The Most Rewarding Day of your Life Scientific

giant african land snail mgt selfie mgt team 1 mgt team 2The most exciting and rewarding day of your life!

While our Scientist in Residence, Miss Hogan, is away for three weeks teaching scientists and teachers in Abu Dhabi, the Management Team of Lab_13 would like to offer you a day working with the scientists of Lab_13 Irchester, near Wellingborough. This is a unique opportunity to work with dedicated researchers with boundless curiosity and endless questions in an excellent lab for a day of mutual discovery.

The offer: you sign up for one day working as a guest Scientist in Residence between Monday 10th and Friday 28th November, and describe your passionate area of interest, and we’ll supply you with a challenging range of questions and topics to investigate with us on your day in Lab_13, plus tea, coffee, water, lunch, biscuits (chocolate, two types) etc.. We can’t offer you a fee, but you will get the chance to experience first-hand one the most innovative programmes for growing young scientists anywhere.

Lab_13 Irchester is under one hour away from Birmingham, Nottingham, Cambridge or London St Pancras.

For details see our website
or contact the Management Team, Lab_13, c/o Jennifer Hogan, Scientist in Residence at Irchester Community Primary School -

Lab_13 Irchester – winners of the Primary Science Quality Mark Gold Award

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New members of the Lab_13 Gillespie Management Committee

We’d like to say a big well done to all the new members of the Management Committee!

Drum roll please…






Each of these children, we noticed, were full of confidence, very friendly and they all loved science.  They had to write an application, then we shortlisted them and interviewed them to find out the answers to other questions that weren’t on the application form.

Written by Perdie & Alessandro

Here’s what the children told Carole when they found out that they would be joining the Management Committee:

Arjen and Ruby really like skeletons!

Arjen and Ruby really like skeletons!

“I’m really excited and happy that I’m on the committee.” – Arjen

“I was ecstatic when they called my name because I looove science!” – Ruby

Arthur with our Bare Electric paint kit!

Arthur with our Bare Electric paint kit!

“I applied because I am very interested in science and I love engineering and robots. I wanted to have my picture with this because I love electricity.” – Arthur

Zarrin loves the question wall

Zarrin loves the question wall

“I wanted to be in the Lab_13 committee because I thought that it would be fun and I would try new things. I wanted a photo with the question wall because I want to show everyone how many questions we ask as a school, and encourage them to ask more! ” – Zarrin

Aisha, one of our many aspiring scientists

Aisha, one of our many aspiring scientists

“I wanted to be in the Lab_13 committee because when I grow up I want to be a scientist. “ – Aisha

Y5 5Y5 3

Carole invited the new committee members to Lab_13 for a team bonding exercise, making robot cards that will light up using the electric paint. Fun was had by all!

Written by Carole

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Jeans for Genes Science Week in Irchester

j4GJeans for Genes week was a huge success! Your genes are like Lego pieces – they join together to make you. There are jeans that you wear and the other genes make you who you are and make up your DNA. Last Friday the teachers got to wear denim and donate £1 to the ‘Jeans for Genes’ charity.  ‘Jeans for Genes’ charity helps children with genetic disorders and gives them special equipment.


We thought that we would have a Jeans for Genes Science Week in school and that each child would come to Lab_13 to learn about genes, genetic disorders and DNA – even the little children in Year 1!

We learnt that our genes are instructions for us and that our DNA is the collection of all the instructions (genes). We made Gene Sticks where we collected all the genes that made us who we are.

Gene mutations can happen in all living things – plants, insects, animals.We changed what some of Dora’s genes code for and made Dora Mutants! Some were small chages and wouldn’t have made much of a difference to Dora like going from straight hair to curly hair but some genetic changes such as genes for extra eyes would have made life very hard.

Some children learned about the structure of DNA and how are genes are arranged in the right shape and order. They made models of DNA out of recyclable materials.

j4g2Older children extracted DNA from cheek cells. It was difficult as they had to break through several different cell membranes to release the DNA. To get the DNA or genes from the inside of the nucleus, first we must break the cell membrane and dissolve the nuclear membrane.

We think that the ‘Jeans for Genes’ charity is a great charity for children with genetic disorders because it will help their lifestyle and make their lives a little easier.

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Lab Pets – Giant African Snail News!


We have some very exciting snail news! As you know, we have 4 Giant African Snails. who live in Lab_13. Darwin, Newton and Brunel are about 4 years old and little Hawking is almost 1 year.

On Monday we noticed that Hawking had disappeared under the soil. At first we thought she was estivating (when they close up their shell and sort of hibernate

IMG_20140916_160633inside) because it was not moist enough in the tank but when we picked him out we noticed that she had laid 6 eggs! After some research we found out that Giant African Snails will lay their first eggs from 9months old and they will hatch from between 7days to 6weeks. We carefully collected them and put the eggs into a small container with damp soil and left a little gap for some air. The container is in a warm corner of the snail tank and we hope to see some more baby snails very soon!

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GloGerms with the Irchester Cubs

IMG_20140915_182939On Monday night, I was delighted to be asked to visit the Irchester Cubs to help them with one of their badges. The children were learning about the importance of hand hygiene and how to stop the spread of microorganisms through handwashing. They meet in the village hall just across from Lab_13 so I was able to pack up all my UV lamps, Glo Germs gels and lotions and UV paints and bring them across.

glogermWe had a great time and the children enjoyed seeing how easy the transfer of microorganisms is just by holding something an infected person touched. We used the GloGerm gel to model ‘invisible microbes’. We couldn’t see anything to the naked eye but when we turned on the UV lamps and torches we could see the areas that were infected.Then we tested their handwashing and were disgusted (!!) by how many children forgot to wash their thumbs and backs of hands! Everyone learnt how the wash their hands like a surgeon would and went off to test their handwashing again!

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Lab_13 Gillespie lab coat logo design competiton

Every class in the school has an opportunity to create a striking lab coat logo design. The Lab_13 Management Team will be choosing the design that most represents Gillespie and our lab. This design will be embroidered onto lab coats, which children will wear when experimenting in the lab.

Here are the manufacturers’ top tips for designing logos:

  • Keep it fairly simple – bigger bolder shapes are ideal rather than lots of intricate bits
  • We generally work on 70 mm x 70 mm square (half the size of the square below)
  • Maximum 4 colours – without shading or blending

To make sure that everybody gets the information about the competition, we have the letter here Competition info which you can print out.

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Lab_13 Gillespie news, week of 8th September 2014

Applications are open for the Lab_13 Gillespie Management Team!

We would like to tell everybody that applications are open for Gillespie’s Lab_13 Management Team! If you go to Gillespie, and you are in Y5 (next term for Y6), we will be giving out application forms this week, and they will be expected to be handed in by the morning of Wednesday 17th September. We have attached the application form here Application form, so you can print it off if you need to.

We asked members of the current Management Team why you should apply, and they said:

“You should apply because you will get to help children with their science and it’s really fun!”
“I have gained more confidence, definitely, especially speaking in front of lots of people.”
“I have become better at science!”
“You will get help from the old committee to get you going in the first term.”

- Written by Alessandro and Henry, Y6

“What is Science?” and “Thinking like a Scientist” – Carole’s Bit

At Lab_13 Gillespie we want as much of the science that we do to be based around the children’s questions. As Scientist/Inventor in Residence here at Gillespie, I have spent much of my first week this term making sure that the children know what science is, and how to ask scientific questions!

This seems to be paying off, as my question wall is already starting to fill up with lots of brilliant scientific questions, and inventive ideas, some of which have already been investigated/created. Keep them coming in!

Here are two examples:

1. Five children in Y1 and Y2 wanted to know how to make potions. I invited them into Lab_13, along with five responsible children in Y5, who were their Lab Buddies to make sure that they stayed safe during experiments in the lab. After discussing what a potion is (between them, the children managed to work it out!), we considered how this linked with science and chemistry in particular, before considering the curious case of colour-changing cabbage.

Carole potion 1

Potion team

As you can see from the photos, plenty of experimenting took place – to find out which combinations of substances resulted in changes. At the end I checked whether they had noticed any patterns, and we recreated some of the most fun reactions:

Explosions 1

Explosions 5

2. During the introductory “Thinking Like a Scientist” session last week, I gave the children a fiendish challenge – to work out the interior construction of a mystery tube. This required the children to observe the tube, form a hypothesis about what was inside it, then to experiment with another tube and string to see whether they could recreate their results. Sumaya and Idil in Y5 asked to come back to Lab_13 as they didn’t have time during the session to work it out. I was very impressed as, rather than give up when their first design didn’t work, they wanted to try again until they succeeded. Which they eventually did! How did it make them feel? According to Sumaya, “It makes you feel really good to have worked it out, it’s something you can be proud of”

- Written by Carole, Scientist/Inventor in Residence

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