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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Introducing Lab_13 Nethergate!

We are delighted to announce that the Lab_13 network has gained its latest addition!

Nethergate School in Clifton officially opened its Lab_13 in May, with the support and championship of the Deputy Head, Shelly Wood. Betti Copperwood, who is also the Scientist in Residence at Lab_13 Rosehill, will be working with pupils of all ages to explore key scientific concepts.

Nethergate is a school for pupils with learning difficulties and complex needs from across Nottingham.

So far this half term, pupils have been exploring light and shadow; looking at the way coloured materials, movement, reflection and distance affect what we see.


Pupils exploring light, shadows and colours


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Gillespie news: mosquito or not?

We don’t think this is a mosquito larva as the head is so big

The week before last, we updated you on the mosquito project that we have been running. Recently, our scientific advisor who works at UCLH (University College London Hospital), Dr. Cathy Roberts, brought in some canal water from Regents canal in Kings Cross for us to look at. We were trying to identify some larvae that were in it. We looked at them under the microscope, but they didn’t seem to be what we were expecting. First of all, we thought that they might not have been mosquitoes, but Cathy looked in her mosquito book and we realised that they might be mosquito pupae. We were quite confused and asked Cathy to take a closer look at them. She concluded that they weren’t mosquitoes as the head looked too different to any species previously documented and were probably larvae or pupae of another animal. We haven’t found any mosquitoes yet, but we won’t give up!

Written by Naomi (Y5)

Hamza (Y5) has drawn a picture of one of his favourite animals from the book Creaturepedia, which the committee enjoy reading:


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Irchester News part 1: Hoodies, Chicks and Snails

We have so much news on things that have happened, and will happen this term, that we’ve split it into two posts! Stay tuned to find out the rest…


New Committee and new hoodies! 

After the new committee completed their interviews, they had to learn what to do and the old committee showed them. It was scary for the new committee being interviewed because they didn’t know what was coming up, but now they are comfy and settled in with the old committee and have got the gist of things. We also have our new hoodies!  And we don’t just like them we love them! They look awesome, they are different to last years as they are from a new company. If you see one of the lab_13 hoodies, feel free to ask them an awesome science question.

hoodies walking

We took the hoodies on a walk up the road: to count steps ready for walk to school week!

New Chick visitors:

This term we have special visitors, chicks! Let’s just hope your sponsor won! Out of the original 20 we now have 8 eggs left, as we had 12 that did not grow at all because they were not fertilised. Today, Tuesday…the eggs are hatching!! A few eggs have tiny cracks, and for the first time they are breathing oxygen properly, and when they recover, they’ll begin cracking the rest! Potentially, by tomorrow morning, we’ll have a chick in place of an egg! It’s very difficult to be patient now.

Wednesday update! We now have 3 chicks, and there is a 4th one but it is not ready. It has the top cracked but is still in there: so hang on by tomorrow we might  have all of them. Number 5, 3 and 1 have hatched. There are still 5 to go.

(Wednesday afternoon update: the fourth one hatched! Class 4TT watched it live on the school webcam feed!)


New snails

So we have more good news! Over the holidays, our snails had babies! About 61, we think. Usually we get rid of the eggs because we don’t want hundreds of snails, but over the holidays they had enough time to hatch! Luckily they are all garden snails, so we’re going to keep them in the lab for a while, and do some (careful) experiments with them. When they get big enough we may send them back into the wilds of the school field.



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Gillespie news: Incredible (obviously) Physics

Incredible (obviously) Physics: The IoP

Last academic year, in November 2015, we took part in workshops with the Institute of Physics (IoP). During these workshops we designed drawings for the hoardings for the IoP’s new building.

Four people from the IoP – Paul, Rachel, Louise and Ian – came yesterday to announce whose drawings will go up on their hoardings. Paul is the Chief Executive of the IoP and he is an atmospheric physicist. He wanted to speak in assembly about the IoP, explain about its new building and do a weather experiment with us.

For the demo Paul brought a few small water bottles and some waterproof tape. He also brought a pre-made water bottle tornado as an example of what we were going to make and experiment with. We tested it by shaking it and found that the tornado wasn’t that clear or easy to see. On our next attempt we added some glitter to make the tornado more visible. The glitter swirled around and exaggerated the spinning water.


Working as a team to connect the two bottles with water proof tape


We were still not satisfied with this because as the water bottles were small the tornado did not have enough time to build up and wasn’t that clear for a demonstration in assembly. In our final attempt we used two much bigger bottles and some more glitter. This tornado worked much better than any of the previous ones. Here are instructions for how to make your own tornado in a bottle



Here are the Y4 and Y5 children whose art works will be on display. Y6 missed assembly due to SATs so will receive their certificates next week.

After the demonstration Paul awarded certificates and thank you prizes to the children whose art works have been chosen to go on the hoardings.  If you would like to see these art works then go to Caledonian Rd  on the corner of Balfe St, near King’s Cross.


Written by Kiri and Naomi (Y5)

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Introducing: Irchester Lab_13’s new committee members!

For a new term, we have four brand new committee members! They will be shown the ropes by the old committee members, ready for the chicks to hatch next week and Lab’s 6th birthday at the end of term!

IMG_20170504_102219My name is Libby, I am 10 years old and my favourite subject is science. I like it because it is interesting and you get to do exciting things! I play football out of school and I also run. I have applied to be in the committee so many times, but I did not give up and applied again. This time I got in! That has made me really proud and happy. I am excited about cleaning out the snails and looking after them. I am also excited about the stick insects because it looks fun to clean out and they are interesting to learn about. I am very good at working with other people.

I am happy that lab 13 exists, because otherwise there wouldn’t be as many experiments and fascinating stuff to do in school!


IMG_20170504_125240Hi, my name is Joshua and I’m 10. My favourite thing I do outside of school is Rugby because I have made a lot of friends over the 3 seasons I’ve played. I like science because there is always something more to discover, and it’s very fun and there are lots and lots of different aspects to it. I’m looking forward to being on the committee because I would love to do even more science and it is also my favourite subject. My favourite job will probably be the snails because I would like to see if their eggs are different to other animal eggs.

When I was told I was on the committee, I was full of joy and happiness because I’m still in my first year at this school, so I was even happier to get this chance.


IMG_20170504_123541Hi my name is Brooke I am 10 years old. I love lab_13 because I love experiments. Outside of school I love to do lots of different experiments to see the reaction.  I love making slime, last time I made it and it worked, I put corn flour and shampoo in a bowl and mixed them together.

I am looking forward to being in the lab because I am really interested in science and learning about new things. I am also looking forward to looking after the snails because they are fascinating.

When I was told that I was in the Committee I couldn’t believe it, I kept saying to myself  AM I IN?! I applied so many times, but I kept trying and I finally got a chance!




Hi my name is Sophie, I am 10 years old. I applied for lab_13 because I think the experiments are really cool and I can find out new things. I love science because I like caring for animals finding out about new creatures. I’m looking forward to looking after the snails and stick insects, I have experience because I look after my dog called Millie.

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Gillespie news: mosquitoes & cleaning water

Mission Mosquito

In December you may remember that we wrote a blog post about a research project that we were going to start called Mission Mosquito. This term we have finally gathered a team to research the population of mosquitoes in Islington. Our project is going to focus on deadly mosquitoes that carry diseases such as malaria and Zika. The reason we are worried about these mosquitoes is because of climate change. As the UK gets warmer some mosquitoes from warmer countries may be able to survive here. In more tropical and hotter countries mosquitoes carry more diseases.

Cleaning water

Professor Kevin McGuigan is a medical physicist who is researching ways of getting clean water in East Africa. During lunch time he asked us questions about how we can provide clean water from dirty water . Some of the ways were to boil the water, use saris to filter the water or using sand. See if you can think of any other ways to clean water! He is going to talk to Y4 and Y6 about his work, we will tell you more about it after his talk.

Written by Naomi and Zac (


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