Quail Physiotherapy

At Irchester, Roxy gave some quail eggs to the lab to hatch. After just two weeks of incubating the first quail hatched. We now have 3 lovely little quail chicks. However, one of these chicks (the little stripy one) has spraddle leg. This means that his hips were dislocated when he hatched and both went flat out to the sides rather than being staright underneath hime and he is not able to stand or walk properly. Miss Hogan research how to treat spraddle leg and now we are all trained chick physios! The first thing we had to do was strapy the chicks legs together. He doesnt really lying on his back but it’s the easiest way to get the steristrip on. Then we have some physio exercise that we must do several times a day. The first one is putting him into a narrow glass with no room to lie down. We used a tubberware cup but stuffed the other side so that he can only stand. As the chick doesnt like being in the glass he pushes up with his legs straight underneath him to try and get out. This is a good way of strengthening the muscles that he needs to keep his legs straight underneath him when he stands. The second exercise teached him how to balance. He is used to balancing on his tummy and pulling himself along with his legs but we teach him how to walk correctly by putting his little body between two of our fingers and allowing him to walk forward without falling over. We are gently taking the weight of his body while he works on moving his legs forward. Our chick is improving but we have to keep a very close eye on him. Hopefully he will be able to walk properly in a few days.

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Good bacteria – lactobaccilus

Collage (2) As part of our Dirty Stinky Children project we want to know all about microorganisms – the good, the bad and the ugly! We have learnt a lot about infections and diseases, rotting and decomposing and how our bodies protect themselves from disease but then we went to the lab to find out how some bacteria are useful.
We made yoghurt with lactobaccillus bacteria. The function of the lactobacillus is to ferment lactose (milk sugar) to produce lactic acid. The increase in lactic acid decreases pH and causes the milk to turn a bit more solid and into yoghurt.
First we had to measure out 400mLs of milk and add 30g of dried milk for added lactose. Then we heated it to kill any microorganisms that might have entered from the air. We waited for it to cool down to 40degC and added 30g of a starter culture. Our starter culture was a natural live yoghurt. Live yoghurt means that the bacterial cultures inside are still alive. Then we mixed it very well and put it in a water bath over night at 40degC. When we checked in the morning our milk solution had been converted into yoghurt!

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Swabbing the School (Irchester)

Collage (1) We swabbed different parts of the school searching for bacteria. To do this we had to make agar gel.The way this works is the bacteria feeds on the glucose in the nutrient agar which makes them grow into a colony very fast. Even though we can’t see microorganisms, colonies of them are visible. Then we can use graph paper to roughly calculate what % of the agar is covered with microbial colonies.
We made agar gel by mixing 4g of agar powder with 200mls of water. After we mixed the solution we heated it up on a Bunsen burner, we waited until it boiled then we had to quickly remove it from the flame before it frothed over. We left the solution for about 10 minutes to cool down. After the liquid cooled down we had to quickly pour it into several petri dishes where it would set.
The next day we swabbed different parts of the school to see how much bacteria on it there was. We took samples from the keypad at the door, the office phone, the PE mats, the tap, the water fountain, Mr Lett’s pen, a Year3 door handle and our own fingerprints. The, we left the agar plates in a cool dry place for 6days. When we checked again we were astounded at our results. Just as we had predicted there were a lot of different types of microorganisms around our school and even on our fingers! The colonies were lots of different colours, shapes and sizes showing us the range of microbes that are living around our school!

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Kids Conference Results – Hawking Table & the T in STEM

IMG_20140624_121227On our table the topic was the T in STEM – technology. We think that technology is becoming way more important in school and with coding and computing being in the news a lot. We discussed how our schools and labs used technology and which hardware and software were good or bad.
Some of us mentioned that we liked Scratch from MIT. Both Irchester and Gillespie run CodeClubs and are used to using Scratch. It is easy for beginners and young children. Irchester spoke about using python and html coding but Alessandro said that they thought it was boring. So, we introduced Alessandro to Ashton one of our top coders and they spent lunchtime playing with Python, using the Raspberry Pis that we have and guess what!? Alessandro said it was actually fun! We recommended that Dovecote start a CodeClub and that Gillespie buy some Raspberry Pis. Gillespie told us all about the 3D printer that they had. They used it for some very interesting work and said it was a fun lesson and so we think that we might try get one too.

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Kids Conference Results – Darwin Table & Outreach

IMG_20140624_120749Nicholas and Jess’ table: outreach.
The topic on our table was outreach: how to talk to people outside of school about Lab_13 and how to tell people about what we do. Once we started, I had to lead by asking questions about how we talked to people outside of our own school. We talked about the Lab_13 blog – sharing what we did over the week. After that we mentioned QR codes, a way to take people to a website link or video. In Irchester we use these to publicise our Youtube videos and also our blogs to parents.
We also talked about winning awards for school. Our most important award is the PSQM (primary science quality mark). It’s a good way to show that science in schools is accredited and proven to be a high standard. We have just submitted for a gold mark after receiving our silver last year. Dovecote are now beginning their application for their first award and Gillespie have now got silver.
We also talked about the Lab_13 clubs; Gillespie runs STEM clubs and we do science clubs and coding clubs. We all thought these were good ways to make sure lots of people use the lab. We thought about internet outreach, YouTube was suggested, we thought about blogs we could do on YouTube and maybe websites like Instagram, Facebook, twitter, face time, Skype, and DB primary. An amazing idea was all the management teams from each school should stay in contact, we could pass on ideas and tell each other what we’ve been doing, it could improve the bond and knowing of all the Lab_13’s .

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Lab_13 Kids Conference 2014!

IMG_20140624_151926Today, Lab_13 Irchester hosted the Lab_13 Kids Conference. It was the first time ever that the management committee kids from all the Lab_13s met up at the same time! Management teams from Gillespie, Dovecote and Irchester joined together to share our experiences in our labs in the past term, learn from each other and be inspired by each other.

The day began about 9am when Cathy Bereznicki and Alex Sanson (from Ignite), and Rachel Dunford (our DSC evaluator) arrived. Ella and Jess loved showing Cathy around the lab and teaching her about how we work and what we do. The boys enjoyed talking to Alex about technology. Rosie and Ellie enjoyed biscuits and chatting with Rachel! Bryson, the Inventor in Residence at Dovecote came soon after. Then, at about 10.20 we got the phonecall…. Lab_13 Gillespie were here! We introduced ourselves, gave them name badges and biscuits (yum) and took them out to play after their long train trip. Then, Ella, Finley and Jess went to go collect Lab_13 Dovecote from the office.
After we had relaxed and gotten to know each other, it was time to get to business. Each management committee shared some slides about what they have done in their labs recently. We talked about our Science Residentials, our Girls in STEM work and, of course, how we celebrated our fantastic 3rd birthday! Gillespie spoke about their chicks, their science clubs, their science week and the Science Cinema night. Dovecote were sharing about their work on Willow trees, their shop and how they have started a committee club like ours for getting their jobs done. We found it interesting to find out what they have been doing!


IMG_20140624_115050 Then, we started the Kids Unconference. During the week, we had come up with some topics that we thought it would be important for us to discuss; Outreach Activities, Management Responsibility, Using Technology in Science and a Rewrite the Mission Statement session. Two of the Irchester committee were stationed at a table and began one of the discussions. Each table was given a name from Darwin, Hawking, Brunel, and newton (our house team names). Then, every 15mins, the Gillespie and Dovecote children were swapped around and discussed a new topic on a different table. We will update you with the results of the Unconference soon.

At lunchtime, in the glorious sunshine, we sat on the daisies and had a picnic. It was a beautiful day and we mingled together making new friends. Once we had eaten, we entered the gates of the wildlife area. It was overgrown and wild. The plants had grown like beanstalks since the weather got hot. We felt like ants in a new territory. The pond was teeming with beautiful subaquatic creatures, the dragonflies jumped around on the reeds and the newtpoles looked happy to see us. We fished around in the pond and found many tadpoles, froglets, insects and newtpoles. The other Labs seemed to enjoy it and were stunned at the beautiful wildlife.


IMG_20140624_133128Then it was time for the group photo. We took many practice shots as the sun in our eyes made our faces funny and Miss Hogan struggled to find a photo where we all looked ok!
Then we did our Dirty Stinky Children showcase. Only Gillespie and us were part of the DSC project so we told Dovecote what we were doing in ours. Gillespie showed their approach and we showed ours. It was interesting to see how we both are teaching the same thing but in different ways. Suddenly, it was time to wave goodbye to our new friends and colleagues.
IMG_20140624_152735Then, after all that, we skyped Rick (from Ignite!) who was in Paris. He was sad he couldn’t come but we told him all about our day and what we had learned and enjoyed. Rick showed us around the lab Le Laboratoire.
We had an awesome day and are looking forward to next year’s Kids Conference aleady! Who knows what we will have achieved by then!

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Year 2s discover Grendon ecology for John Muir Award!

??????????Our Year 2s in Irchester also went on a science residential last week. Miss Hogan went with them to complete a range of science activities to explore the farmland and gardens of Grendon Hall. Using the ethos of the John Muir award, the Year 2s discovered and explored a new wild area, shared ways they could conserve it and will share their work.

All fortynine 5 and 6 years olds were very excited to start their experiments and on the first day went on a lichen hunt. Using the OPAL surveys, the children explored the walls of Grendon Hall, the cobbled pavements, the trees in the woods and the pavements and did a tally chart to see how many of several types of lichens they could find. We ahd a chart to show which lichens loved nitrogen in the air, which lichens hated nitrogen in the air and which lichens didn’t really mind either way. We quickly became experts in identifying lichen species and fruiting bodies and began to notice a pattern in where the lichens were being found. The adults that were helping were also very enthusiastic and said they learned a lot! We found that mostly there were nitrogen loving lichens or those that didn’t mind. We think this is because there are a lot of farms near Grendon and farmers can use nitrogen based fertilisers on their crops.

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The second day, we conducted a climate survey where we became excellent cloud spotters quickly being able to identify the different type of clouds and whether they were low, medium or high clouds. We used compasses and bubbles to find the direction of wind across the gardens and mirrors and compasses to find the direction that the clouds were blowing in. All of this information is very important to the OPAL climate survey and we will be sharing all of our information with them.

The last activity was the Species Quest hunt and we found lots of the Tree Bumblebees which are one of the important species to look for. It’s been a decade since the Tree Bumblebee arrived in the UK by itself, and in that time it has spread rapidly. We are helping to map how far north and west it has spread and where it is now found.
It doesn’t seem to be damaging any of our native bee populations and is a very effective pollinator, so we were very excited to find some in Grendon!

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