Irchester News: Wildlife Club and Earth Hour

A few days ago, Wildlife Club announced in assembly that Earth Hour will be on Saturday the 30th of March, and encouraged us all to take part. Wildlife Club have been coming up with lots of ways to help the environment in school, such as reducing plastic waste, providing homes for hedgehogs and food for birds.

earth hour

Earth hour is an hour without no electricity. It is an event that aims to create awareness of people taking responsibility towards a sustainable future by turning the lights off.  Earth hour saves electricity, and as most electricity is made by polluting power stations, this could save the world and wildlife from dying due to Global warming. Also, if you want to stop worrying about your electricity bills you can light candles like the olden days.

Wildlife club gave some ideas for things to do during Earth Hour that don’t need electricity, such as playing board games, reading or playing with lego. One of the teachers suggested that we might even have a go at doing it as a school on Friday! We’re planning to take part, are you?

Posted in Lab13 | Leave a comment

Science Week at Irchester: The Squashed Tomato Challenge and Professor Tim!

To celebrate Science week Irchester School has been very busy! this blog we will tell you about the Squashed Tomato Challenge and Professor Tim’s Science Show, more to come later about what we got up to in class, and the time capsule homework bags!

Firstly, Lab_13 went to Wollaston secondary school for the Squashed Tomato Challenge. We went to examine the other entries from Higham Ferrer’s Junior School, Wollaston Secondary and Irchester Primary School. What is the squashed tomato challenge? You may ask, well it is a challenge where some farmers in Nepal need help finding a new way to get their tomatoes down a mountain.

We gave a presentation about why the charity Practical Action created their inventions and about the problems, situations, solutions and about the farmers in Nepal. The best farming ground is on the mountain slopes, but they have to get the tomatoes and other crops down the mountain to market while they are still fresh. Practical Action have installed giant aerial ropeways, that the farmers can load up with crops which then wizz down the zip wire in minutes rather than hours.

The teams from all the different schools set up their ideas for the squashed tomato challenge [they were really cool]. Some of us in the committee judged and the rest were busking and showing the other schools some different experiments.  We also set up our own model of the real ropeway. We voted and found out the winners, who were a team from Higham Ferrer’s Primary School.


On Thursday in Science Week, we had 2 scientists come in – Professor Tim and Doctor Johnny – to perform an assembly. They are from the Chemistry Department of Bristol University. They spoke to us about what kinds of gas are in the air, and gave us some examples by using all kinds of equipment: rubber gloves, dry ice, liquid nitrogen, balloons etc. One of the things he did was he filled a balloon with hydrogen and set it alight using a match, causing it to burst into flames and create a loud bang. He then explained the difference between hydrogen and helium, which is that hydrogen floats and explodes, but helium floats and doesn’t explode.

good explosion

Shaking up 2 unknown chemicals, the Professor showed us that after they were fully shaken up, they would transform colours, into red and blue. They then changed back into their original colour after a little while. He told us that this reaction is reversible. The exploding balloon was irreversible because it can’t change back to unexploded!

After around 15 minutes of different experiments, a handful of dry ice was placed into a rubber glove, to show us how much it would expand. In the space of about 10 minutes, the glove was approximately the size of a large football! This happened because the dry ice is solid carbon dioxide which expanded into a gas in the warm room. After the show, Professor Tim came to the lab and we showed him around.

good vapour


Posted in Lab13 | Leave a comment

Lab_13 Irchester at The Big Bang Northants in Silverstone!

In February, five year sixes and lab_13 went to the Big Bang Science Fair to discover more about science. The Year 6’s had all won a competition, to answer the question: “What is your favourite thing about science?” We went in a mini bus to Silverstone and when we arrived we walked into a huge room with people setting up their stands. We all saw cool stands such as about the brain and we learnt how to do C.P.R.

Lucy liked the pen robots because you could design them however you liked. You could program them to move about and also they could make different shapes and different pictures in different colours. To make a pen robot you need three or four pens, something for the motor to sit in, a motor, white tack and some tape. To put the robot together, first you get some white tack and put it in the container you motor will go in. Then you put the motor in making sure that the white tack is keeping it in place. After that, you can use some tape and stick the pens onto your robot. To make it work you need to attach the wires to the motor and the battery, and turn the battery switch on.  You need to take the lids off the pens and place it on the piece of paper, to let it start drawing.

We also went to a workshop to learn some of the science behind being a DJ, we all got to have a go! Then we went to a planetarium after lunch, where we watched a film on the ceiling about the search for life on other planets.

Posted in Lab13 | Leave a comment

Lab_13 Irchester visits Lab_13 Dovecote and the Real Science in School Symposium!

On the 14th February, we went to the Real Science In Schools Symposium! This was part of a huge science festival in Nottingham organised by Ignite!, the same group that helped set Lab_13 Irchester up. We visited another school, that had a lab _13_ as well, in Nottingham called Dovecote.

But before that, we went on a train to Nottingham, some of us had never been on a train before! We met the maker of lab_13 named Rick Hall at the station and we took a tram ride, which took approximately 30 minutes. Then we took a short walk to the school, and met the other lab_13. They told us that they wanted ideas to put in their newly decorated lab, so we told them what we had in our lab (such as the animals and big table), and they told us what they wanted to do in their lab. Then we got some microscopes out had had a closer look at lots of different things, including the pond water we brought with us and the amazing knex invention in their window!



After that, went back onto the tram to the Symposium at the Nottingham Council House (a grand building in the centre of Nottingham!) At the symposium, we set up our table with our posters and microscopes, and waited for the people to come in. Once they were all in, the sheriff of Nottingham gave a speech (and we got a special mention and welcome). Soon, interested people came over to our table and we showed them the pond animals under the microscope. Some people were a bit creeped out by the weirder ones like the cyclops even though there is nothing to be scared of!

This has been one of our favourite trips in _lab_13 because we got to meet Rick Hall and see some experiments from other schools, as well as meeting another Lab_13!



















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Posted in Lab13 | Leave a comment

Irchester Lunch_Lab: The science of sounds and string.

This week in lunch lab we have been showing everyone how to use confuser phones and oven racks. The confuser phones are made of headphones tubes and bottles and the tubes are connected to the other side of the headphones. We had some challenges for everyone to do about sound like: they close their eyes and spin around and they have to point at the direction the sound was coming from. They guessed wrong because it sounds like the sound is coming from the left when it is the opposite direction. That happens because the tubes are crossed over.

The oven racks are only one ordinary oven rack with a string that you attach to the top and spoon that you hit the rack with. The objective with this experiment is to find out: what noise does it make if you tap oven rack when you have wrapped the string round your finger, and does it sound different if you put your fingers in your ears and tap the rack?

We discovered it does sound different because the vibrations travel differently to get through the string. It sounds deeper because the sound is vibrating through the string and not the air, and the deeper sounds vibrate better in the string.


We have also been doing string telephones in lunch lab. We got interested pupils to talk to each other from farther away by only using string and cups! We tried to use different techniques and see which ones work and which ones don’t. We tried bending the string around corners, which didn’t work because it stopped the vibrations so no one could hear each other. Vibrations are how sound travels through the air and in this case, through the string. We tested if it would work with the string dangly, and it didn’t work because, again, it stopped the vibrations from moving clearly enough. Then we tried crossing two of them over to get four people on one telephone at once, we thought that it would work because the vibrations should be able to travel through all of the stings, but to our surprise, it didn’t! The only way to get the normal string telephones working was to have two people on it at once and pull the string tight. The reason this works, is because the vibrations go through all the parts of it and we can hear it.

By Kye (yr 5), Leo and Wilfred (yr 6)










Posted in Lab13 | Leave a comment

Irchester Experiments: Heart Dissection

Year 5 and 6 have started their topic on the Human Body with an amazing chance for exploration, by dissecting and drawing a lambs heart. Lucy and Abbie (yr 5) have written a step by step guide so you can have a go as well!

Steps to succeed at dissecting a Lambs heart.

How to dissect a lamb’s heart.

Step 1

First have a good look at the outside of the heart, it didn’t look at all like what we though a heart should look like. There were white fatty bits and meat coloured bits which are muscle.DSCN3017

Step 2

You need to cut open the lamb’s heart by using a pair of scissors, it felt like cutting chicken and cutting through a muscle, also cutting fat off meat (it make a lot of people feel sick).

Step 3

2Once you have split the lamb’s heart into two, we fould out the different names of the parts, after that look at the blood vessels to see if there is any clogged up, left over blood. There are lots of different pipes in different directions in the heart, like the blood vessels, veins and capillaries.

There were several parts of the heart that were hollow. They would fill up with blood and pump it around the body.

Step 4DSCN3031

some people smelt it and it smelt like pork and it smelt disgusting. We got inspiration from an artist named Leonardo De Vinci, who drew very detailed pictures of how the body works, with writing too.

Step 5

The heart is very messy to see what is inside you have to cut it and open it up by hand, when you touch the heart you need to wash your hands because it is raw and it can make people very sick if you put it in your mouth. This is because there might still be bacteria on the heart.

Posted in Lab13 | Leave a comment

Irchester News: Spring Clean for the Wildlife Pond

Our wildlife pond is a haven for a host of amphibians and mini-beasts and the children love pond-dipping to see what plants and animals they can find.

Unfortunately, over the years, leaves have fallen in and decayed making pond-dipping a very smelly activity. And, it has failed to fill, even in the rainiest of months, making us suspect a tear in the lining. Drastic action was needed!

After appealing for help, Matilda Green’s Auntie Keira offered her expertise and assistance as she is a gardener and pond expert. The pond was measured, materials were ordered, the date was set – it needed to be done as soon as possible in order to be ready for the frogs and newts to return in early spring.

On the last day of January, in freezing temperatures and with the help of Mrs Ventriglia, Matilda’s aunt and grandparents, Mr Allen and Miss Draper, the pond was emptied, hoovered, relined and refilled, and plants were split and repotted – all in one day!

The plants and mini-beasts will take a while to repopulate, however we are crossing our fingers that the frogs find the pond welcoming and lay lots of frogs spawn for us to watch in the next month or so.


Low levels of water over the summer term, and clogged full of decaying leaves in winter.

Emptying the pond:

Hoovering up debris and splitting plants, and the new pond liner.



All ready for frogspawn and newts.

Posted in Lab13 | Leave a comment