Welcome to the shiny new Lab Rascals blog! We’re going to be sharing lots of our exciting events and activities on here. But first, a little bit about ourselves.
We are an award winning interactive science entertainment company in Yorkshire and the Humber. We educate, inspire and entertain children with the magnificent world of science and engineering.
Due to our extensive research at the University of Hull into children’s perceptions of science we leave all the “flashes and bangs” in the Lab bring only the most enjoyable and engaging hands on experimentation into your home, village hall or classroom.
Since Lab Rascals was established in 2012 we have has a tremendous amount of support from parents, children, teachers and local companies. It’s fantastic to see how so many children and adults have become passionate about science over the past years. Several children have attended our workshops since early days and continue to do so. Thank you for your support.
From dry ice and slime parties in your choice of venue…
To school workshops…
And public events…
We’re out of this world!
We look forward to sharing our adventures with you!
It’s been half term for most schools in East Yorkshire and North East Lincolnshire this week! But there’s no rest for us! We’ve been out and about delivering science workshops!
On Wednesday we were based at Burnby Halls and Gardens for their Community Day. After the terrible weather at the beginning of the week we were happy to see the sun shining!
Burnby Hall belonged to Percy and Katherine Stewart. Between 1906 and 1926, Percy and Katharine completed eight world tours, covering North America and Canada, Africa, India and the Far East, Europe, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands with Percy using his trips to hunt, shoot and fish. He and Katharine brought back souvenirs and trophies which now form the Stewart Museum collection. These are an eclectic mix of statuary, hunting trophies and curiosities.
Katharine died in April 1939 and Percy remained at Burnby Hall for the remainder of his life. He lived until the grand old age of 90, assisted in later life by his faithful housekeeper Miss Tibbott.
Both he and Katharine had no children and decided to leave the estate in trust to the people of Pocklington when they died.
On his death in 1962, these wishes were complied with and the Stewart Trust, established in 1964 was set up to run Burnby Hall Gardens and to administer the Stewart Museum collection.
The gardens feature 2 lakes which hold a national collection of Waterlilies
So it was a stunning location for delivering our slime workshops! We delivered 2 workshops throughout the day, both being fully booked really early in the day! The children made 2 different kinds of slime and learnt the science behind the slime. Everyone had a great time and we had some lovely feedback from the parents.
On Thursday we travelled to Scunthorpe to the Engineering University Technical College, where they hosted a Primary Lego STEM event, for Year 5 pupils. We delivered our LEGO wind energy workshop to a really enthusiastic group of children! They had excellent LEGO building skills and worked really well together in teams.
This was a really successful workshop. All the children really enjoyed it! And so did we!
We’ve spent the rest of the week working on a new Astronomy course we’re putting together, to be delivered in our planetarium. Watch this space!! (see what I did there?)
We’ve been out and about with the planetarium again this week! We’ve had a student working on a planetarium project for the last few months. She designed a show about Earth, which she then presented at Healing Primary on Tuesday. The children in KS1 loved the show. They learnt about the weather, seasons and took a trip around the world.
We also had a practice run of our brand new planetarium show, One Giant Leap, with Healing Primary year 5 and 6. We think it’s really important to have a day of practice before a new planetarium show is launched for a number of reasons. Working on a show on a pc screen does not replicate what it will look like in the planetarium dome. So a test of the visuals is essential. Also, as with any interactive performance you really can’t judge how interactive it will be until you actually perform it, which then results in timing changes and parts being removed etc. This was also the first time we’d used sound for a planetarium show and we had a few technical issues with the speaker, which we could then fix during the practice shows.
We performed the show 4 times throughout the day and by the end of the day were really happy with the show. We aim to make the children think and I think we succeeded as they had some amazing questions afterwards. And we got some great feedback from the children.
Next up, we’re developing a show on “Volcanoes of the solar system”
So we were delighted to be asked to work with them at the Greenpower street race in Hull, providing outreach relating to green energy. But first of all, what exactly is the Greenpower street race? It’s run by a charity, Greenpower Education Trust, which gets young people enthusiastic about STEM subjects by challenging them to design, build, and race an electric car. They provide a basic, age appropriate kit car, which the young people then build onto. This is an international initiative, which culminates in a final in the UK. Last year we helped Healing Primary School in Grimsby build their car.
Students aged 9 – 25 can take part in the initiative, with older students building their own cars to exact specifications. More than 10,000 students take part each year, from primary school age through to university. According to their website, Greenpower is helping to address the engineering skills gap. The Royal Academy of Engineering estimates that the UK needs 104,000 STEM graduates per year and 56,000 technicians, between now and 2020.
So we were tasked with providing outreach for Siemens Gamesa related to green energy. In schools we would use LEGO to build a wind turbine to demonstrate wind energy but that wasn’t really possible at a public event. So we used dry ice to demonstrate how carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels is damaging our oceans through ocean acidification. This is a huge problem. The combustion of fossil fuels and other human activities have led to a flux of CO2 into the atmosphere.
According to NOAA, about 30% of this is absorbed by the oceans. The carbon dioxide mixes with the water creating carbonic acid, leading to a decrease in the pH of our oceans, meaning they are becoming more acidic. This is having a devastating effect on marine life. Calcium carbonate minerals are building blocks for skeletons and shells of marine organisms. Ocean acidification is causing areas of the oceans to become undersaturated with these minerals. The lack of these minerals is reducing the ability of some organisms to produce and maintain their shells. This affects sea life such as lobsters, crabs, mussels and also coral reefs. Fish are also unable to communicate effectively through water where pH is decreasing and water is becoming more acidic.
The children and adults who visited our stall on Sunday really enjoyed taking part in the experiment and we could directly link this to the work that Siemens Gamesa do in Hull, constructing wind turbine blades.
We even had a visit from ex-Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott who was very impressed with our experiment and our engagement with children on the subject of green energy. We even persuaded him to do the experiment himself.
For a bit of fun, and a lesson on sublimation we also did some self inflating balloons and UV bracelets, as part of the green energy topic.
We had an excellent day and even got chance to watch some of the racing!
20th July, 1969. Neil Armstrong uttered his famous words “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” as he became the first human to step foot on another world.
This was 7 years before I was born, but my dad passed on his enthusiasm about space to me. I remember clearing out the understairs cupboard, turning it into a spaceship and drawing maps of the planets and stars. Space and astronomy have always been a hobby for me. But now I’m lucky enough to be able to share my love of space as a job.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, I have designed and produced a brand new planetarium show “One Giant Leap”. My aim was to design a show that brings alive the moon landings, for children who may not know that they happened. But this isn’t just a show for children. Adults will love it too! Whether you remember the moon landings or not, standing on the surface of the moon with Neil and Buzz is a great experience.
But it’s not just about the history of the moon landings. What have we achieved since? Where will we go in the future? This is a fully immersive show with some great surprises!
I’m lucky enough to have travelled the world attending rocket launches. But this show is something I’m incredibly proud of. And 8 year old me would be proud too.
So, BOOK NOW for your school or organisation. Or book to attend one of our summer school holiday sessions in Hull, Beverley, Grimsby or Scunthorpe. You can do this all online at http://www.labrascals.co.uk
It’s Easter weekend and we’ve reached the end of our Easter holiday workshops! We run science workshops most school holidays and they are very popular with children and parents alike!
We deliver a different set of workshops each holidays. This time we covered dry ice, slime, planetarium and volcanoes! So plenty to choose from for everyone! Each workshop lasted an hour in different locations; Hull, Beverley, Scunthorpe and Grimsby.
Although our science workshops are very educational, we make this fun and this is our primary aim in holiday workshops, children have fun while learning.
So what do we do in each workshop?
We love dry ice! It can make simple experiments look dramatic! We use dry ice to demonstrate the states of matter and the children love getting hands on with the experiments.
All children love slime and we don’t just make slime, we teach them the science behind the slime! This is still one of our most popular workshops and the children particularly love blowing bubbles with their slime!
The children learn what volcanoes are and make their own! We always get some very creative volcano designs, which are then erupted using dry ice! There’s lots of teamwork and creative design involved in this workshop and we love seeing the children work together to create some amazing looking volcanoes!
We also did a number of planetarium shows at all locations. These were extremely popular as usual! This time the children learned all about stars, what they’re made of, how they’re formed, what a nebula is and the planets that orbit our star, the sun. This show is brilliant for younger children as it involves lots of looking at the stars and storytelling.
Not only have we been delivering public workshops, we also delivered some workshops on dry ice for Hull Children’s University.
Our brand new planetarium show One Giant Leap is now ready to go into schools! We’ve been working hard to make it a real celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing! Contact us for details or book on our website for schools and public events! http://www.labrascals.co.uk
We love Lego, here at Lab Rascals! So we were ecstatic to be able to put it to educational use in our workshops. We are in the unique position of being able to teach science in schools in a fun way, so we were delighted to receive sponsorship from EON and Siemens to deliver wind energy workshops in schools in North Lincolnshire and Hull. Both these companies are big wind energy employers in the local area so we could really see the importance of promoting renewable energy sources and how the local area contributes to this.
We received funding to deliver 1 workshop each to 10 low income schools. Siemens workshops were offered to schools in Hull and EON workshops were offered to schools in North Lincolnshire. They were all snapped up instantly!
We begin the workshops by asking the children what they already know about wind energy and wind turbines, and then explain exactly how a wind turbine works. We have a large piece of turbine cable which we let them pass round. They’re always really surprised at how thick it is!
They are split into groups of 3 and then the building begins! We use LEGO Education Renewable Energy add-on kits, and they build a wind turbine tower, the blades and nacelle and a lego car. Some children are a whizz with lego and can build their part really quickly, others need a little help! Luckily we usually have help from Siemens and EON employees, and I’m sure they love it as much as the children do!
Once the turbines and car have been built we attached batteries to the turbine ask the children to find out how we get the most energy from the turbines by using desktop fans on different speed settings and using different numbers of blades. We then use that information to power our Lego cars.
These half day workshops are such good fun and allow the children to learn about important topics like renewable energy in a fun and engaging way! Watch this space for details of more wind energy workshops soon!!
British Science Week, formerly known as the National Science & Engineering Week is a 10-day long science “feast” around the UK and the nation’s largest science celebration of its kind. The name was changed into British Science Week for two reasons. The first was for the event to reflect the organiser’s broad understanding of science which also includes social sciences, maths, technology and engineering. And the second reason was because the addition of “engineering” excluded other scientific fields, especially social sciences which are a part of science as well. British Science Week is one of our busiest weeks of the year! This week was no exception and we have been busy entertaining children in schools with science!
We started our week in Doncaster with 8 Planetarium shows. 200 children were treated to a tour of the solar system and they had some amazing questions about how our solar system began!
Tuesday saw us heading off to Beeford for a full day of workshops on the states of matter with Beeford and North Frodingham primary schools. The kids loved seeing what happens to the marshmallows in the vacuum chamber and doing their own experiments with dry ice! We all had a great time!
Today we headed to Kidgate Primary Academy in Louth for a day of Polymer workshops with KS1. They loved making slime!
Tomorrow we’re taking the planetarium to Griffin Academy in Hull, where we will be taking 2 classes on a tour of the solar system!