Gillespie News: Exclusive Interview!

Dr Cathy Roberts, our Mission Mosquito scientific supervisor, was kind enough to let Danny Krige (Y5) have an exclusive interview with her

Q: What made you want to do the mosquito project?

A: There were 2 things I heard from professor Sella & Amelia French about the amazing Lab_13 and they inspired me to work with you all

Q: What have you done so far?

A: We’ve been collecting samples of larvae from water sources and growing them into adults and we have also been collecting adults in our special adult traps. In addition, we have been photographing and cataloguing these samples.

Q: Where have you been keeping them and is it safe?

A: We’ve been keeping them in special cages in Lab_13 which the mosquitoes can’t escape from so yes it is safe for them and for us!

Q:  What results are you hoping to get?

A: We are hoping to find what types of mosquitoes like living in the cities and whether we have any coming from Europe.

If you haven’t read about this project before, please take a look at our previous blogs and check out the Lab_13 twitter


The Mosquito cage while being built


 Danny Y5

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June’s Magical Moments at Lab_13 Rosehill

June’s been a month full of magic moments so far, so here’s a selection!

Holly’s Marvellous Magnetism

Holly is a primary age student who had not been to Lab_13 before. We were exploring magnetism,  ‘fishing’ for metal objects, painting with paperclips and making patterns with iron filings.  Holly was unsure at first but after encouragement she continued to explore independently for around 15 mins. She especially loved the iron filings. The member of staff with us was really surprises since in class Holly usually has a short attention span!


Static Electricity Stuns Staff

Over the past few sessions in Lab_13, pupils have been exploring static electricity and the upper school in particular has been enjoying this topic. However, it was the staff engagement that really stole the day! What a video it would have made with crazed looking staff frantically rubbing balloons and plastic sheets in their hair. One member of staff who came to both the upper school sessions was boasting about being able to attend ‘double science’.


Lab_13 Rosehill Celebrations

Lab_13 Rosehill is looking forward to its celebration day on Tuesday 4th July. Scientist in Residence Betti will be there running sessions all week for pupils and staff, including a Big Bubble Day!


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Lab_13 Irchester turns 6!

Lab_13 Irchester has just turned 6! We’ve had a full two weeks of birthday celebrations, which we will tell you about in this blog. Foundation stage and Year 1 were amazed that the lab is older than them, and some year 6s can remember the lab starting when they were in Foundation!

The week before last we had an egg floating competition! We chose eggs because the chicks that we hatched from eggs were here for out birthday. What you had to do was pay one pound and then you could bring in a home-made boat or make one at lunch. You would have two chances to float a crème egg and if your boat successfully floated you won the crème egg! We had some great designs using lego, bottles, egg boxes, CDs and foam packing peanuts!

Then last week was the big celebration, we got the whole school involved! We decided to do lots and lots of different outdoors activities, each year got to pick three that they wanted to do. We interviewed some pupils from each year group to find out what we got up to!

A pupil in year 2 liked pond dipping, because they found lots and lots of different bugs, and some newts! They also went bug hunting on the field. Lots of classes from different years went pond dipping and bug hunting, we discovered that the pond is really full of life with newts, tadpoles, dragonfly larvae, whirligig beetles and lots of water hog louses!

A year 3 said their favourite activities were cloud identifying and elf house building. They imagined a tiny elf wanted to live in our field, as they were secretive and nature loving we wanted  to build natural hidden houses for them. We got lots of great imaginative elf houses, some were really well camouflaged.

A year 4 pupil said their favourite activity was measuring how tall the trees on the field were, by looking through their legs! They also found their tree twins by looking for matching patterns, and did a survey to see how healthy our trees are.

Year 6 looked at the weather, they used bubbles to measure how fast the wind was blowing, identified the clouds they could see, and even made their own thermometer using a bottle, a straw and coloured water. They’ve kept one in their classroom to see how it changes over the term!

And then on Friday afternoon, the committee iced 400 cupcakes, putting a number 6 on every cake. That was enough for one for each child and teacher! We then delivered ALL of the cakes to all the classes and sang happy birthday to the lab with each class!

By Brooke (year 5) and Charlotte (year 6)


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Gillespie news: Lab Helpers


Sorting the Lego

One of the newest roles in the Lab is the ‘Lab Helper’, it allows children who really want to be in the lab committee to prove themselves so they have a slight advantage to become a member of the committee next year. The helpers help prepare for lessons, help at science club, tidy up and sort out the lab. As an example today Adnan & Hamza sorted out the Lego in the lab and even prepared equipment for a lesson for Carole!


Materials prepared for Carole’s lesson on batteries

Written by Danny (Y5)

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Rosehill News: Friction, Movement and Slopes

This half term, Scientist in Residence Betti Copperwood has been exploring movement with pupils at Lab_13 Rosehill.

Pupils explored the relationship between materials and friction by sliding wooden blocks down a slope. One block was particularly rough, one was normal and one was covered in tin foil. The one covered in tin foil slid easily down the slope at a low angle and the rough block stuck to the surface for a long time until the slope was almost 90 degrees. This illustrated friction.

Pupils also explored how different weighted balls impacted on a goal – light polystyrene balls were unable to move a cardboard goal but heavy bouncy balls knocked it over!


Other pupils also developed a system to get a ball to roll down through a tube and over a series of obstacles. After much trial and error and subtle adjustments to the angle of the slope, the size of ball and material of the obstacles, the pupils were successful in getting the ball to complete the obstacle course!






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Google Expeditions – Irchester

Recently, Professor Shailey Minocha and Doctor Ana-Despina Tudor from The Open University came to work with year 4 at Irchester Community Primary School as part of their research project into the potential of using virtual reality in education.

The children had been learning about rocks. They had explored how rocks are formed then created their own rock cycle using Starburst sweets; they had made careful observations of the school rock collection using a range of senses and recorded these using annotated sketches; they had tested rock samples for hardness and permeability using a scratch test and water; and they had visited the local church and grounds to investigate which rocks had been used and how each type had been affected by age and the environment.

As an extension to these lessons, Professor Minocha and Mrs Tyrrell planned a series of virtual reality experiences using Google Expeditions, where the children were able to ‘visit’ famous landmarks around the world: the Taj Mahal, the city of Petra in Jordan, Machu Picchu and the pyramids of Giza in Egypt. At each site, children were able to view the landmarks and consider the rocks used, the reasons for this and some of the practicalities.



All the children were amazed by the technology and really enjoyed the lesson. One child told Doctor Tudor and Professor Minocha, “It made me understand how much the world needs rocks. It also helped me understand how much progress we’ve made.”

If you would like to read the full case study please click on the link below:


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Irchester News: Chick Update and a Flying Car!

In the lab_13 blog we tell you about what happened during lab this week. We are going to tell you about a magic flying car and the adorable chicks.


Mrs Tyrrell took the fluffy chicks home for the weekend, and looked after them really carefully. Unfortunately the yellow heater broke, so Mrs Tyrrell was very resourceful and used 2 lamps and a heat mat to replace the heater while it was being repaired.

Unfortunately, one of the chicks passed away overnight when the heater broke. The chick was quite weak and very small, it couldn’t walk or eat properly. We think the reason it was so small, is that last week when the chick was hatching in the incubator we had a power cut. The incubator needs electricity so it wasn’t working, so the chick didn’t get the heat it needed. We have learnt that we were really lucky all 8 eggs hatched in the first place, and sometimes a chick is strong enough to hatch, but then not well enough to walk, eat and survive. All the other chicks are really healthy and strong, they’ve been given names by their sponsors and are starting to flap their growing wings to practice flying! (especially Bobby)



We had 2 visitors come in and explain about this strange flying car (it looks like the one from “Only fools and horses”!). Bobby and David  clearly explained really well how this terrific machine worked and answered our questions accurately. It works with a massive propeller and a wing parachute to make it fly. To steer it, he has to reach his hands out of the windows to pull on the ropes! It’s based on a machine called a paramotor flyer.

All the lab_13 members had a go at sitting in the car, including Miss Draper and Mr Allen. Amazingly, they have set a target to fly it across the English Channel. The reason they are doing this, is to get people to sponsor them, and all the money will go to our Project Playground!  This will really help us get our brand new adventure playground, as the old one has started to break.

All the children were astonished to find out about this fantastic car. Later on this week we will see it fly and hopefully it won’t crash. All the committee members are talking about building our own little mode of the flying car.

That’s all from blog this week, by Sophie and Ellie, Year 5


Yesterday lunchtime, everyone was busy playing, it was almost the end of lunch time. Suddenly we all heard a strange whirring buzzing sound, and looked up to see someone flying above us! He didn’t have his car with him, but Bobby swooped down low over the playing field and swung around above us, it was amazing!

flyer waving

Waving to the para motor flyer!

flyer staff behind ball

All the staff came out to watch too!

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