Summer Term at Lab_13 Nethergate

Update from Scientist in Residence Betti Copperwood about what Lab_13 Nethergate has been investigating in the summer term:

At Lab_13 Nethergate we have been exploring inclined planes and movement. We introduced inclined planes using cylinders and guttering from which the students created their own slope and connected this to a row of dominoes. We rolled the balls and tried to knock down all the dominoes. One team developed a complex system of two branches of dominoes leading to a ping pong ball balanced on a block of wood. The ball knocked down the dominoes and on reaching the block of wood this tipped over and the ping pong ball fell into a cup. Very exciting!

We also used the subject of spheres to make giant bubbles using our own homemade bubble solution. We created dome bubbles on table tops and inserted our hands and blew bubbles inside bubbles! This required lot of skills: blowing slowly and continuously, holding the blowing straws at the correct angle, wetting the table and much more! The pupils had to learn the right sequence of method and have lots of patience. The students demonstrated great determination and practiced and practiced until they got it right.

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Irchester lab_13 investigation: What do the woodlice want?

Recently Family_lab helped us catch woodlice and make a woodlouse home in a box. Last week Year 2 got to find out some more about them! Year 2 are learning about habitats, so in the lab they experimented to see what habitat the woodlice like better by asking the woodlice! They made a home for them with one side wet paper towel and one side with dry paper towel to see witch side they prefer. Then they also did this but with light and dark, sand and soil and more!

After putting the woodlice in the enclosures, year 2 watched very carefully to see which side the woodlice went to, that would be the side they preferred. After a few minutes each group counted how many woodlice were on each side, and everyone added the results together.

In the end they found out woodlice mostly prefer dark, wet, soily places. The woodlice weren’t sure about wet or dry, 15 chose wet but 10 surprised year 2 by choosing dry! Almost all the woodlice chose the dark half, and soil rather than sand.

We asked some year 2‘s to tell us what they thought of the experiment, here is what Ava said: ‘I enjoyed it because I got to look at woodlice’

We asked Freya and Marli what they found out about woodlice: ‘We learnt that woodlice like soil and wet places’

Lastly here is what Esme said when we asked her what she found out about habitats: ‘I found out all insects have different habitats.’

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Exciting Experiments for schools visiting lab_13 Irchester!


Visitors from Whitefriars Primary, South End Infants and Risdene Academy came to Lab_13 last week to experiment about light, colours and how we see. They won a competition in their own schools:  about adaptation for KS2 and how rubbish affects wildlife for KS1. Coming to our lab was their prize: all the visiting children had a great time, and so did their teachers!

First they used CDs and coloured torches to split light into rainbows: they discovered that white light made a full rainbow, but coloured light only gave part of the rainbow. Then they made spinners with the CDs, blue tack and marbles, and coloured in the circle templates. They discovered that the colours mixed together when they span really fast.

They then investigated some jelly balls: at first they were invisible in the cup of water! When you look through them at something far away, everything is upside-down; but when you look through them at something up close it magnifies. The jelly ball acts the same as the lens in our eye, which is why the image we see at the back of our eye is upside down!

The last thing they did was dissect a pig’s eyeball. They are very similar to human ones, so that’s why they used them. We in the committee dissected an eyeball too: we discovered that if you look at the pupil, you’re actually looking at the retina at the back of your eye (because the pupil is actually transparent). The iris is the coloured part in your eye and the optic nerve sends the picture to your brain (where it gets turned the right way up again!) We also discovered that the inside of the eye is clear and jelly like, which is not what we expected.

By Saffron & Demi (yr 5)


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Wildlife and plants at Irchester

When we came back to school from the Easter holiday, it was surprisingly warm and sunny: which meant we could go on the field! While on the field some exploring people in year 2 found some weird flowers, they were called Speedwell (a little blue flower) and Chickweed (a tiny white flower). Holly, Merkeyria and Sophia found a strange looking daisy; when they found it they thought it was a mutated daisy. After lots of researching we figured out it was named a fasciated daisy. The daisy looked like two had grown together but actually it was one that got confused while growing and grew side-ways instead of in a circle.

Wildlife club were looking for signs of spring, they saw: birds collecting nest material, butterflies and bees, found some crocuses, a shield beetle (which landed on Freya), worms and ladybirds all across the play-ground last Wednesday.

Family club went on a bug hunt and built a woodlouse habitat for the lab. They found lots of insects and other mini- beasts, including: ants, centipedes, slugs, white tailed bumble bees and ladybirds (5 red and 1 black). They collected as many woodlice as possible to live in our woodlouse habitat, which is a box full of soil, damp wood and stones. The woodlice really seem to like it in there, and we’ll be using them for some animal friendly experiments with year 2 soon!

By Orla and Holly (Year 5)

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Hello from the new Lab_13 Irchester Committee!

Just in time for spring we are being joined by four new committee members, ready and raring to go and spread science!

IMGP2912Hi my name is Orla, I’m ten years old. My favourite subjects are science because we get to make new experiments, P.E because you get fitter and English because you get to use your imagination. I’m really excited to be looking after the snails and stick insects and trying out new experiments. At home I like reading and playing with my dogs, hamster and horse. In the lab_13 interview I was really nervous and excited at the same time, then I was so excited and happy when I found out I was in the lab_13 committee!


IMGP2910Hi! My name is Saffron and I’m 10 years old.  I have 3 favourite subjects; science, art and English. I like science because you can try fun experiments. I love English and art because you can be creative and use your imagination in both. At home, I sometimes help cook dinner and I like to draw. I’m looking forward to helping in the lab and being partnered with an old committee member. I have a dog called Cherry, and 2 cats. I like to play with my pets a lot and fuss over them. At the interview I felt very nervous because there were a lot people, but when I started answering the questions I felt more relaxed.  When I found out I was on the committee I couldn’t stop smiling! It was a very happy moment for us.



Hi my name is Merkeyria and I am 10 years old. I like dancing and singing and lab_13 is fun because we get to do experiments and talk about what we are going to do. We also get paired up and clean up the snail tank and stick insects. I like it and science. I also like science because it is interesting and fun. Some of my hobbies are drawing and cooking with my Dad and Mum, I also like to exercise, spend time with my friends and do science.


IMGP2916About me:

  • My name is Sam.
  • I’m 9 years old.
  • I like climbing, exploring, making comics and playing video games.
  • When I go outside I make the most of it by exploring and doing all sorts to have fun.
  • I like my own space but I’m open to playing and working with others.
  • My favourite subjects are p.e and art because I’m really good at them and they’re always interesting.
  • I’m thrilled to be part of the lab_13 committee and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me.
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Irchester News: Goodbye from the old committee

We have interviewed and chosen our new committee members (we think they’ll be amazing!), but sadly that means it’s time for the old committee members to leave. They wanted to say goodbye, and tell you what their time on the lab was like:

I’m sad about leaving the committee because it was a lot of fun! My favourite job was the stick insects, because I love how they crawled on my hand! My favourite trip was the big bang fair, especially the bit in the red lorry with the old console. Also, when I go into secondary school, I will know some facts in science like: different animals have certain different ages they can live to. I’m upset to leave but will remember me being on the committee! By Finlay


Unfortunately, the time has come for me to leave the committee. Lab_13 has taught me so many things, like:

-All stick insects are girls

-Snails poo from their neck and are boys and girls at the same time.

I never thought I would get on the committee, or make a rainbow tower, so I made the most of my time. I’m not completely leaving the committee, as I will become a F.lab (friend of the lab.)

Congratulations to the new committee, I wish you all the best. From Emily (Who is now a F.lab)



I’m really sad to leave the committee and I will miss the animals, but I will leave it to the new committee to carry on my jobs. I will really miss the committee but have learnt lots so good bye! From Cheryl.

It was very fun and interesting being on the Lab Committee. My favourite part was making a rainbow tower. I was glad to be on the lab but it is time for me to leave. While on the committee I have learnt to hold stick insects by the belly to make sure we don’t hurt them. By Reece



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Dovecote at the Real Science in School Symposium

In February, the Lab_13 Dovecote Management Committee went along to the Real Science in Schools Symposium, which was held at the Council House and was part of the Nottingham Festival of Science and Curiosity.

The Symposium was all about trying to get more pupils from schools across Nottingham involved in real scientific research. There were some really great speakers, Hephzi Tagoe and Becky Parker, talking about all the different ways pupils can be involved.

Lab_13 Dovecote went along with Scientist in Residence Bryson Gore to show off the investigations they do and to show their enthusiasm for being able to follow through on their curiosity about science. They demonstrated the multi-coloured slime that they made, which they also sell in little tubs to pupils in the school in order to help pay for the Lab_13! Everyone was really interested in them, and to hear about the kinds of experiments they do, especially because there will be more Lab_13s opening in Nottingham this year.

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