Gillespie Primary School

Gillespie Primary heads for Lab_13

It has been a busy Winter term at Gillespie Primary School in Islington as it plans to secure its status as the FIRST LAB_13 IN LONDON.  So far six Lab_13s have opened in the Midlands with the support and encouragement of Ignite!, but Gillespie are creating their very own Lab_13 from a standing start.

Lab_13 is a space in a school dedicated to the research and experiments of young people.. they are managed by pupils for pupils and driven by curiosity and imagination.

So far three secondary schools and three primary schools have opened Lab_13s and have employed a Scientist/Inventor/Engineer in Residence (whose job is to suggest ways of conducting experiments and ensure no fingers are lost in the process).

On 24 January, Gillespie welcomed Rick Hall from Ignite! to talk to the School Student Council about Lab_13, how it works and what are the responsibilities of the Management Team.  Rick was very impressed with the interest and commitment to the ideals of Lab_13 shown by the Gillespie pupils.

Later that afternoon an open evening for families and friends attracted an enthusiastic crowd in the School Hall to watch Prof Andrea Sella, Steve Mould from Blue Peter and Dr Simon Singh present a series of fantastic shows about science, and codes. Simon brought along his Enigma Code machine much to the fascination of everyone packed into the hall.

Later in the term, with the support of students from UCL, the Gillespie Lab_13 team created a camera obscura.  These were very popular in Victorian times as a way of projecting scenes from the outside world into drawing rooms. The pupils learned about optics and lenses as well as trying their hand at drawing from the projected images.

The team at Gillespie are working hard to raise funds to open the Lab_13 full time; all suggestions, and offers of support are welcome.  We are looking forward to joining the Lab_13 network and sharing our ideas with the other Labs, especially those also in primary schools.

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