Friday 22nd May, Lab_13 Birthday: Science Party Cake! What ingredients do we need?

Don’t forget, you can still enter the Science Hat Competition until the Friday after half term!

It’s the lab’s Birthday, but one thing is still missing: Cake! This experiment needs more things and more help from your adult than normal: so you might have to wait and try it out over half term.

Why do we put eggs in cakes? What happens if you make a cake with no butter, oil or margarine? What does the baking powder actually do??

Let’s find out! We will make up to 4 mini cakes, each missing one ingredient. You don’t have make all four cakes, or you could try missing out other ingredients instead.

The lab would love to see how your experimental cakes turn out!

There are two sets of video instructions for the same experiment, but using different equipment:

EITHER From The Royal Institution: Use measuring spoons to measure out the ingredients, and mugs in the microwave to cook your cakes (ideal for younger children).

Cake RI instructions

Make the full recipe once, then try again missing a different ingredient out each time.

OR From the Bristol Science Centre: Use weighing scales to measure out your ingredients, and cupcake cases in an oven to cook your cakes (perfect for older children)

  1. Add 60g margarine to 60g sugar & stir.
  2. Whisk an egg & add this to the mixture.
  3. Add a tablespoon of milk and two drops of vanilla extract. (optional)
  4. Add 1/2 a teaspoon of baking powder to 50g of plain flour & fold into the mixture.
  5. Pour into cake moulds and bake at 180C for 10-12 minutes.

Make the full recipe once, then try again missing a different ingredient out each time.

Posted in Lab13 | Leave a comment

Thursday 21st May, Lab_13 Birthday: Science Party Music!

Let’s make some instruments to play at our birthday party! There are different types of instruments: wind instruments that you blow, stringed instruments where you pluck strings, and percussion instruments that you hit or shake.

Here are some instructions for each kind of instrument: choose one that looks interesting and have a go: We would love to hear any music you create!

Water Xylophone

Use mugs, glasses or jam jars to create a playable xylophone!

water xylophone inst

Rubber Band Guitar

All you need are rubber bands and some clean containers from the recycling bin. These instructions are adapted from Science Sparks and Life at the Zoo, click on the link for more experiments to do with your rubber band guitar.

Rubber band guitar inst

Straw Oboe

This just needs a plastic straw and a pair of scissors, but it takes a bit of practice to make it work! These instructions are adapted from Steve Spangler Science: click on the link for more details and a video.

Straw Oboe inst

Posted in Lab13 | Leave a comment

Wednesday 20th May, Lab_13 Birthday: Science Party Games – in Space?

Have you ever played dizzy dinosaurs? It’s a game to play on the lawn where there is plenty of room:  you spin round and round on the spot until you are dizzy, then try to walk in a straight line! You might even fall over so it’s best to do on soft grass, with nothing nearby you might fall on to.


  1. Find somewhere safe and soft like the middle of the lawn to try it out: check with an adult first.
  2. Spin on the spot for 20 seconds: if you don’t like the feeling then stop early!
  3. Stop spinning, and try to walk in a straight line:
    • what happens?
    • What do you feel?
    • Do you like the feeling?
  4. Don’t worry: everything will go back to normal in a minute or so!

Have you ever wondered why you get dizzy? Your sense of balance comes from a special part of your ear called the Semi Circular Canals, which are tubes with liquid in them. The liquid is pulled downwards by gravity, so when you move it sloshes around a bit, and lets your body know which way is up! But when you spin, the liquid spins as well and carries on spinning even when you stop: which really confuses your sense of balance!

What do you think would happen if you span round and round in the zero gravity of space? Tim Peake tried it on the space station! Make a prediction of what you think will happen, then watch this video:

Or search for “Tim Peake’s Dizziness Experiment” on Youtube Kids.

Did Tim get dizzy in the same way you or I would on Earth?

Why do you think it was different?

In space, there is no gravity to pull the liquid in the Semi Circular Canals downwards. That means most astronauts feel a bit dizzy all the time when they first go to space, but after a few days they get used to it and feel normal again.

Posted in Lab13 | Leave a comment

Tuesday 19th May, Lab_13 Birthday: Science Party Hats – a competition!

Any good party needs party hats, and the lab committee members decided for a lab birthday we need science party hats! Design and make your own hat, inspired by any kind of science! It could be a volcano, dinosaur, nature, space, electricity, organ, light, plant or animal hat, or anything else!

Here are a few hats the committee made to give you inspiration:

Nyah’s beautiful wildflower hat, using leaves and flowers from her garden to decorate a band.Nyah Hat all






Zak’s amazing electric technology hat, with as holder for his phone, built in speaker and a TV to watch!

Zak hat all

Izzy’s great space hat, using paper to create the whole solar system around her head!hat Izzy


As well as having a great new science hat, you can enter a competition! If you want to try and win a prize of 5 science kits, get your parents to go to the competition website by the 5th June: and enter a photo of your hat.

The lab committee would love to see your scinece hats as well: comment below or share your creations on Twitter @Lab_13Irchester

Posted in Lab13 | 1 Comment

Monday 18th May, Lab_13 Irchester Birthday: Science Party Decorations!

This week is the lab_13 Irchester Birthday! Our teachers will be sending out extra nature themed plant and animal experiments for Irchester pupils to do around their own house, and the lab experiments shared with you will help create our lab_13 birthday party; there might even be cake!

For today, let’s get started with the decorations. Here is a simple paper twirler that looks good, you can play with it, and do science experiments as well!


  1. Draw or print a spiral on a piece of paper: Use this template: Twirler Template or if drawing leave 3-4cm between each loop of the spiral.
  2. Colour and decorate your spiral if you want, then cut carefully along the lines.
  3. Attach a piece of thread or thin string to the middle of the spiral: either with sticky tape or by carefully poking a hole in the paper and tying the string through.

Can you make it spin without touching it?

What happens if you move it through the air or blow on it?

What happens if you hold it above something warm? Try a radiator, a lamp, warm sun on the ground or even someone’s head!

Why do you think this makes it spin?

Posted in Lab13 | Leave a comment

Friday 15th May, Home Experiment: How do shadows change?

This is the next of our Friday Projects, where we are trying out another type of science: when scientists will keep an eye on something to see how it changes over time. Sometimes things change very slowly, like trees growing or rocks forming. Other things change really quickly, like explosions. We will look at something in the middle: shadows! This does need some sunshine, there will hopefully be enough today and over the weekend.


What to do:

  1. Use sticky-tack or tape to attach something long and thin to your window, like a pencil, ruler or piece of dark tape: try and get its shadow to be on the windowsill or a flat bit of floor.
  2. Place a piece of paper on the windowsill directly underneath the object. It’s important the paper doesn’t move, so you might want to stick it down as well.
  3. Draw round the shadow at different times throughout the day, maybe every hour, or every half hour. If it’s only sunny sometimes, just wait until the sun next comes out!
  4. Label each shadow with when you drew it: you could even colour them in.

Changing Shadows

By the end of the day, look at the shadows that you have drawn. What do you notice?

  • When was the shadow longest? When was it shortest?
  • What direction did it move in?
  • Why do you think the shadow moves?
  • Were you surprised by how quickly the shadow moved?


Bonus experiments:

Is the shadow in the same place at the same time tomorrow, next week, or next month? Why/why not?

Can you make a shadow puppet theatre?

Posted in Lab13 | Leave a comment

Thursday 14th May, Home Experiment: Easy Origami Hovercraft!

This a simple hovercraft that you can make with just a piece of paper! You can follow the picture instructions, or use the video from the Science Fun Website!  

hovercraft picsHow do you think your hovercraft works?

Does a bigger or smaller hovercraft work better?

Does blowing harder or softer send your hovercraft further?

How far can you send our hovercraft with just one blow?

Posted in Lab13 | Leave a comment