Lab_13 Irchester’s 8th Birthday!

To celebrate the Birthday of Lab_13 Irchester, we always have a special day filled with science exploration. This year, for our 8th Birthday: it is 50 years since the first people walked on the moon, and we will have a very special delivery in school soon, so we themed our day on the future of Moon exploration!

Dulcie and Ben have written about the day:

Recently it was the Lab 13’s birthday and every year group did an experiment to do with the moon. The birthday was about the moon because it was 50 years since the first moon landing.  The Lab 13 committee did an assembly about the moon. We did lots of different things about the moon. We launched a rocket off on a piece of string. Miss Draper also talked about the future of the moon and by 2024 they would have people permanently living on the moon. We also did a quiz about the moon.

Here are some of the experiments we did in class: Year 5 made rockets out of straw and balloons. They attached a balloon to the bottom of a narrow straw. Then cut a bit of thicker straw off, folded the top over and taped it. Then they blew into the straw (which made the balloon blow up).Then put the folded straw on the end of the narrow straw and the “rocket” shot into the air.

Reception made a moon out of shaving cream and made plastic meteorites and threw them at the shaving cream, to look like meteorites hitting the moon.

We also were lucky enough to have a planetarium. That is when you go in a huge inflatable black bubble, and you look up at the top of the bubble and you can see the stars and the solar system.

By Dulcie and Ben Yr 5

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New term at Lab_13 Dovecote

We had the first lab_13 session of the term yesterday! We had great fun unpacking 6 bags and boxes of experimental equipment and decorations for the lab… especially the lab coats! We stuck up posters, planets and set up kit. We made a list of all the things we still need to get and discussed what we want to do for the next sessions and preparing for the lab re-launch!

Our to-do list for next week…

Because it was world environment day, we had a few minutes to collect some bits of nature from the playground and put them in the flower press to examine under the microscope next week.

  • Set up pumping heart model
  • Set up conductive paint lights
  • Make centrifuge with the salad spinner
  • Set up microscope
  • Build wind turbine

Still need…

  • Whiteboard
  • 3 folders
  • Right-handed scissors

We are preparing for the application process for the next management team – which made everyone reflect on why they chose to be part of lab_13…

Kathleen, year 5 “I joined lab_13 because I love doing experiments and not knowing how it will turn out”

Ethan, year 6 “I joined because of the brilliant experiments!”

Maisie, year 6 “I loved Bryson’s assemblies and am very interested and amazed by science”

Melvina, year 5 “I started being interested in science when I was 6. My uncle was a scientist and did really cool experiments with volcanoes and colours going up toothbrushes. I don’t know how he did them?!”

Sophie, year 5 “I joined because I love space and a love for explosives”

London, year 6 “I joined because my sister was in the MT and I looked up to her and I love science”

Experiments for the next few weeks include aerial kite mapping of Dovecote and hopefully some special guest experiments with brain scans and Virtual Reality technology!

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New Committee at Irchester

Excited to start the summer term, we have 4 brand new committee members! They’ve all written something to tell you about themselves, and what they’re looking forward to doing this term: more to come soon about that!


My name is Josh and I am one of the newest members in Lab 13 committee. My hobbies are football, swimming and karate. I am very sporty also I really like science witch is one of the reasons I applied for lab 13. I am looking forward to holding the stick insects and snails. When I was in the interview I was very nervous, but when I found out I was in the committee I was so excited and happy.


My name is Dulcie and I am 9 years old. I love doing gymnastics and contortioning (which is when someone is really bendy). I also like singing. My favourite subject is English because I love doing writing. I love doing experiments to do with friction like the friction ramps, because I like letting the car roll down the ramp and see if it’s fast or slow, like the plastic is faster than sand paper. I applied for Lab 13 because I would love to look after the snails and stick insects.



My name is Aiden; I am one of the newest committee members in Lab_13. My hobbies are football, writing, art and science. I applied to the committee because science is interesting and the results are unpredictable. I am looking forward to the blog because I like writing. I am also looking forward to holding stick insects. During the interview I was quite nervous because everyone stares at you in the eye, and when I found out I was on the committee I was overjoyed.


My name is Isabella, I’m ten years old and I’m one of the newest lab members. I have very long hair and I have a mum, dad, two sisters (one is 8 and one is 1) also my mum is pregnant. My likes are hockey, singing, art, science, music and animals (except arachnids). My dislikes are spiders and gruesome things. I’m looking forward to taking care of the chicks.

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Mission Mosquito from Lab_13 Gillespie

Mosquito larvae

This scary looking creature – well it would be scary if it was this big – is the larvae of a mosquito.. with the different parts labelled so that you can identify that’s what it is.

And the Mission Mosquito team at Lab_13 Gillespie are investigating the different species of mosquito that may be lurking in the Regent Canal, and other waterways near the school in North London.  Why does it matter?

Well, the Mission Mosquito team have written to the Lab_13 in Koli, Finland, following an exchange of letters and information. ‘Our objective is to find out about what types of mosquitos live in this area and where there habitat is and we want to know if it changes over time linked to climate change.’

The Class 5 and 6 children in Koli, Finland also wrote about mosquitoes.. they weren’t entirely sure why anyone would want to collect samples of species – as they said in their letter, ‘mosquitoes are very annoying!’

What the Mission Mosquito team have learned from Finland is that there are more different mosquitoes in Finland than in UK (40 to 36), and that about 10 species in Finland bite humans.  There are some diseases in Finland that are carried by mosquitoes, including Karelia Fever, which makes the joints swell and ache. One kind of mosquito lays its eggs in forest mushrooms and fungi, and the larvae eat the mushrooms, much to the annoyance of the mushroom collectors in the autumn.

Back in London, the team are investigating the different types, and have produced a useful identification chart..

Different types of mosquito larvae

Lab_13 Gillespie have also set a test for would-be investigators.. can you tell which type of larvae is in this picture?  And what is the part of the larvae that is labelled ‘B’?

larvae test.png

This is one of those Lab_13 investigations that could grow and draw on other observations and research, so watch this space for news updates.

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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?

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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


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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.

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