Braunstone Frith Primary School

Ask Kids

Gopher Science Lab

Fifteen Year Six children were selected to visit Sir Jonathan North secondary school to take part in the Gopher Science Lab.  Whilst there, they took part in a whole array of different experiments and investigations, covering biology, chemistry and physics. The event was organised in collaboration with Christ the King Primary School and Challenge Partners.

All of the investigations were taught to the Year Six children by the students of the secondary schools involved.   The principle of the Gopher Science Lab, which was originally developed by the Royal Society of Biology, is to empower students to experience teaching as part of their own learning process.  Under the guidance of their teachers, the secondary students were able to safely demonstrate, teach and explain a range of practical activities.

The finale to the day was a demonstration by Mathew Tosh, a leading pyrotechnic scientist.  A pyrotechnic expert (or firework maker) uses knowledge of chemical reactions, geometry, physics as well as a lot of maths to be able to produce amazingly jaw-dropping displays of colour, shape and sound. Mathew talked about the way he uses different chemicals to create the fireworks we see at celebrations and gave everyone a great light show.

My favourite bit was when we made our own slime and then tested it to see how quickly it moved.

- Jakilah (6G)

The pyrotechnic demonstration was amazing.  I nearly jumped out of my seat!

- Libby (6SA)

I can’t wait to teach it all to the year 5s.

- Poppy (6G)

The children who attended the event were then given the job of becoming the new Gopher Lab experts: they held their own Gopher Lab event using all that they had learnt.  The Year Six children, who didn’t take part in the initial event, were invited to the Braunstone Frith Gopher Science Lab as well as all of the students in Year Five.  The ‘Gophers’ were all really confident at delivering the different activities and gained a lot from the whole experience. It is hoped that the Year Five children will be able to go on and become Gophers too, cascading their love of science throughout the whole school.

The whole event was so successful that the Challenge Partner schools, including our own, are already beginning to put together ideas for the next Gopher Science Event.  Watch this space (and that’s a clue to the proposed next theme).

Do try this at home

Look at the image below.  Time how long it takes for someone in your family to read all of the words.  Then time the same person to say all the colours the words are written in.  What do you notice?  This investigation is called the Stroop Effect.  It is one of the investigations the children learnt at the Gopher Lab and tested out on the Year Fives.