Irchester News- Year 4 are starting their Primary Engineer Leaders Award

Year 4 are starting their journey to get a Primary Engineers Leaders Award . To get the award, they will have to solve a problem by thinking like an engineer. They will submit their ideas to see if get gets picked by the engineer judges to be built for real!

To get prepared and find out more about engineers, year 4 have interviewed a design engineer and a civil engineer to find out what their jobs are about. Our first Visitor was Mr Clarke, he is a Design engineer who helped year four find out more about all the many different types of engineers, as well as the process all engineers go through to to solve a problem. The year fours tried to match different names of engineers and pictures so we tried it out as well: Darcie thought it was interesting because she didn’t know there were so many types of engineer. Cheryl thought it was interesting because some of the names of the engineers were easy and some were hard.

Our second visiting engineer Mr Smith was a civil engineer, who told us about all the stages of becoming an engineer, and how he has helped to build all sort of things from hospitals to bridges!

Here are some explanations that children told us about what they learnt…

Catrina and Rosalyn: “They built a bridge in America 1940 and it collapsed because the designers didn’t think about the wind.”

Austin: “Oil can come from below the ocean, petrochemical engineers work to get it and turn it into fuel.”

Leonardo: “I enjoyed and  found it  interesting, my  favourite fact is that the first engineer was 5000 years ago and an ancient Egyptian”

Year 4 will get to interview several more engineers before they start to think like an engineer to come up with their own solution to a problem. Good Luck year 4!

By Miss Draper, Cheryl and Darcie.

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Irchester plans: renewing and improving our wildlife area this spring!

Lab_13 has new plans for the wildlife area this spring. Over the last few years it has become a bit overgrown and tumbledown, and we have lost our lovely hedge along the back fence.


We will plant a new hedge along this fence

First we are going to clean out the pond because there is a type of weed that is taking over the pond that we don’t need. It is blocking all the light for the other plants, and it smells really bad! We are trying to figure out what it is. The animals like newts and frogs which live in the pond need some plants, but not too many!

We are going to replant a brand new hedge. The Woodland Trust is very generously going to give us some new tree seedlings to replant, to keep the wind out. Family club is going to help us out with this.

Mr Allen has been helping us a lot. He fixed the fences and the foundation stage children helped him spread out bark chippings on the path.  They did it when they were on their forest Friday, which is where foundation stage goes to the wildlife area to explore outside every Friday.

On the fences we are going to put up the pictures of the Earth, Sun and Rainbow which Family Club repainted last year.

By Finlay and Holly (year 5)

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Irchester Committee with their Amazing Magic Magnetic Maze!

In lunch lab we have been doing a magnet maze and it was a HIT! It was the best lunch lab since the start of the year because so many children wanted to have a go!  Using magnets underneath the table, some children guided a paper clip through the maze made by Lab_13 committee members, and other children raced their paperclip around a race track while being timed. The fastest time was 1.7s!

It works because the magnetism is strong enough to move the paperclip on top of the table using a magnet from under the table, but the magnetism is not strong enough to pull the paperclip through the table, that would have to be a very strong magnet!

When you look at the experiment from above it looks like wizardry because the paperclip is moving by itself. But it’s not! The magnetic field from the magnet being moved under the table is actually moving the paperclip: Magic is just science dressed up.

This inspired us to make lunch lab this week even better: now we have a magnetic treasure hunt, and even a floating magnet! This one really looks like magic, but really it’s just because the magnets are turned round so that instead of sticking, they push (repel) each other apart.

By Oliver (Yr 5) and Archie (Yr 6)


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Irchester goes on a shopping trip for healthier snacks.

To start off the New Year, we have launched our Healthy Snacks project! We’re working with Change4Life, to help children at school make healthy choices about our snacks. Lots of snacks actually have lots of sugar or fat in them, so we have been investigating with the Change4Life food scanner app to find out more!

First, 8 children gave our tuck trolley a brief test. The change4life scanners disapproved of the majority of the snacks on the tuck trolley you are so used to. There were some shockers in the list of BAD SNACKS; strawberry fruity bakes, Belgian milk chocolate cereal bars and chocolate rice cakes all had red traffic lights for sugar; red berry cereal bars and mini cheddars were over 100 calories. So, if your mum takes you shopping, make sure she AVOIDS THOSE SNACKS! These were bad snacks because they had more than 100 calories, and they were far too high in other things like sugar, salt and fat for you to have daily, on top of breakfast, lunch, dinner and pudding.


Can you guess which pile is healthier and which is unhealthy?

On Tuesday 16th January, a group of children went to Tesco to use the change4life food scanner to find some healthier options for school. We used it to see what the healthiest snack choices in Tesco are. They explored up and down the isles to discover, who could get the healthiest choice? The children that went are: Lucy, Richard, Jude, Ruby, and then Demi and Emily from the committee.  They had 1 basket and one device to scan with in pairs. The winners of the healthiest snack choice were Lucy and Emily; they won with McVitie’s Rich Tea biscuits. Thanks to us, your snack trolley is healthily delicious. Everybody make way for your new snacks: Baked Kettle bites, McVitie’s rich tea biscuits, 2 flavours of Peckish rice cakes, Alpen light cereal bars, Healthy living bars, goodness strawberry bars, lightly salted crackers, baked hula hoops and baked fusions!

If you want to find healthier snacks for yourself, ensure that you or your parents download the change4life food scanner on their mobile phones before you next go shopping!

By Emily and Demi (Year 5)

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Gillespie News: S.E.A. club

We want to run a S.E.A. (Science, Engineering & Art) club because we want people to know how science, engineering and art can be useful together. Engineering is really creative, so is art and science is too. If they are put together they would add up to an amazing result. We’re really looking forward to inviting other local primary schools and in the future we would love to include secondary school children.

Children in the club will have the chance to enter the Primary Engineer Leaders Award as well. Children should join the club if they want to get better at engineering and to meet engineers. So we are going to hear from David, who took part in the competition last year, “I want to enter again because it was fun and it was a good challenge.”

Engineer blog

To find out more about the Primary Engineer competition, have a look at their website.

Written by Anisa & David

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Irchester News: New Year, New Term and New Committee!

The end of last term was sadly time for the old committee to leave, but they are going to become f.labs forever, that means they are the friends of the lab. They wanted to write a bit for you about their time on the lab:

Josh: I am very sad about leaving because I love science and being on the committee is a once in my life time opportunity. My highlight is when I got to take the baby stick insects home for summer, I got to watch them hatch!

Libby: My favourite bit of the lab was doing jobs and stick insects. I am very sad that we are going because I have had a good time here and really enjoyed getting to help with new experiments.

Sophie: I am really sad to leave lab_13, I have really loved working with everyone and I know the old committee have done really well. The new committee had really good interviews they will be great members. I have loved encouraging others to enjoy science as much as I do. Miss Draper has been a great teacher and she is one of the best scientists. I will really miss doing the stick insects, as they are my favourite. I give good luck to all the committee next term.

To find some new committee members, first we gave all the year 5s and 6s an application form. Then we chose the best to be interviewed. We asked them lots of questions, and we wrote notes to remember what they said. We also asked them about an experiment they would like to try in the lab! At the end, each committee member voted for three names by writing on a piece of paper the people that we think will be a good committee member: and here is who we all chose!

IMG_20180116_085441Hi, my name is Holly and I am a new committee member. I like playing Minecraft and doing science. I am very excited to be in lab_13 committee. Outside of school I like going on my quad bike and motor bike with my dad. Also, I like riding my skate board in my garden. In my interview my experiment was match box racing cars. What you need to do is make two stacks of books and a piece of card board balanced on top. Then, get two empty match box cases and turn them into a racing cars, with paperclips inside. After that get a stick and attach a magnet to the end and move it under the track. Then you’re done!

IMG_20180116_085601Hi I’m Demi. My favourite subject is science and that is why I applied for lab_13. In my spare time I play Lego Dimensions what I got for Christmas. In my interview my experiment was a solar oven. Here’s how you do it: You need to get an empty cardboard box and you make a big hole in the top and make to holes in the sides for a really thin stick. Cover the inside of the box with foil, and the big hole with clingfilm. Put what you want to cook (like marshmallows) on the stick in the box, and the sun can heat the box up so foods can cook.

IMG_20180116_085743Hi I’m Archie. I’m one of 4 new committee members. In the future I would l to play football in goal for a living ( Courtois is my inspiration) . My favourite video games are Destiny and Pokémon (old games and some new games). In my spare time I like to play on the Xbox with my dad. I wanted to be on the committee to help out the school society and because I like science, I want to help everyone in school learn science! In my interview the experiment that I did was colour changing milk, where you drip some food colouring on a layer of milk in a bowl. When you add some liquid soap the colours spread out. I love animals (cats are my favourite animals).

IMG_20180116_085356Hi, my name is Darcie and I’m a new member of the lab_13 committee. I’m a dancer and I love to perform and of course I love science. I’m also smiley happy and I love to play fun games but I can be sensible and I like a challenge. I’m also an animal lover. During my interview, we all explained a fun experiment. My experiment was called parting pepper, the way you do this experiment is like this: First you take a bowl and fill it up with water and sprinkle in some black pepper. The next step is to dip your finger into the water and nothing happens. Next you squirt some liquid soap on your fingertips and dip your finger into the bowl and the pepper splits to the edges, then you’re done!


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Irchester news: Let it Snow Science!

Snow Tracking

Last week, year 5 made the most of the snow by venturing out to discover unusual tracks that animals left overnight on the field! They managed to identify the beautiful animals that left these mysterious tracks overnight. Hayden from the committee was one of the team: “We followed some fox tracks and we found a massive hole in the fence, we think that the fox was trying to get into the school to find food” Cheryl told us: “We found some marks on the snow under the trees, where snow had melted and dripped off the branches.” Other groups think they also spotted cat, bird and maybe squirrel tracks.

Ice sculptures

Year 4 created some cool ice sculptures! We left them outside overnight on the coldest night so far, when the temperature was predicted to drop drastically to -12⁰C. They even created ice balloons; they used ice, snow, water, leaves, balloons and sticks. They had to create a masterpiece using those few materials. Their work turned out brilliantly and froze solid and it can be seen outside the lab. Here’s a picture! We were surprised that it was still frozen 2 days later!

Thank you for reading our blog by Emily and Finlay! (yr 5)

♥ Lab_13!



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