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...

Introducing Lab_13 Nethergate!

May 18, 2017

We are delighted to announce that the Lab_13 network has gained its latest addition!

Nethergate School in Clifton officially opened its Lab_13 in May, with the support and championship of the Deputy Head, Shelly Wood. Betti Copperwood, who is also the Scientist in Residence at Lab_13 Rosehill, will be working with pupils of all ages to explore key scientific concepts.

Nethergate is a school for pupils with learning difficulties and complex needs from across Nottingham.

So far this half term, pupils have been exploring light and shadow; looking at the way coloured materials, movement, reflection and distance affect what we see.


Pupils exploring light, shadows and colours


Posted in: Lab13, Nethergate

Gillespie news: mosquito or not?

May 16, 2017

We don’t think this is a mosquito larva as the head is so big

The week before last, we updated you on the mosquito project that we have been running. Recently, our scientific advisor who works at UCLH (University College London Hospital), Dr. Cathy Roberts, brought in some canal water from Regents canal in Kings Cross for us to look at. We were trying to identify some larvae that were in it. We looked at them under the microscope, but they didn’t seem to be what we were expecting. First of all, we thought that they might not have been mosquitoes, but Cathy looked in her mosquito book and we realised that they might be mosquito pupae. We were quite confused and asked Cathy to take a closer look at them. She concluded that they weren’t mosquitoes as the head looked too different to any species previously documented and were probably larvae or pupae of another animal. We haven’t found any mosquitoes yet, but we won’t give up!

Written by Naomi (Y5)

Hamza (Y5) has drawn a picture of one of his favourite animals from the book Creaturepedia, which the committee enjoy reading:


Posted in: Gillespie, Lab13

Irchester News part 1: Hoodies, Chicks and Snails

May 10, 2017

We have so much news on things that have happened, and will happen this term, that we’ve split it into two posts! Stay tuned to find out the rest…


New Committee and new hoodies! 

After the new committee completed their interviews, they had to learn what to do and the old committee showed them. It was scary for the new committee being interviewed because they didn’t know what was coming up, but now they are comfy and settled in with the old committee and have got the gist of things. We also have our new hoodies!  And we don’t just like them we love them! They look awesome, they are different to last years as they are from a new company. If you see one of the lab_13 hoodies, feel free to ask them an awesome science question.

hoodies walking

We took the hoodies on a walk up the road: to count steps ready for walk to school week!

New Chick visitors:

This term we have special visitors, chicks! Let’s just hope your sponsor won! Out of the original 20 we now have 8 eggs left, as we had 12 that did not grow at all because they were not fertilised. Today, Tuesday…the eggs are hatching!! A few eggs have tiny cracks, and for the first time they are breathing oxygen properly, and when they recover, they’ll begin cracking the rest! Potentially, by tomorrow morning, we’ll have a chick in place of an egg! It’s very difficult to be patient now.

Wednesday update! We now have 3 chicks, and there is a 4th one but it is not ready. It has the top cracked but is still in there: so hang on by tomorrow we might  have all of them. Number 5, 3 and 1 have hatched. There are still 5 to go.

(Wednesday afternoon update: the fourth one hatched! Class 4TT watched it live on the school webcam feed!)


New snails

So we have more good news! Over the holidays, our snails had babies! About 61, we think. Usually we get rid of the eggs because we don’t want hundreds of snails, but over the holidays they had enough time to hatch! Luckily they are all garden snails, so we’re going to keep them in the lab for a while, and do some (careful) experiments with them. When they get big enough we may send them back into the wilds of the school field.



Posted in: Irchester, Lab13

Gillespie news: Incredible (obviously) Physics

May 9, 2017

Incredible (obviously) Physics: The IoP

Last academic year, in November 2015, we took part in workshops with the Institute of Physics (IoP). During these workshops we designed drawings for the hoardings for the IoP’s new building.

Four people from the IoP – Paul, Rachel, Louise and Ian – came yesterday to announce whose drawings will go up on their hoardings. Paul is the Chief Executive of the IoP and he is an atmospheric physicist. He wanted to speak in assembly about the IoP, explain about its new building and do a weather experiment with us.

For the demo Paul brought a few small water bottles and some waterproof tape. He also brought a pre-made water bottle tornado as an example of what we were going to make and experiment with. We tested it by shaking it and found that the tornado wasn’t that clear or easy to see. On our next attempt we added some glitter to make the tornado more visible. The glitter swirled around and exaggerated the spinning water.


Working as a team to connect the two bottles with water proof tape


We were still not satisfied with this because as the water bottles were small the tornado did not have enough time to build up and wasn’t that clear for a demonstration in assembly. In our final attempt we used two much bigger bottles and some more glitter. This tornado worked much better than any of the previous ones. Here are instructions for how to make your own tornado in a bottle



Here are the Y4 and Y5 children whose art works will be on display. Y6 missed assembly due to SATs so will receive their certificates next week.

After the demonstration Paul awarded certificates and thank you prizes to the children whose art works have been chosen to go on the hoardings.  If you would like to see these art works then go to Caledonian Rd  on the corner of Balfe St, near King’s Cross.


Written by Kiri and Naomi (Y5)

Posted in: Gillespie, Lab13

Introducing: Irchester Lab_13’s new committee members!

May 4, 2017

For a new term, we have four brand new committee members! They will be shown the ropes by the old committee members, ready for the chicks to hatch next week and Lab’s 6th birthday at the end of term!

IMG_20170504_102219My name is Libby, I am 10 years old and my favourite subject is science. I like it because it is interesting and you get to do exciting things! I play football out of school and I also run. I have applied to be in the committee so many times, but I did not give up and applied again. This time I got in! That has made me really proud and happy. I am excited about cleaning out the snails and looking after them. I am also excited about the stick insects because it looks fun to clean out and they are interesting to learn about. I am very good at working with other people.

I am happy that lab 13 exists, because otherwise there wouldn’t be as many experiments and fascinating stuff to do in school!


IMG_20170504_125240Hi, my name is Joshua and I’m 10. My favourite thing I do outside of school is Rugby because I have made a lot of friends over the 3 seasons I’ve played. I like science because there is always something more to discover, and it’s very fun and there are lots and lots of different aspects to it. I’m looking forward to being on the committee because I would love to do even more science and it is also my favourite subject. My favourite job will probably be the snails because I would like to see if their eggs are different to other animal eggs.

When I was told I was on the committee, I was full of joy and happiness because I’m still in my first year at this school, so I was even happier to get this chance.


IMG_20170504_123541Hi my name is Brooke I am 10 years old. I love lab_13 because I love experiments. Outside of school I love to do lots of different experiments to see the reaction.  I love making slime, last time I made it and it worked, I put corn flour and shampoo in a bowl and mixed them together.

I am looking forward to being in the lab because I am really interested in science and learning about new things. I am also looking forward to looking after the snails because they are fascinating.

When I was told that I was in the Committee I couldn’t believe it, I kept saying to myself  AM I IN?! I applied so many times, but I kept trying and I finally got a chance!




Hi my name is Sophie, I am 10 years old. I applied for lab_13 because I think the experiments are really cool and I can find out new things. I love science because I like caring for animals finding out about new creatures. I’m looking forward to looking after the snails and stick insects, I have experience because I look after my dog called Millie.

Posted in: Irchester, Lab13, Committee, News

Gillespie news: mosquitoes & cleaning water

May 2, 2017

Mission Mosquito

In December you may remember that we wrote a blog post about a research project that we were going to start called Mission Mosquito. This term we have finally gathered a team to research the population of mosquitoes in Islington. Our project is going to focus on deadly mosquitoes that carry diseases such as malaria and Zika. The reason we are worried about these mosquitoes is because of climate change. As the UK gets warmer some mosquitoes from warmer countries may be able to survive here. In more tropical and hotter countries mosquitoes carry more diseases.

Cleaning water

Professor Kevin McGuigan is a medical physicist who is researching ways of getting clean water in East Africa. During lunch time he asked us questions about how we can provide clean water from dirty water . Some of the ways were to boil the water, use saris to filter the water or using sand. See if you can think of any other ways to clean water! He is going to talk to Y4 and Y6 about his work, we will tell you more about it after his talk.

Written by Naomi and Zac (


Posted in: Lab13

Gillespie News: Scientific Fun Club

April 25, 2017

The committee came up with the idea for a new lunchtime club, which we are calling the Scientific Fun Club. The reason why we started this club is so that children can learn more science in a fun way. We would like to hear if you have any ideas for a final name for the club. Here are some pictures of what happened in the club so you can see what we did.

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 13.34.55

Children could choose what they wanted to do – fun and games with a scientific twist

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 13.35.11

Children reading science books and playing science games

First of all we checked who wanted to come in each class. There were too many people who wanted to come so we invited a different class every week. This week it was a success. We had 23 children from Y1 and also some Y6s and committee members who helped out. Children could choose what to do from drawing, making Lottie doll accessories, playing games and reading books. The main rule was to have fun.

Written by Hamza and Reiss (Y5)

Posted in: Lab13

Magic Moments at Lab_13 Rosehill!

April 18, 2017

There have been a few really magic moments at Rosehill in the past few weeks that we’d like to share with you!


Having conquered the technique of the ‘marble run’, using a large cardboard tube and ping pong balls, Joshua is now developing ways of creating the required incline of the tube by leaning it against tables so that he can look inside the tube and watch the balls roll down.


Adrian  worked carefully and methodically to make three musical instruments during the Lab_13’s study of sound. When Betti, Rosehill’s Scientist In Residence, told him he could take them home, his whole face lit up!


During an activity where pupils were playing with ping pong balls on steel drums, Elizabeth found a cup from another activity, filled it with the ball and then developed her own system of ‘pouring’ the balls onto the drum.

Posted in: Lab13, Rosehill

Gillespie news: future plans

March 28, 2017

This morning the Lab_13 committee decided to act on the contents of a confidential letter (it was a piece of paper that we wrote on last week), which held the plans for the next term. Now we can unveil the hidden plans for next term, written by us, the committee.


Poster for the film Hidden Figures


We are delighted to announce that we will be screening a film called Hidden Figures in Lab_13. We really want children to be inspired by this story about equality for men and women and all people fighting against prejudice.

One other thing that is important this year: our summer fair will be more sciencey than ever before. There will be a competition (tbc) as well.

Written by Danny and Nojus (Y5)


Posted in: Lab13

The Irchester lab_13 Lectures!

March 24, 2017

Tuesday 14th March

For a long time we have been planning our Lab-13 Lectures, and tomorrow is the day! We are going to present our lectures about Sound to about 400 children and teachers! Jamie says that he is scared, but James is just excited. We have planned our talks in partners: Elizabeth and Izzy about how sound is made by vibrations, James and Ellie about how sound travels in waves, Ty and Sam have some experiments about how we hear sound, and finally Jamie and Charlotte have some great facts and recordings about how bats and dolphins use ultrasound. We’re about to go and practice at Wollaston: it’s really exciting!

Wednesday 15th March

The day has arrived we are all scared and nervous but hopefully it will go well! We meet in the morning at school at 8:15am, so that we have plenty of time to get ready for the lectures.


When we got to Wollaston School we went to the hall that was very big with comfy seats. We had some spare time to practise, when we practised there was just one thing that we all were doing wrong:  we were all talking too fast so we ALL NEEDED TO SLOW DOWN! We also got to practice with real volunteers for the first time: which was good because we discovered that volunteers are very bad at doing what you want!

During the actual show, it all went really well! The audience really enjoyed being part of a sound wave, and testing their own hearing.  After we did all our own lectures, the fantastic Rick Hall presented a quiz where the audience had to decide if new inventions were real, or made up.  Everyone in the audience got to vote by holding up wither a green (for fact) or red (for fiction) card.  Finally Mr Sheldrick and Mr Bodycote (science teachers from Wollaston School) did some experiments. Not just any experiments though: They were trying to impress us to decide if chemistry or Physics was the best!

committee lectures

Afterwards we had some time to experiment with our new giant slinky, and Rick showed us some more experiments he had brought with him. We also caught a few passing teachers and showed them all of our experiments! The day went very well, and when we got back to school everyone was tired. Elizabeth would love to do the lectures again though: maybe we will do them for the rest of our school!

Posted in: Lab13

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