Irchester Experiments: at the Macmillan Coffee Morning!

A couple of weeks ago, it was Macmillan Coffee Morning.  While parents were eating yummy food and drinks, we were showing some extraordinary experiments. The week before we had a lovely visit from Rick Hall, who gave us some great ideas and advice on science busking!

coffee mornig 2

Our favourite experiments were: “marshmallow hands”, “oven tray sounds” and “hole in your hand”! Marshmallow hands consisted of a picture frame and some crisscrossed wire. What you have to do is put your hands together over the wire and rub them together. Your hands will feel like marshmallows or silk. This works because the nerves in your fingers are tricked by the rough wire.

coffee morning 5

The hole in your hand experiment is where you have a tube. You have to put the tube to your eye, but don’t poke yourself! Then put your other hand in an ‘L’ shape and open the other eye. What do you see? A hole in your hand!! This works because your eyes see two different pictures and your brain merges them together.


coffee morning 3

The last one was a sound experiment. You had an oven tray or a slinky, with string attached to it. At the end of the string was a loop. Put your fingers through them, and put your fingers in your ears. Bang the oven tray or drop the slinky… What do you hear? Church bells? lasers? Maybe both! The sound is really loud because the string is a good sound conductor, so the sound travels along it really easily.

These experiments were very fun to do, and the parents really enjoyed them as well!

By Saffron and Lucy




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Evolution of Slime

Lab_13 Dovecote were very sad to see their long-standing Scientist in Residence, Dr Bryson Gore, leave the lab to train to become a teacher. However, they celebrated all the great work they’ve done with Bryson in his time there with a video about their favourite experiment: slime!

Watch the video below!

This is the first in a series of experiments that will form the Lab_13 Cookbook.

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New committee off to a super start at Irchester.

A fresh bunch of committee are joining us again this term: they were interviewed and chosen right back in July, so they’ve had all summer to think about what amazing things we’re going to do this term! We’re already thinking about our science busking for the Macmillan Coffee Morning, planning a brand new “Science in the News” report, and coming up with ideas for exciting new lunch_lab experiments!

Some of the new committee wanted to introduce themselves, so here we go!


My name is Kye and I joined the lab because I wanted to help out with the experiments, plus I like to help with all sorts of stuff. My age is 9 and I like to do science and maths plus experiments. I felt very excited when I was in the interview, some of the questions were easy and some were hard.



Hello my name is Amelia and in November I will be 10. I like maths and my Dad teaches me as he is a mathematician. In the holidays my sister got married and I was a bridesmaid. When I got back to school I got so nervous at first but then I was OK. I love Lab_13 because I enjoy science. I have science books and that’s how I learn. I am in 5JD and my teacher is Miss Dawson.



Hello my name is Lucy, I’m 9 years old.  I joined lab _13 because I like the idea of helping other children learn about science. I like science and my favourite thing to do in school is English and Maths, because English helps us to do our writing and Maths helps us do

hard calculations that we might have to do at home or school.

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Lab_13 Koli – peukut pystyyn

We are delighted to announce that our new Scientist in Residence, Claire Simpson, has arrived in Koli, and is staying at the artist in residence studio (handily above the cafe in the village).
Claire is a specialist in Forest School and will combine art and science during her three weeks with us.  Claire has also been working with the Nethergate School in Nottingham where there is another Lab_13.

Koli Koulu (the school) has also gone through some changes since last year when Joe was here as Scientist in Residence. We’ve doubled in size! Pupils from a neighbouring village are now coming to Koli, so we have 48 pupils in the school now.

Rick came in last week.. he is also visiting the village this week, and brought in some microscopes – he explained that he had borrowed some from the UK Royal Microscopical Society, but he also had some microscopes that you clip on to I-pads and I-phones which he has donated to the school.

And five Foldscopes – the paper microscopes which have great magnification, though they are a bit fiddly to construct. Rick and Claire offered to put the Foldscopes together and test them and then bring them into school.

Rick also brought his Night Camera. He said he really wanted to capture the image of a lynx.. so we shall have to see what we can do, before we have to return it when Claire returns to UK.

The season is changing here in Finland, and soon the days will be shorter than the night time. But this is always a good time to go foraging in the woods and forest near the school and up towards the national park. It is always very beautiful at this time of year, and there are lots of different kinds of fungi to collect or leave alone. You have to know which is safe to pick!

We hope to show some images soon – maybe even a lynx on the night camera! Fingers crossed…. or peukut pystyyn as we say in Finland

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Alien Invasion at Irchester!

As part of our birthday celebrations last term, we launched a competition to design an alien! Stephen Hawking thought that as the universe is so huge, there must be some kind of life elsewhere, even though we haven’t discovered it yet. So the Committee asked pupils to show us what they thought alien life might look like, and they came up with some fantastic ideas: with pictures, collages, models and even a video!

We had lots and lots of entries, but could only choose 6 winners! The overall winner was Freddie in Year 6. His alien was a robotic type, with a very thoughtful backstory to it: the alien is called Peter from planet Cyberscrap. He is half alien with human DNA and has a probe he can use to take the temperature of other beings. Planet Cyberscrap used to be called Earth until the rubbish (that the humans littered) overtook, raising the temperature, and destroying the entire human race along with all living creatures. All that remained of human creation, apart from the rubbish, was Artificial intelligence. Now peter recycles to save his planet from the fate that the humans caused.

The runner up was Jack in yr 1, who made an amazing silver robot alien, with an openable chest showing his lungs, heart and squishy brain. The other key stage winners were: Sophia from yr 5 who made a squid like alien from Neptune with one adaptable eye and sensors to detect living things. Harry in yr 1 made an multi coloured alien with lots of eyes and arms for different uses, which lives on volcanic Venus. Charlotte and Kane from year 3 worked together to create an alien that rolls along the sea floor eating plastic. Finally Isabelle from Foundation created a great collage of an alien from Jupiter, with an antenna to detect its favourite foods of slime and bugs.


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Irchester news: The Great Science Share!

For the Great Science Share last week, we invited any of our pupils to bring some science in that they would like to share. We then ran a science fair at lunchtime to let our scientists share their work with the rest of the school!

We had a fantastic range of projects brought it: from write ups about trips with families, to models they had made and even full-on science investigations carried out at home!

About 30 children from the school took part, and many more came to find out from the sharers what they had done. The best projects included Sophie in year 1’s fantastic display about her trip the the Science Museum, Jaiden in Year 3’s excellent project investigating the effect of friction in a marble run, and Emily in Year 5’s great interactive look at the Laurel/yanny audio effect, including the science behind why not everyone hears the same thing (it’s all to do with whether you hear the higher or lower frequencies better). The Lab Committee helped set up the event, then encouraged other children to come and ask the sharers what they had brought in, and handed out plenty of stickers to the best sharers!

All the sharers and the lab committee then got to go to a fantastic science show in the afternoon, from the fantastic Sam Mallett. She shared with us some fantastic experiments, including how to move a tin without touching it using only a balloon and a jumper, how to turn a nappy into fake snow, how to balance different colours of water on top of each other, and how to make a flaming tea bag fly!


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Lab_13 Irchester’s 7th Birthday celebrations!

This weeks Lab-13 Blog is all about… OUR BIRTHDAY!!!!!!

This year we are celebrating the 7th year of having  a Lab_13 and scientist in residence at Irchester! We had a fun filled week at the end of last term, with special guests, fun activities in every class and a fancy dress day! Being 7 is an important age for us, because it means we started at the same time our year 6’s started school!

We decided to make our birthday all about outer space and curiosity, in honour of a very special scientist. Professor Stephen Hawking is a great role model for lots of reasons.He studied the universe, black holes(which are nowhere near us!),time and space, wondered if time travelling was possible and also thought curiosity was very important- just like us. And he did all this despite being very ill, and needing a wheelchair move and computer to talk. We’ve put a brilliant quote from him up on our front gate:

Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.committee 2

Here are some of the activities we did for our Birthday:

Foundation stage went to a planetarium and told us that they saw a man and a rocket flying through space. They also told us that they really enjoyed watching it. Years 1 & 2 made solar systems and really enjoyed it. They made them out of paper. Year 3 had some fun making bottle rockets AND blasted them! They also learnt about parabolic curves, which is the curve a rocket takes when it takes off, or a meteor makes to fall to Earth! They were very interested and had lots of fun!


Years 4 + 2 did a science experiment with Miss Draper! They discovered that a magnet is stronger gravity by seeing if a paperclip would stick to the magnet or stay on the table, and that they were stronger than gravity because they could jump! The next experiment they did was about how strong gravity can be, by looking at how much energy meteorites get from gravity when they fall to Earth. They couldn’t make real meteorites, so they made mini ones using marbles and tubs of flour. They used a ruler to measure the height and dropped the marbles from different heights, to see how it changed the size of the crater.

Year 5 made a space game!  They thought it was interesting, fun and competitive! They also went to a really interesting talk about the history of astronauts, from the first space rockets up to the International Space Station the the possibility of going to Mars! Year 6 did something more challenging. They did a Mars Quiz! We talked to a few people and they said that they liked it and loved it.

For part of our celebrations we had a Time Travellers Tea party! everyone came to school dressed as someone from the past or the future.  Professor Hawking also held a time travellers tea party himself, where he only sent out the invitations afterwards so people would have to travel back in time to visit. It was very inconvenient for those without a time machine! For any time travellers out there, you are warmly invited to Lab_13 Irchester’s 7th Birthday Party last term!





Three of the committee came back as their older selves to tell us about the future, we also had a prince, an Ancient Egyptian and a Victorian train driver!


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