Gillespie news: MIT, books and competition

Book Prize Continued…

As we mentioned in the last blog we have decided our nomination for the winner of the Royal Society book prize. In the safe hands of our junior librarians (Zac and Kiri), the shortlisted books have been unleashed into the wilderness of Gillespie School library where they will be found and read by the inhabitants of the world of books (just to be clear, the children of Gillespie School).

Nuclear fusion coming soon?

MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) are trying to find a way to carry out nuclear fusion, which is accelerating particles together and making them combine, to make safe nuclear power (not destroying the world with climate change). They also broke the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded during nuclear fusion: 35 million degrees C. That is 6364 times hotter than the Sun. All rounded up, the temperature is very hot!

For even more information, click here.

History is coming back to us!

We are announcing a competition for Black History Month! Any child from Y4-6 in Gillespie Primary School can enter. They have to research and draw and write facts about a Black scientist or inventor. They don’t have to be famous and they don’t have to be alive. But they have to be real. We will decide what the prize will be. We are looking forward to meeting your drawings.

Written by Naomi, Zac and Reiss (Y5)

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Gillespie news: Book Prize

The Royal Society Young Person’s Book Prize


Us reading the books and judging them

Each year the Royal Society invites children to judge six books chosen by adults. We needed to choose the best one for the competition. We had to select our favourite books and judge them with different criteria such as how easy it is to read and if it appeals to you. To help us decide we rated them out of five stars and counted up our results to see what was our favourite book. Sometimes we didn’t agree and we had to compare the number of ratings that people gave so that we could pick the score.


Our favourite book was Rebel Science by Dan Green. It is set out in different sections with fun pictures to help understand. It contains lots of interesting stories and facts about different scientists and their investigations. The other books are just about one thing. Rebel Science is set out nicely and is exciting to read.

Written by Kiri (Y5)

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Irchester news: bringing Science to the Macmillan Coffee Morning!

At this year’s School Macmillan coffee morning, we got involved by bringing some of our experiments to the tables to share. They went well and all the parents really got involved with the science. We were entertaining the parents in between singing performances from all the different classes. The coffee morning was a great success, because the school raised over £500 for Macmillan!

We did an experiment using red cabbage. Before going to the coffee morning, we blended some and filtered it through paper towel to get the red cabbage juice. We filled large bottles with the juice, so everyone would be able to see what happened. Then we used lemon juice which is an acid, and washing powder which is an alkali. An alkali is a type of chemical which is the opposite of an acid. As we added the lemon juice to the red cabbage juice it turned pink. Then we added the washing powder which made it turn blue, and then it went back to purple after shaking. It works because red cabbage is an indicator: which means it changes colour when you mix it with acids or alkalis.  Some parents thought it was a drink not an experiment, and some guessed which colour it would go. One parent said they would try it at home!

For the other experiment the parents put colourful sweets around the edge of a plate. Then we carefully poured a little bit of water onto the plate. As the parents gazed at the plate the colours slowly spread from the sweeties to the middle. The result was a rainbow of sweetie colours, that also smelt delicious!


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Gillespie News: Spartathlon & Assembly


This week someone completed an amazing mindblowing run. His name is Darren and he ran 127 miles – that is almost five marathons. It was in extreme heat and very sandy. He did really well. He put all this effort in to raise money to keep Lab_13. So far we have raised £3,787.25 (don’t forget the 25p, every little bit’s important!) which is astonishing and mind-boggling. Thank you to everyone who donated money for supporting us. Thank you Darren for doing this amazing run. It is a massive run from Athens in Greece to Sparta. That’s why it’s called the Spartathlon. If you want to help us raise money we would be glad. The link to donate is here.


Click here to find out more about the Spartathlon.

Our first assembly

First off, I was worried but then when I got into it I started to really enjoy it. We introduced the Lab_13 puppet dogs’ names, science news about the Rosetta probe and comet, and shared our top Lab_13 questions from this term.


New Lab_13 puppets Pluto and Bella

From Y3 Ben says “It was very good. Awesome. I liked getting to hear the dogs’ names, they are Pluto and Bella”

Written by Hamza and Nojus (Y5)


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Introducing Irchester’s New Committee

A new Year and four new committee members for the lab. This committee will have an extra special job, organising the Lab_13 Lectures in March! They are also the youngest committee we have during the year, as they were interviewed and chosen before the summer holiday while they were still in year 4!

Hello my name is Jamie, I am happy and smiley! My favourite animals are dogs and I love taking my dogs for long walks, I play rugby and enjoy bike rides. I also read a lot and like to draw and make things .I dislike bullies, onions and tidying my room. I’m really looking forward to helping out with the animals while on the committee; and helping others learn new things.




My name is Elizabeth. I have one sister and one brother. My favourite thing is to draw, and I am really looking forward to be teaching other children how to learn more about Science. I also have a cat to look after at home, that will help me to look after the lab animals.




Hello, my name is James! I am very happy to join the committee because I’ve always wanted a pet so now I can learn all about the stick insects and snails, and how to feed and look after them. My favourite lesson is AR and I like to play outside.




My name is Isobel, I am one of the new members of the committee. I am very happy to be here now because when I’m older I’d like to be a vet, so I want to learn as much as possible about the snails and stick insects in the lab, and all about Biology too!









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The Crunch at Irchester

For the first 2 weeks of term we have been doing an amazing project with the Wellcome trust: The Crunch! It is all about food: where it comes from, how it grows, the nutrients it contains and how if affects our bodies!  So today is your lucky day: to learn all about the Crunch at Irchester with us!! Every class in the school is taking part with different activities, not just in Science but in Maths and English as well. Every single child has taken one of our “mystery seeds” home for one night, and showed the rest of the class what it might grow in to! We’ve seen a cookie tree, a flower that grows its own sun and rain cloud so it can grow anywhere, and a space plant that travels between Earth and Mars.

We had a very special visitor: Sefan Gates The Gastronaut! He did an amazing show all about food and science: it has given the committee and Miss Draper lots of ideas for new experiments to do!


Year 5 and 6 have tested how much vitamin C is in different orange drinks using Iodine and starch. We discovered that there is twice as much vitamin C in fresh juice as in a fruit shoot, and hardly any in orange squash. We have also looked at Halo Priming which is where you soak seeds in salty water and to see if it changes how well they germinate. The results of that experiment will take a few more weeks! In groups we also created and performed a play to show how farmers are cutting down the rainforest to grow soya beans. Many of the soya beans are turned into food for cows, which are kept by farmers to provide us all with beef and burgers.

Year 3 and 4 are looking at why we need to eat different foods, because they all contain different nutrients. They made their own Top Trumps games, and their own pizzas! Then they tasted them and compared them to bought pizzas, three quarters of the class preferred the “school made” ones. Year 4 measured how much food is thrown away in the school kitchens, and are going to write a letter to the council asking them to provide compost bins so the food waste can be used for compost and energy instead of just being thrown into a landfill site. All of year 3 and 4 also went to Tesco in Wellingborough. They collected 10 different types of food from the shop to check for palm oil in the ingredients, and discovered that about half of all foods have palm oil in them. This is a problem as it is not very healthy, and the rain forests are being cut down to make space for growing the palm oil plants. Then they went into the staff only areas to see how Tesco recycle almost all their rubbish.



Year 1 and 2 are looking at lots of different fruits! Discovering how they look, feel and taste; investigating what countries they come from all around the world and what plants they grow on. They are trying to grow lots of seeds they found in food: like tomato seeds, apple seeds and even an avocado seed! They have also looked at how different foods are packaged to keep them safe while they are transported to the shops. In the lab, we investigated how food can be preserved, and tried making our own apple jam and pickled apple!




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Gillespie news: New Committee!

The New Committee

Hello everyone from the new committee. Sadly, the old committee has moved on but to our delight a new one has risen with Carole as our advisor. This morning at quarter past eight our first committee meeting began by watching this OK Go video, which was epic! It was in zero gravity and they were squirting paintballs everywhere (they weren’t really in zero gravity, they were freefalling in a plane).  If you jumped, you would fall but the plane would be falling with you.


OK Go in the coolest video ever

The Lab_13 committee has lots of plans for the year ahead and some of these will be difficult to pull off but we will try extremely hard. Some of our ideas are:

·         In Black History Month we will have a competition where you draw and research a black scientist

·         Host a Science Cinema

·         Make our Science Spectacular more interactive (for example include a game like Science Pointless)

·         Organise a Day of Science

·         Write a Lab_13 Gillespie Anthem

·         Make a radio controlled car (home-made)

·         Make positive signs to put up in the lab

Mosquito project

Gillespie is going to be involved in a mosquito research project, which involves identifying mosquitoes in our local area. We don’t have a name yet for our project but if you have an idea then please inform Carole or one of the Lab_13 committee.

Written by Danny and Naomi (Y5)


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