Irchester Committee trip to the Wrenn Science Bus!

Welcome to our lab 13 blog for this week.

We are going to tell you about the events of our trip to Wren Academy Science Bus! When we arrived we met and talked to Sam, who is the person in charge of the Science Bus. Sam took us to the bus and told us the rules, and there would be no fires as we were not using anything dangerous: but if there was we knew where to go!

We went upstairs in the bus and were told the first experiment we were going to do  was to make jelly worms! First we mixed calcium powder with water, and waited for that to dissolve after we mixed it. Then we got a syringe and sucked up 10ml of alginate: which is green runny jelly stuff. Next we slowly squirted the alginate into the glass beaker of calcium solution, where it turned into solid jelly. We used a sieve to get the jelly out of the glass and put it in another glass and it ended up with jelly worms. We tried to get the longest worms we could: Isabella made one over 60 cm long!

Our next experiment was  using daphnia (water fleas). We  caught them using a squeezy bottle, and put them on a  microscope slide with a tiny bowl in it. Then using a microscope, we tried to see their heart beat. It was really hard to catch them, as they were so tiny! Some of us counted their heart rate, it was about 150 times a minute.

Next up was nappy snow. To find this, you dissect a nappy by cutting the padding in the middle inside the nappy. Underneath that, there is cotton wool, and slowly lift it up. Then, feel around for grains of gritty stuff, which looks like sugar: this is your nappy snow! Finally, collect the powder into a jar then spray some water into the jar: the powder will get much bigger and softer and look just like snow!

Finally we did a brief experiment to find out which sun cream works best, we used a UV light instead of the sun to do this,  and special beads which change colour in UV light instead of our skin. We discovered that Factor 50 oil protected the beads the best.             

It was really fun because it wasn’t at all like a normal science lesson: it was so cool doing experiment on a bus! We’re really looking forward to going back soon, hopefully the committee can visit every term!

If you would like to organise a trip to the Wrenn Science Bus with your school, email Sam Mallett at

By Noah and Aiden

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Irchester Trip: Year 5 and 6 went to the Think Tank in Birmingham!

Recently, year 5 and 6 went on a trip to the Think Tank. The Think Tank is a science museum open to the public. First we learnt about animals that Charles Darwin studied for years. We got to hold stuffed animals and sorted them into different groups.

Next, we went to the bottom floor, which was all about engines and motors. There was a very interesting English Spitfire aeroplane, which was used in World War II and played a very important role as it helped us win the war. We got to see real mechanisms work, and went on a train to look at its engine. There were also stamps to collect and old fashioned cars and bikes.

The next floor was about things that are manmade, and inventions that were made in Birmingham. There was a thermal camera and depending on what temperature you are, you looked a different colour on the screen: white is the hottest and blue is the coldest.

On the second floor, there were stuffed animals that we could look at. There was a giant triceratops skull, a velociraptor skeleton and also a giant stag skeleton. Near the end was a headphone set where you listened to different birds sounds.

On the final floor (which in our opinion was the best) you could control an acting robot and make it sing, and play a game where you’re in space and have to get to certain parts of the International Space Station.

By Nyah, Dulcie, Josh and Fintan

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Science Busking at the Coffee Morning, plus lunch_lab at Irchester

Last term, we had a Coffee Morning to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Research and the Hope Centre. As well as lab_13 showing experiments choir and all the different classes performed poems, songs and body percussion. As part of Lab_13 we showed some of our experiments at our coffee morning, such as: quiz cards(which we made ourselves) and circuit bars/balls. We took shifts year 6 did 9:00 till 10:00 and the year 5s did 10:00 till 11:30. 

The quiz cards worked by foil conducting electricity, we wrote scientific questions on the front of the cards and taped foil on the back leading to the correct answer: true or false. We watched as the parents worked well as teams and laughed a bit to figure out the answers to the questions on the quiz cards.

The coffee morning was very successful as we raised £700.

By Isabella and Poppy

Lunch Lab

Every week we bring a different experiment out at lunch time for everyone to investigate. These are some of our  favourite lunch lab experiments.

This week in lunch lab, we have been doing the marble trampolines. The marble trampolines are great fun to use. You put marble down a tube and try to make it bounce into a pot. You can make these trampoline by, getting a plastic pot and stretch a balloon over the opening of  the pot.

The laser slinky  is where  you  attach string to the top of the slinky and make space for your fingers at the top of the string, so you get a loop. Then you put your fingers through the loops and put your fingers in your ears. Then bounce the slinky and the noise sounds like lasers.

The circuit ball is where people are being the wires in a circuit. You have to light up the light when every body is connected to each other so that the electricity can go through everybody. The circuit balls are very fascinating to play with.

The floating magnets are two polo magnets on a pole. To make them float, you must put the same sides facing each other so they repel. Then they rise up on the pole and they are floating! You can even do four on a pole at one time.

By Aiden and Noah









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Lab_13 Irchester’s guide to making your own batteries

As we have been hard at work recycling batteries, lots of children wanted to know how batteries are made! Here are three different types of batteries we have made and tested:

Fruity Batteries

3 fruit battery close

Year 3  had a go at making fruit batteries and fruit electronics. Here is the equipment you will need if you want to have a go:

  • A penny made of copper
  • Fruit x2. You might need more if you want to create more power
  • Nails coated in zinc
  • Wires and crocodile clips
  • A led light or a clock

Here is how you make it. First get a piece of fruit, then put the penny in it. Next you put a nail in the fruit. After that you clip a crocodile clip wire to the nail and another wire to the penny. Then you need to clip the other end of the wires to the clock or LED.

You don’t have to use zinc and copper, you can try using other metals instead: such as steel, titanium or silver! Any two different metals should work, but some will not work very well. You can also use any fruit that has acid inside it, like: lemons, limes, apple , oranges , tomatoes and finally potatoes.

mud batteries

Mud batteries

As well as fruity batteries, Family_lab made and tested out mud batteries! These work in exactly the same way, but the salts and natural acids in a pot of soil replaced the acids in fruit. We used a voltmeter to compare them, and found limes were the best, while mud was about the same as tomatoes and potatoes.

Coin Batteries

Year 4, 5 and 6 took it one step further, and made their own batteries without needing messy pieces of fruit or mud: we are going to tell you how they did it. Here are the things you will need: a petri dish or bowl, a copper coin, tin foil and a paper towel cut into a small circle. Then you can start building your battery. You need make a stack: start with a coin, then get your small paper circle and soak up your lemon juice. Put the paper towel on top of the coin and finally you put the tin foil on top. Repeat that at least 5 times then test if it works! Get a LED bulb, a small clock or anything like that and use 2 wires with crocodile clips to connect it to your battery.

All the batteries worked very well for powering a small LCD clock or a little buzzer. They could also light up a LED, but not very bright! We tried to light up a bulb and make a motor spin, but our batteries weren’t strong enough for that.

5 battery close

By Noah, Aiden, Fintan and Josh.

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Introducing the new Lab_13 Irchester Committee

Our new introduction blogs are a bit delayed this term, because we’ve been so busy collecting batteries and preparing to entertain everyone at the Macmillan Coffee morning: more on that soon! But we’re here now, to tell you a bit about our four newest members:


Hello, my name is Poppy. I like drawing anime pictures in my spare time, an anime picture is a cartoon character. My favourite school subjects are maths and science, in which I enjoy everything. I wanted to be on the committee because I like the stick insects and snails and I also want to learn more about science. So far, I have enjoyed everything I have been assigned to do. I’ve been given the jobs of cleaning out the Stick Insects and snails and lunch lab on a Friday with Dulcie. I love lab_13 so far and I’m sure I will learn a lot more. 🙂



My name is Nyah. I wanted to join Lab_13 because I like science and animals. In my spare time I like to go outside and sketch some things I can see like trees or birds. My favourite subject is art. I think resources will be my favourite job in Lab_13 because I like sorting out things. I also like gymnastics and sometimes I have swimming lessons at the swimming centre. I like painting, cooking and testing out science experiments.



Hi, my name is Fintan. I like science because my Dad is a scientist that works in a company that is worldwide: he works on drinks and food.

I like to play football, my position is winger.  I also play Minecraft and Fifa on my Nintendo switch, and I like reading the Belgariad: a book series. My favourite subjects are maths, science and doing the daily mile.



My name is Noah. I wanted to be in the committee because I like science, and to make other people enjoy science.

My hobbies include football and playing Xbox. My favourite subjects in school are: maths, English, science and PE. I am excited to go on trips with the committee.



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Launching the Big Battery Hunt at Irchester

At the start of this term the Lab_13 Committee did an assembly to launch our Big Battery Hunt! In the assembly we asked the audience lots of questions about what batteries are used for, and why they might not work. We also did a performance with Fintan as a battery who had run out of energy! We told him why he didn’t want to end up on a rubbish heap leaking poisonous chemicals for 100 years, but be recycled into something useful like metal for a car instead!


Each class has to collect as many batteries as they can as a team. Each child received a battery box to collect lifeless batteries to recycle. We want to collect batteries to recycle, to stop harming the environment with the dangerous chemicals which are inside batteries.

Each class will be recording how many batteries they collect each week, using different ways of showing the information: like pictograms, pie charts, bar charts or line graphs. Some classes are even finding out which types of batteries are collected the most!

The class with the most batteries collected at the end of the term will win a spectacular prize. The class with the most batteries so far is:  4MD with over 400 batteries after only 1 week!


Week 1 Whole School collection: 3205 batteries!

We interviewed some children and staff about the battery hunt, and discovered that Isabella has been collecting batteries from her relatives, while Mrs Loasby and Mrs Alison have collected quite a lot of batteries and are helping the staff team.

By Nyah and Dulcie


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Lab_13 represented at the Irchester Gala and Summer Fair, with Oobleck!

Summer Fair 

The 12th of July was the date of the Summer Fair. Here we had a stall of 2 things: a test tube lucky dip where you could win either a book or some sweets and the paddling pool of oobleck! This was 20p to run on and free to touch. Oobleck is a substance where when you touch it gently it would be a liquid but when you put impact on it, it would turn into a solid. For this we needed a huge bag of corn flour, kindly donated by Mr. Tyrrell, and a lot of water. I’m sure everybody enjoyed it, I know I did. We would describe it like running on a hard, but spongy surface. And when you stopped running, it was like sinking into custard! To make oobleck you need a litre jug of water and two litre jugs of corn flour, mixed well together.  During the end of the school day, if we weren’t busy doing something we were making loads and loads of oobleck! We raised £22.80 from the lucky dip and £15 from the oobleck.

Irchester Gala

On the 14th of July there was the Irchester Gala. Isabella and Ben opened the Gala as Lab_13 Committee members, after the parade had come through the Sports Club field. Isabella presented a speech that told the community about what we do as a part of Lab_13 such as: taking care of the lab pets, Indian stick insects and Giant African land snails, how we help the local community and the children of Irchester School to inspire curiosity and questions and how we, with the help of Miss Draper, learn how to think scientifically. As Ben and Isabella did this, they received a prize of £25 amazon gift voucher, £50 for the school and a free meal. Now who wouldn’t like that?

By Isabella and Wilfred






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