Black History Science Fun and Horrific Halloween Treats

Black History Science Assembly

Today we prepared and presented a science assembly to do with black history month so that the children at Gillespie could learn about black scientists. The scientist we based our assembly on was Mae C Jemison. When we were researching her life and achievements we found out she has two degrees in engineering and medicine. Our favourite fact was that she can speak Japanese, Swahili and Russian. She was born in 1956 so how old is she now? (we asked the children in assembly and Carla in year five gave us the correct answer – 58)


Hannah is making a Mae Jemison finger puppet in STEM club

Spectacular scientific Halloween tricks

1. How to make a yummy-in-your-tummy Halloween cake

  • Make or buy any flavour cupcake
  • Make white icing by mixing icing sugar and water and wait a bit until it’s hard, then put it on the top of the cupcake.
  • Get some strawberry laces and raisins
  • Use the strawberry laces for veins
  • Use the raisins for pupils
  • Have a yummy-in-your-tummy treat!

One of the eye ball cakes from our last cake baking competition – not an exact replica of this recipe

2. How to make glow in the dark goo

  • Get a nappy
  • Open your nappy to get to the goo inside
  • Get some glow sticks – your choice of what colour
  • Put the glow sticks in the goo that you get from the nappy
  • Enjoy your goo!

Written by Arjen and Ruby, Y5

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Lab_13 Gillespie update: STEM club, making atoms & new stethoscopes!

In STEM club we made a card with special ink that conducts electricity. I’d had a practice trial with Lab_13 management committee. Then in stem club it was easy because I learnt from my mistakes.

Zarrin and Arthur trying out the conducting paint

Zarrin and Arthur trying out the conducting paint

Some children from yr5 and yr4 came to the lab with Carole to make atoms. They made some models out of play-doh after watching clip from the Big Bang theory and wondering why Sheldon  jump into a ball pit!

One of the atom models made from play-doh

One of the atom models made from play-doh

Carole recently ordered stethoscopes and we tested them out. We all thought they were really cool, and just recognised they were real stethoscopes! They are really cool because I’ve never used one before.It was weird to hear my heart. The rhythm is not what I expected!

Rayan testing out one of our new stethoscopes

Rayan testing out one of our new stethoscopess

Written by Zarrin (Y5) and Rayan (Y6)

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Lab_13 Dovecote teach the Chemists

explaining the experiment

explaining the experiment

On Wednesday the Lab_13 Dovecote Management Team came over to Nottingham Trent University to show a group of Graduate students and STEMNET Ambassadors how Lab_13 works and what is so great about it. This is part of a programme called CHEMworks that the University and Ignite! and STEMNET are running in six secondary schools in Nottingham with the Royal Society of Chemistry.  The idea behind the programme, called Chemistry for All nationally, is to see what works when special resources and activities are offered to schools to encourage more people to study Chemistry and think about careers involving Chemistry.

nice biscuits

nice biscuits

It was great for the Management Team to be at the University explaining how Lab_13 is run at Dovecote. Bryson also explained what his role as Inventor in Residence was and how he responded to the questions that the children bring into the Lab.

The Management Team also demonstrated the power of film canister rockets using different chemicals to make carbon dioxide blow the lids off!



Bryson had to take evasive action when the film canisters went bang

Bryson had to take evasive action when the film canisters went bang

The adults learned a lot from the Y5 and Y6 members of the Lab_13 Dovecote Management Team – as they are planning to be Scientists in Residence in the schools across the city that are part of the CHEMworks project.

We wish them luck – and thanks for the biscuits!

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“How does an engine work?” – Hayden, Irchester

IMG_20141003_121739Hayden in Year 2 wanted to know how engines make cars go. We have two cutaway engines in Lab_13 and came to be engineers to the lab to find out how they worked too. We studied the cutaways and discovered the different parts such as the piston, cylinder, spark plugs and shafts. Then they learn how the spark plug changes the energy in the fuel into energy that makes things move.

IMG_20141003_114138That is called kinetic energy.  We used the bunsen burner to show how energy can changed from one type to another. After we saw the piston moving in a 4-stroke cycle, we used ourselves to model how the engine works.

We made a small corridor that would be the”cylinder”, then Mikey “The Piston” moved down the cylinder and lots of children (fuel) filled the cylinder. The gap where the fuel came in was closed and the piston began to come back up the cylinder. All the fuel was getting pushed very close together and we were squashed!! Then, Sophia (the sparkplug) sparked and ignited all the fuel which exploded and pushed the piston all the way back down the cylinder and made enough energy to make our pretend engine go. Then all the fuel crawled out of the cylinder as exhaust fumes.


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Lab_13 Irchester’s Giant Bug Hotel

We have made this Giant Bug Hotel in our Wildlife Area. It is over a meter tall and will be home to lots of wildlife from the area while they hibernate for the winter or just want to call it home.

As you can see we have many types of habitats in our Giant Bug Hotel.

  • Stones, bricks and old roof tiles for amphibians (frogs and newts etc)
  • conkers, dry leaves, fir cones and bits of bark for insects
  • bundles of garden canes, bamboo and small pipes for solitary bees
  • larger pipes and space for mammals at the bottom (hedgehogs)
  • dead woods and dry sticks for other insects
  • we will be adding some potted plants and mosses for extra shelter and insulation

Thank you to all our helpers who worked hard afterschool to make this.

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Bubble Busking for Macmillan

IMG_20140926_105703Every year, our school holds a Macmillan Coffee Morning. Each year group sings a song for the guests. We, the Lab_13 Irchester Committee, do some busking in between the acts and drop around all the tables amazing people with science. Busking can be quite difficult as you need to be able to carry all your equipment with you, be able to squeeze around lots of chairs and people and start talking to people of all ages. This was good experience for the new Year5s on the committee to practice their communication skills. At Macmillan coffee morning we asked people to try the Bubble Bursting Challenge and we explained the science of bubbles.

Molecules of water like to be very close to each other all the time and stay in contact as much as they can. When we add soap or bubble mixture, the bonds between the water molecules become stretchier so that when we blow air into it it can expand into a bubble without bursting. Bubbles only burst when the water molecules lose their bonds and break apart. Then we showed that you can put your hand inside a bubble without bursting it by using a very simple trick! If your arm and hand is covered in bubble mixture too then the wate molecules of the bubble join to the molecules on your wet skin and the bonds dont break! See if you can try it at home.

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Visitors in Lab_13

IMG_20140925_140611This week Rick came to visit us in Irchester to see how Lab_13 was doing and to see if we could offer advice to new Lab_13s.  It’s a bit like a party when Rick comes to visit. We had drinks, biscuits and selfies!

Rick started up our Lab 13 with Mrs Tyrrell and Miss Hogan. He brought with him Hasmita and two other ladies. One of them was one of Hasmita’s old teachers and now she wants a lab_13 in the school Hasmita used to go to in Leicester. The other lady, Mrs Eames, was a Primary Science Teaching Trust fellow from Leicester and she wanted to see what a real life Lab_13 looked and sounded like. They came to see what they would have to do to set up one of their own so we gave them ideas and told them why it would be a fabulous idea to have one!!



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