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...

Science Experiments CPD with Lab_13 Rosehill

November 21, 2017

This week the Scientist in Residence at Lab_13 Rosehill, Betti Copperwood, ran a training session for teachers at the school all about how to make science experiments really creative, engaging and educational for pupils. Betti used the theme of ‘air’ to demonstrate different ways of approaching a topic and showing how teachers can use different experiments to illustrate a key point.

Blowing through straws creates a rasping noise and demonstrates how vibrations are created by air; the fact that you can feel the vibrations on your lips makes this particularly effective. There was also the lava-lamp experiment, where you add an alka-seltzer tablet to a bottle with water, oil and food colouring in and you can see the bubbles float to the top of the solution because they are lighter. Putting a tea-light in a bowl surrounded by bicarbonate of soda, lighting the candle and pouring in vinegar demonstrates the existence of a gas because the carbon dioxide produced puts out the candle.

There was also the balloon racing car – the air that is released from the balloon creates a force which moves the car forwards. And finally there was the experiment where you add bicarbonate of soda to vinegar and feed the gas produced through a tube into another bottle of water. This was really popular because it’s a really visual experiment and it is clear to see that a gas has been produced.

The session was very successful and it’s great to see that the Lab_13 in Rosehill is taking hold and having a wider effect on the teaching of science across the school!

Posted in: Lab13, Rosehill

Irchester lab_pets: stick insects!

November 20, 2017

This week on blog we are going to talk about the stick insects: they were jealous after the snails got a whole blog to themselves! Before the holiday we saved stick insect eggs: some hatched over the summer holiday, but suddenly, this week a few more stick insects have hatched! They are living in a little pot at the minute to get used to being in a bigger area. As soon as they get used to their new home and have grown bigger, they will move into their next new home. They are really different to the big ones as they are much paler in colour and are only 1cm long. But they are also similar because they are exactly the same shape, just smaller!


Our medium stick insects are doing really well and love their new home, they are only 3 months old. Soon they will be big enough to move in with the adults!

Our oldest stick insects are doing really well, but sadly one has lost a leg. This happens when they get old, and as stick insects only live for 1 year these ones are really old!

We hope more will hatch soon and they like their new home. We’ve decided to keep 13 stick insects, as we are Lab_13!

By Cheryl (Yr 5) and Sophie (Yr 6)

Posted in: Lab13

Gillespie news: the science of space

November 14, 2017

The Science of Space

On the 5th December the science committee have arranged a family learning night, where families can come to learn more about the science of space.

There are a few surprises in store. We are lucky to have some hard-working collaborators working with us including adult scientists and children from other Islington schools.


Our newest Lego set – Women of NASA

There will be Lego building (with a difference!) and star gazing and plenty more including some surprises. This Lego is no ordinary Lego – it’s the brand new Women of NASA set! We will be very happy if you can join us.

Written by Marwa and Anisa, Y5


Posted in: Lab13

Irchester research: how clean are your hands?

November 10, 2017

This week, we will be talking about the experiment Year Four did to find out if washing your hands actually works. They did it to show people how important proper handwashing is, to help keep people healthy and help SAM, our School Attendance Matters dog raise our attendance!

The way the experiment works is the whole group handed around a piece of bread with hands that were not washed, rinsed with water and washed with soap. Each time they used a different piece of bread. The idea was that the germs, bacteria and mould from the hands would be spread onto the bread. We left the bread slices in bags for the germs to grow, but sealed because we didn’t want any illnesses to spread. The control of the experiment is the slice of bread NOT touched by anyone, so we could see the difference our hands made. We also split the group into girls and boys, to see if there was a difference!

The results are…

Boys: Boys’ hands washed with water caused more mould to grow on the bread than dirty hands, probably due to bacteria liking water which helps them grow. Hands washed with soap were the cleanest, but still had quite a bit of mould.

Girls: The girls had the same pattern, but their hands were much cleaner than they boys, and after they washed their hands with soap there was hardly any mould at all!

So year 4 discovered that washing hands with only water actually makes germs spread faster, but using soap really does help. After washing their hands with soap the girls in our group put almost no mould on the bread, it was almost as clean as the control bread. Even though the boys got rid of some germs when washing their hands, maybe they need to be taught how to thoroughly wash their hands!

Year 4 told the rest of the school about their discoveries in assembly, hopefully their research will help all the children (and adults!) keep healthy this winter!

By Oliver (Yr 5) and Josh (Yr 6)

Posted in: Lab13

A Big Snail Update from Irchester!

November 9, 2017

There have been lots of goings-on in the Lab_13 snail tank recently, so we thought we’d tell about some of them!

Firstly we have a new arrival in lab_13… It’s a snail. His name is Bobby, though we are hoping to change his name, as he doesn’t seem to answer to Bobby! A Year 1 boy called William gave us Bobby, because they didn’t have enough space for him.  Bobby has settled into his new home really nicely, and made great friends with the other snails. We discovered some interesting news: African snails live for about for the average of TEN YEARS!!!! Bobby is only 1 year old, so he should be with us in the lab for about 9 more years!

If you come into the lab, and find a large square of polystyrene on the side of the snails tank, it’s a new heater! We added the heater because the weather is getting colder, and the African snails despise the cold: they originate from Africa which is very hot. The polystyrene insulates the heater and makes sure all the heat goes into the tank. We also added a mesh hole on the lid to give the snails a bit more fresh air.


Recently, the snails have been getting lots of different foods; they especially liked the pumpkin we gave them. These are the food we gave them: pomegranate, pumpkin, courgette, green pepper, kiwi, beans and blackberries. The reason they got such a choice is that year 5 have been investigating different seeds, and learning that anything with seeds inside it is a fruit, including “vegetables” like tomatoes, pumpkins and runner beans! Once year 5 had chopped the fruits up and dug out as many seeds as they could find, we gave the left overs to the snails.

By Emily, Libby, Brooke and Finlay.


Posted in: Lab13

Lab_13 Rosehill at the Nottingham Science Fair!

November 1, 2017

Lab_13 Rosehill was part of the Nottingham Science Fair in October! A group of pupils worked with Betti on experiments which they then presented to other groups of children taking part in the fair.

Pupils from Lab_13 Rosehill made lava lamps mixing oil, water and food colouring and adding an alka seltzer tablet – the gas produced pushes up through the water and oil in bubbles! This experiment was really popular with other children who all wanted a go at making their own.

They also did another experiment blowing up a balloon using the gas produced from the reaction between bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. The balloon fills with a gas that is heavier than normal balloons – when you attach them to a helium balloon, you need three of them to pull it down!

Pupils produced diagrams of their experiments and learnt about different experiments from other children at the Science Fair.

Posted in: Lab13, Rosehill

Lab_13 Nethergate at the Nottingham Science Fair

November 1, 2017

Pupils at Nethergate have recently been working in the Lab_13 with Scientist in Residence Betti Copperwood on some special investigations and experiments. These experiments were presented to parents, teachers and other children at the Nottingham Science Fair in October!

Nethergate team

Pupils Brianna, Kayden, Jon and Cameron worked with Betti for four weeks on experiments which were led by their own ideas. They were especially interested in experiments which produced exciting visual reactions, like the coke and menthos experiment. This led to an interest in different gases – their different weights and how they are produced.

At the Science Fair the group presented several experiments. The first involved mixing bicarbonate of soda and vinegar in a bottle and putting a balloon over the end – the carbon dioxide produced blows up the balloon! This balloon was passed around the audience and everyone could feel that it was heavier than a normal balloon, and much heavier than a helium balloon. It took three CO2 balloons to pull down a helium balloon!

Another experiment was adding sandpaper to coke, which produces a reaction similar to the coke and menthos experiment. This is because this reaction is physical not chemical, and it’s the rough surface of the menthos and sandpaper that produces the reaction.

The children shared their experiments with the other schools (including Lab_13 Rosehill) and youth groups at the Science Fair and were also able to try out other experiments like making slime, using microscopes and investigating optical fibres!

Posted in: Lab13, Nethergate, Rosehill

Lunch_lab at Lab_13 Irchester!

October 30, 2017

Every day at lunch time, two committee members will be on the playground doing a special science experiment for anyone to take part in! We call it Lunch_Lab, and would like to tell you about some of the things we have done recently.

First we have been doing leaf rubbings in lunch_lab. They look spectacular they look like they’re actually the real leaf before it was rubbed with a crayon. Lab_13 love them and are so amazed by the work. The younger children loved collecting leaves, and one boy did 6 leaf rubbings in one lunchtime! We carried on with the leaf theme, and make a leaf rainbow another week:


We have also done sinking and floating tests to see what sinks and what floats. If you’re up for a challenge the try and balance a paperclip on water: even though metal sinks a paperclip can float on the skin of the water! We also discovered that a ball of plasticine sinks, but make it a boat shape and it floats!


Last week, people came and coloured in their own camouflaging butterfly. They chose where to hide them, then coloured the butterflies in to disguise them. Everyone had so much fun creating their own little camouflage butterfly. And this week for lunch lab we will be looking at pictures of camouflaged animals, and trying to find hidden multi- coloured wool caterpillars: which colour will be able to hide in the bush the best?

By Brooke and Finlay

P.S as well as Lunch_Lab, Wildlife club does all sorts of animal activities every Wednesday, with help from Miss Draper and the Committee! This is them testing out different Bird Beaks:


Posted in: Lab13

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