Irchester’s Stick Insects, and The Crunch!



Wellcome Trust has started a project called The Crunch, it is about food production and where our food comes from. They asked Irchester to test out the lesson plans, as the Wellcome Trust knows what a good school for science we are! So we have tested the resources and thinks that they are a fab set, with loads of kit including everything needed for everybody in class to grow their own tomatoes!  We are very happy that our school was asked to test the project. We told the Wellcome Trust the result of the experiment and urge all other primary schools to look out for these FREE resources next year!


Some of the kit in the sets being given out by the Wellcome Trust for The Crunch project, starting next year.



We have some sad news to tell you. Lab_13’s last adult stick insect died, they normally live for about a year so it was very old for a sick insect! It was called Sir Terry Dancelot 2.0. So now all the stick insects we have are baby ones, there are 14 of them. Luckily before the summer holiday, we started saving some of the eggs, because we knew the stick insects were getting old. We ended up with more eggs hatching than planned, and finding tiny baby stick insects all over the lab! Our babies are now growing up really quickly; some of them are nearly fully grown already. How many can you spot hiding in the photo?




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Irchester News: Our Turtle Tour and Parents Evening

Year 5’s Virtual Tour

We got in touch with the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Florida to have a tour. It is a turtle rescue centre, as lots of turtles nest on the beaches of Florida. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to fly all the way to Florida, so we booked a virtual tour instead! In preparation a group in year 5 were given an empty factsheet about the Loggerhead Turtle, which they had to research to fill in. The next day this group had the tour; we all gathered in the lab and phoned the centre on the computer. The woman giving the tour showed some jaws and shells of turtles, they were all different depending on where they live and what they eat.   The leatherback turtle has a thin hooked jaw because it eats jellyfish, while the loggerhead turtle had a really big strong jaw because it eats shellfish and has to crunch the shells.

Turtle scull

The strong skull of a Loggerhead Turtle…

One of the types of shell they crunch, that we have in the lab!

… and one of the types of shell they crunch, that we have in the lab!

Then we got to meet some of the turtles in the hospital tanks: some were babies that got lost, others had been hit by boats or bitten by sharks. After the tour the year 5’s asked a load of questions, they had a great time even though they were just sitting in a chair looking at a screen. Our favourite parts were meeting the turtles and talking to Demi: the woman giving us the tour.

Parents Evening

It’s the time of year for parents evening and once again Lab_13 did their part, with some great experiments! Everyone from the lab was there: the snails, the stick insects, the committee, even Boney Joney the skeleton took a seat! The Committee had lots of experiments set up for waiting parents and children to have a go at. The first activity was holding the snails, everyone enjoyed this but some people didn’t like the slime so only wanted to watch.


Then we had a couple of computers set up so people could have a virtual look around the International Space Station: this was very cool as you wouldn’t usually go into a place orbiting hundreds of miles above us in space! We also had a jug of water balls: these are clear balls and when these are put in water they turn invisible, so it looks like an empty glass of water until you spoon some out! The committee thinks that everyone’s favourite activity was by far the Giant African Land Snails as these are a species that you wouldn’t usually see in the UK.

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Our trip to the Junior Real Science, Chemistry at Work event

LAB_ 13 Irchester went on a trip to the Junior Real Science event, where we went to lots of different workshops all about how people use chemistry and other science in their own jobs!

First we went to a man who taught us about honey bees and how important they are to us. They pollinate our crops, produce beeswax which is has loads of uses, and make honey which is antiseptic. We also got to try some honey, lots of us had never had it before!

Next we did some canal bridge building: We discovered how an arch makes a bridge much stronger. Some of us built the arch bridge without a support block, and the host of this activity said that they were really good.

After that we went to find out about soil. We all discovered that there are lots of things in soil, like clay and sand. It was quite interesting as we did not know about it. We also learnt about the different animals that live in compost, especially worms. They are very important for turning rotten food into lovely compost soil.

We saw a nice man next and he talked about living on less energy and he said that his friend had built loads of things about saving energy, like a bridge pulley and underwater turbines.

A woman from MK hospital told us and showed us how the lungs work, using a real set of pig lungs and heart! Also she told us that there are over 4,000 chemicals that have been added to the cigarettes such as urea which is in pee.

Sam in year 6 tried a poison which we do not advise to do. But then he realised it was salt! However, salt has killed many if you have too much. A really dangerous poison is called white arsenic, it used to kill lots of people because it was kept in cupboards with the flour and salt and eaten by accident!

It was a really interesting day, we’re really glad the committee all got to go. We found lots of conkers during the lunchbreak, and made our own lab_13 logo!


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A visit from Bridgewater School, and Halloween fundraising!

On Friday a group of children from Bridgewater School visited us at Irchester. They were STEM ambassadors, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. They want to set up their own lab, and came to see ours and ask some questions about what they needed. We think that this is a really good thing, because then they can do lots of science experiments like we do. More children should have a chance to investigate and enjoy science like us. They asked us questions like what equipment and furniture they would need. We have one big table, and told them we like it because we can work together in one big group. We also said it is good to have a Curiosity Cupboard full of things people have found. For example,  I found a red fox scull at my Dad’s work, washed it and bought it in for the cupboard.  They suggested we could do a STEM week working together between our two schools. This could be great because we can share all our ideas!

Fundraising activities:

Around Halloween Lab-13 held two competitions! The first was to guess the weight of the pumpkin, FIPS kindly donated us a giant pumpkin to do some fundraising for the lab. The person who guessed the closest to the weight won the pumpkin! Over the half-term holiday we also ran a pumpkin carving competition, to see who could create the best design. We had lots of entries; here are some of the best!


Runner up Runner Up (2)

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Gillespie news: I’m an engineer

Exciting engineers

Year 6 have been exploring about engineers and what they do. In the ICT room they had a live web chat on Monday the 9th of November in the afternoon .Year 6 have been asking questions such as what do they love about their job? Or what’s interesting about being an engineer? We found out that they make cars, some of them really like bacteria and they love their job. We also found out that one of the engineers liked making baked beans! Interesting fact: engineering combines the fields of science and maths to solve real world problems that improve the world around us.

Here is more information about the project if you want to do it in your school:

Written by Naeema Yr6

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Superbulous Fast Quiz

Superbulous Fast Quiz

Following on from last term’s Competition – ‘Titanic 2015: Boatastic Race’ – Lab_13 Ghana has launched another competition titled ‘Superbulous Fast Quiz’. This quiz is an ‘Activity Based Quiz’ where registered local participants, during a Knockout stage, will have two rounds of quiz to solve questions by doing activities/ demonstrations using materials that will be provided on the day, and an activity round, where they will make a presentation/demonstration of an activity they submitted during registration. Qualifying schools will then enter into a final round where they will provide solutions to the problem:

How can you reduce the carbondioxide that comes from cars?

Each school will have three students together with their teacher partake in the knockout stage.

Local participants should submit Registration forms to their respective SiRs or bring it to the lab at Agape Academy, Jachie at a closing date of 6th Nov, 2015.

International participants have from 23rd Oct, 2015 to 26th Nov, 2015 to submit entries to the problem:

How can you reduce the carbondioxide that comes from cars?

International participants could submit their entries (video) through the following platforms:

slide 4.2

Below is an overview of the structure of the quiz:

slide 5.2

This competition is an initiative of the 7 member Student Management Committee of Lab_13 Ghana, with the assistance of the Scientists in Residence, who are going to be the judges.

Hit the link below to see a video on the competition.

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Meet the new members of the SMC of Lab_13 Ghana

It’s the beginning of a new academic year and the seven, young, Junior High students, in grade 7, of Agape Academy, chosen to serve as members of the SMC, will like to introduce themselves:

Hello, my name is Enocksticia Opoku. I am 13 years old. I stay at Pramso, a community after Jachie – where my school Agape Academy is found. I am very happy to be a member of the SMC of Lab_13 Ghana. I want to be a doctor in future to help sick people since I feel sorry any time I see them. I like watching kids in science programmes on television because I learn a lot from the kids, and I like how bold they are to stand in front of people to speak. I also like how the SiRs assist us in managing the Lab.


Edward Obeng Kwarteng is my name. I’m a boy of 12 years, and I hail from Kuntenase in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. I’m pleased to be a member of the SMC of Lab_13 Ghana. Talking about science, I love learning the subject; so science is my favourite subject. I want to be a medical doctor in future. I love playing football and watching television programmes that have children involved because they are educative and there are lots of information to acquire.


Brenda Serwaa Tabi is my name. I am twelve years old. My previous experience with Lab_13 Ghana has been amazing as we explored interesting things about the solar system where I got to learn about dwarf planets. So I was very excited when I got the opportunity to serve as a committee member. With the help of the SiRs, there is so much we can do. I’m so much willing to start work in the lab to make science interesting and fun and I know the whole experience is going to shape my future.


My name is Dennis Asonore. I’m a boy of 14 years. Growing up in Sewua, a community about 5 km to Jachie, gave me the opportunity to develop the hobby of playing football – which I do every time I get the chance, but in addition to football is this passion for science which I’m positive that being a committee member will nurture; with the assistance of our SiRs. The lab gives young scientists like me the opportunity to explore the world through doing experiments which I am happy about. I am sure this will contribute in making me achieve my future dream of being a doctor.


Hi, Rebecca Afriyie Sarpong is my name. I’m 11 years old. I enjoy studying and exploring about the world we humans live in. I am so glad I’m a committee member because we learn and do experiments that are sometimes not done in the classroom. I will like to be a medical doctor in future and this experience; with Lab_13, will contribute in making this dream a reality. I like to play ‘Ludo’ and ‘Ampe’ when I’m free. These two games make me feel relaxed and they are fun-filled. I also like dancing but not very much.


Emmanuel Adusei is my name and I am twelve years. I live in Jachie, the town where my school Agape Academy is situated. As a member of the committee, I look forward to enjoy science. I’m always excited whenever I see scientist perform scientific demonstrations and also when doctors are working. I have the passion of being a doctor in future. I also like playing the game of football.


Grace Donkor is my name. I am 12 years old. I love watching television and I’m excited about programmes that allow young people to show the talents they have. Lab_13 is a space that gives young scientists like me the opportunity to explore the world and to develop skills in science. I therefore think Lab_13 should also be on TV. I am hoping to collaborate well with other members of the committee to make Lab_13 Ghana exciting for all participating schools.


The excitement is all over. The bonding among us shows how committed we are going to continue to make Lab_13 Ghana successful. 



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