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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PSQM Gold Award

Logo Design 1b:Layout 1

We are delighted to announce that Irchester Community Primary School has been awarded the prestigious Primary Science Quality Mark Gold Award. We received excellent feedback for our report with Jane Turner PSQM National Director writing,

‘Congratulations on your very well-deserved PSQM gold award. I was looking forward to seeing your submission and was not disappointed. No wonder HMI Brian Cartwright raves about Irchester every time I see him!’

Mrs Tyrrell and Miss Hogan will go to a special award presentation in November and the PSQM results will be published in the TES. We are so proud of this achievement and want to say a huge well done to everyone in school who worked so hard towards this goal; the teachers, the teaching assistants, our fabulous science lead Mrs Tyrrell and of course all the students.

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New term….New team at Irchester

It’s a new term and time to welcome some new recruits to our wonderful Lab_13 Irchester management committee. It’s a tough job but these guys will responsible for the day-to-day running of the lab, fundraising, media and communications, liaising with the school office and staff, organizing resources and so much more… please give a warm welcome to our new Year 5 committee members!

IMG_20140909_161409Hi my name is Emily ,I love the M in STEM. I’ve been inspired by my mum working, doing maths, as an accountant. But I also love science – when I was 3 my dad died of cancer and it urged me to learn more about science, learning about old and new medicines. I would like to be a research scientists or doctor to find a cure to cancer or a medicine without making them feel sick or ill. My life has been and will always will be about science. I have been waiting to join the committee for sooo long and have I finally got through to year 5 and the committee! I’M SO EXITED!


IMG_20140909_161233Hi I’m Luca. My first time in Lab_13 was in Year 2 when I was chosen for a special Little Sherlock day for good scientists from lots of different schools to work in the lab.  Finally, I’m in Year 5 and have made it.  I have two favourite hobbies; science and sport. I would really like to learn about the science behind the best shots in football – because at the weekend I scored from the halfway line even though from where I was it looked like it wasn’t going to go in! My gran is a science teacher and she has always done science experiments with me at home. Once we made oxygen and tested it with a glowing splint!


IMG_20140909_160201I was curious at first then I plucked up the courage to apply be on the Lab_13 committee. . I used to be the Curiosity Cupboard Curator which means I was in charge of making sure everything was always in the right place and in good condition. I am very interested in animal science (zoology) because I live on a farm and care for animals every day. I find lots of discoveries like – I found a bones of a sheep skeleton and I see grass snakes swimming. I’m looking forward to helping others enjoy the science in the outside world!


IMG_20140909_161333Hi my name is Beth and I am the S in STEM. Lab_13 came to our school when were only in Year2 and, ever since, I wanted to be part of the Lab 13 committee. I want to do more work on inspiring girls into science and to learn to love it just like we do. My brother inspires me into science because he shows some science experiments that I thought was interesting. My mum inspires me as well because she is a nurse and she shows me stuff to do with science and how she can use science at work to make people feel better. Finally I had the chance to apply and after shortlisting and interviews it just came true!






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“Getting passionate about primary science” – featured on the Wellcome Trust Blog

Last year, Irchester Community Primary School were featured as a case study in the Wellcome Trust report on The Deployment of Science and Maths Leaders in Primary Schools. We were one of three different types of models showcased; that being of a hugely passionate science leader AND a scientist in residence. 

Yesterday, we were delighted to have been asked to feature on the Wellcome Trust blog as they released their recommendations on the findings from their original research entitled “Primary Science: Is it Missing out? – Recommendations for reviving primary science“. We discussed the reasons why and how we work tirelessly to ignite our students’ curiosity and  develop them into little scientists…..more


JH and Bethany and Georgia Y1

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