day he takes some arsenic wallpaper into school. Page after page you will see plenty of action and adventure but still lots of humour.

Written by Daniel (Y6), Zac (Y5) and Naomi (Y5)

P.S. Next week we will be writing about our latest tool, which was donated to the lab by Zac today! Carole has tried it out and made this with it, can you guess what our new tool is?




Posted in: Gillespie

Gillespie news: Detecting Data Loggers

February 7, 2017
Measuring the temperature inside the freezer

Measuring the temperature inside the freezer

Hi our names are Nojus and Reiss. We have recently been working with the data loggers. We have seen fantastic freezing points and bubbling boiling points. Carole asked us to see which is the coldest and the hottest object in the lab. The hottest object in the lab is the radiator. We measured the radiator’s temperature in degrees Celcius. It was 40.1oC. The freezer was -9.6oC. We were surprised that the temperature went down so rapidly when we put it in the freezer. We also measured Reiss’s armpit and it was 37.5oC, and that’s as it should be.

Here is our scale of temperatures that we measured:


Written by Nojus and Reiss, Y5

Posted in: Gillespie

Irchester news: Dissecting a Heart!

January 30, 2017

Last week, year 5 and 6 completed an experiment about hearts. Not using picture in a heart2book, or a model out of plastic, but a real lamb heart! We wondered where the teachers got the hearts: we discovered you can actually get them from the supermarket, because you can cook and eat them. We didn’t do that though; instead we took some inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci and very carefully drew and labelled a sketch of the outside of the heart. It looked like a lump of meat yet it had holes through the middle of it, lots of white, fatty bits and a few tubes hanging off the top.

Leonardo da Vinci’s heart sketch

Then we carefully cut the hearts open with scissors to look inside: and even though they were disgusting it was quite interesting! The heart felt stiff on the outside and squidgy in the middle. Inside we could see some tubes coming out of the top; they are called the Aorta and Vena Cava. There were also lots of little tubes called capillaries running all through the heart meat (which is muscle), and big spaces inside the heart called  the atrium and ventricle. These are the bits which fill with blood and pump it round the body.  We also spotted some white stringy bits, they are called the heartstrings. It is a saying that sad stories “pull on the heartstrings”, but they are really there to hold the valves in the right places.


Jamie and his poster


When we heard that we were going to dissect a heart, Charlotte was really excited, because she loves the gross things about science. James was worried at first, but loved the experiment because it was really interesting. And Jamie was so interested in what he saw, he went home and did lots of research to make this amazing poster!


By James and Charlotte

Posted in: Irchester, Lab13

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