Holiday Club at Irchester: Rockets and Air-zookas!

Hello and welcome to the Lab_13 Blog!!!

Today’s blog is about… the Lab_13 Irchester Half Term Holiday Club! All the children who came to the club had LOTS OF FUN!!! They made rocket fuel (for POP ROCKETS not REAL ROCKETS) by experimenting to see which mixture of chemicals would react the best by making lots of fizz and bubbles. They also used the lab’s giant air-zooka and made their own mini air-zookas to take home, after using them to knock down their huge cup towers!

We will tell you how to make pop rocket fuel and mini air-zookas, so you can do it yourself too!

For the rocket fuel, we used three liquids: vinegar, water and laundry liquid, and three solids: citric acid (powder), Bicarbonate of Soda (also a powder) and fizzy vitamin tablets (a tablet).

The best combination for us was…………


The reason they were the winners was because they fizzed (reacted) the most, and the fizzing shows that the reaction is making a gas, which is what makes the rocket launch!  They reacted because the citric acid is an acid, and the laundry liquid is an alkali.


To make a pop rocket you will need:

  • A sealable pot with a push lid: like an old film canister.
  • Some of the liquids and solids listed above
  • Tissue paper

To make your rocket ready to launch:

  • Put your chosen liquid into your sealable pot and place a sheet of tissue paper on top.
  • Place your chosen solid on top of the paper and put the lid on gently.


    Pot half filled with laundry liquid, and citric acid on the tissue paper.

To launch:

  • Go outside!
  • Clip the lid on properly and turn your pot upside down to mix the chemicals together to start the reaction.
  • Put your rocket on the floor and step back quickly!

The rockets made a big mess in the playground, but luckily the rain washed it all away. Science club loved seeing how high the rockets went, much higher than they expected!

The air-zooka works by pushing all the air inside the container out of the hole, whenever you ping the sheet at the back. It makes a ball (or vortex) of moving air that you can feel hit you even at the other end of the room!

The mini air-zookas work just the same, except they are much smaller. You could still knock down cups towers with them though!

How to make mini air-zookas you will need:

  • Disposable cup
  • Balloon
  • Scissors
  • 2p coin
  1. Firstly blow up the balloon to stretch it then let all the air out.
  2. Secondly tie a knot in the balloon and chop it in half leaving the knotted end. We’ll need that later.
  3. Next, cut a hole in the bottom of your disposable cup, the size of the 2p coin.
  4. Then, stretch the knotted end of the balloon over the top the disposable cup.
  5. Ping the knot to fire!

Everyone at holiday club really enjoyed the day. Finlay’s favourite part was launching the rockets, while Miss Draper enjoyed shooting everyone with the air-zooka!

By Charlotte and James

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Rosehill News: Visit from an Inflativerse

The Lab_13 at Rosehill had a visit in January from scientists from the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Nottingham.

They brought along an inflatable planetarium, known as an inflativerse! You can read more information about the Inflativerse here:

The children had a great time exploring the inflativerse and really enjoyed the visit from scientists.

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Gillespie news: Science Spectacular


(not actual stage!)

On the 14th March we are hosting a Science Spectacular at Gillespie. There will be a handful of special guests helping us to answer a question about space. It begins at 5.30pm, when you can come to explore what we’ve been doing lately in the lab and hold special mystery objects.


There will be rockets in the show, similar to but not exactly like this one!

The show starts at 6pm, when everybody settles down to enjoy and listen to our spectacular science performance. It will be humorous, there will be cheesy jokes, inventions, rockets, investigations and comets. Expect it to be a VIP (Very Important Performance… or a VVIP, a Very Very Important Performance).

We don’t want to say too much because you will just be sitting at home reading this blog, and instead you should come and enjoy the show. If you can’t make it, look out for our next blog. There will be lots of information and pictures. It will be just like you were there (but not literally).

Written by Kiri (Y5) and Choi ying (Y6)

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Irchester News: Terrific Scientific supertasters and a stargazing night!

On Tuesday 31st of January, we held a stargazing evening but due to really bad weather we couldn’t see any stars or planets: it was foggy and raining. Instead we learnt lots of exciting things about space. We had a stargazing group called the Northamptonshire Amateur Astronomers visit with different types of telescopes and equipment. We got to look through them even though we could only see the walls! There was a really big telescope, which was a reflector; we could see our faces when we looked down the tube. There was a finderscope on top of the telescope which is for aiming where you want to look. Everyone had a good evening watching the presentation and learning about stars and planets. Sam’s favourite fact was how many constellations there are: 71 roughly.

We have been taking part in a science experiment called Terrific Scientific. Terrific Scientific is run by the BBC, they wanted us take part in a taste test. They wanted to see how many of us are non-tasters, tasters and supertasters. We had to dye our tongues blue and count how many pink bumps there are in the area of a punched hole. If there were 11+ you would be a supertaster, if you had 5-10 you would be a taster, if you had 0-4 you would be a non-taster.

Supertasters can taste bitter things more strongly like brussel sprouts; tasters can taste things strong but not too strong and like lots of foods and non-tasters can eat a lot because their taste buds are weak. On average 25% are supertasters and 40% tasters and 35% non-tasters.

At ICPS, we discovered that  9% were super tasters,   61% were tasters and  30% were non-tasters.

by Sam and Elisabeth




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Gillespie news: new recruit & book review

The New Recruit

Out of the blue we were sent a letter from an aspiring young scientist who wanted to be a member of our committee. This was unexpected because it is the middle of the year and the interviews have already taken place. We felt like this young scientist’s letter was very thoughtful and she had loads of experience of a lot of clubs and organisations including engineering within the school. We were awestruck by the letter and so we decided to let her in to the next stage: the interview. During the interview we asked her many questions about her commitment to the committee and her experience and skills. We asked her questions based on our aspirations for a fab committee member that we came up with in the morning:


She is very kind to others and always includes people and gets along with others. We could tell that she is a committed and hard-working scientist. That’s why we want her in the committee. Welcome Nimo!

Science book review: Itchitch

Recently I have read a book called “Itch” by Simon Mayo. It is about a boy called Itchingham Lofte who is an element hunter and is very adventurous and brave. He is very cheeky and takes many risks with his elements for example one day he takes some arsenic wallpaper into school. Page after page you will see plenty of action and adventure but still lots of humour.

Written by Daniel (Y6), Zac (Y5) and Naomi (Y5)

P.S. Next week we will be writing about our latest tool, which was donated to the lab by Zac today! Carole has tried it out and made this with it, can you guess what our new tool is?




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Gillespie news: Detecting Data Loggers

Measuring the temperature inside the freezer

Measuring the temperature inside the freezer

Hi our names are Nojus and Reiss. We have recently been working with the data loggers. We have seen fantastic freezing points and bubbling boiling points. Carole asked us to see which is the coldest and the hottest object in the lab. The hottest object in the lab is the radiator. We measured the radiator’s temperature in degrees Celcius. It was 40.1oC. The freezer was -9.6oC. We were surprised that the temperature went down so rapidly when we put it in the freezer. We also measured Reiss’s armpit and it was 37.5oC, and that’s as it should be.

Here is our scale of temperatures that we measured:


Written by Nojus and Reiss, Y5

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Irchester news: Dissecting a Heart!

Last week, year 5 and 6 completed an experiment about hearts. Not using picture in a heart2book, or a model out of plastic, but a real lamb heart! We wondered where the teachers got the hearts: we discovered you can actually get them from the supermarket, because you can cook and eat them. We didn’t do that though; instead we took some inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci and very carefully drew and labelled a sketch of the outside of the heart. It looked like a lump of meat yet it had holes through the middle of it, lots of white, fatty bits and a few tubes hanging off the top.

Leonardo da Vinci’s heart sketch

Then we carefully cut the hearts open with scissors to look inside: and even though they were disgusting it was quite interesting! The heart felt stiff on the outside and squidgy in the middle. Inside we could see some tubes coming out of the top; they are called the Aorta and Vena Cava. There were also lots of little tubes called capillaries running all through the heart meat (which is muscle), and big spaces inside the heart called  the atrium and ventricle. These are the bits which fill with blood and pump it round the body.  We also spotted some white stringy bits, they are called the heartstrings. It is a saying that sad stories “pull on the heartstrings”, but they are really there to hold the valves in the right places.


Jamie and his poster


When we heard that we were going to dissect a heart, Charlotte was really excited, because she loves the gross things about science. James was worried at first, but loved the experiment because it was really interesting. And Jamie was so interested in what he saw, he went home and did lots of research to make this amazing poster!


By James and Charlotte

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