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: 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

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)

Thank you to parent Madalena Xanthopoulos for taking these fantastic photos – you can find more of her work on twitter 



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

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