Space Volcanoes!

We’ve been delivering some workshop for Public Libraries in Hull over the summer, on volcanoes of the solar system, in keeping with their reading scheme space theme. But how different can volcanoes actually be? The answer is, very! But the mechanism causing them to erupt is basically the same. It’s all about pressure building under the surface. That pressure has to balance and release somewhere. That’s when a volcanic eruption occurs.

Active volcanoes are those which are currently erupting or have erupted in human history. We mainly use this term in regards to volcanoes on Earth, but the most active place in our solar system is one of Jupiter’s moons. Io is the innermost of Jupiter’s moons and is a little larger than our moon, with a radius of 1,131 miles. It has over 400 active volcanoes on its surface, produced by the gravitational pull of Jupiter creating tidal heating inside Io. This means that Io is being pushed and pulled by Jupiter, which causes friction deep inside the moon and creates this volcanic activity. Although Io has an icy surface, lava erupts hundreds of miles above the surface due to this tidal heating and low gravity.

Composite pic of images taken by Voyager 1 showing Io erupting hundreds of miles above the surface.

Back to volcanoes on Earth. They erupt lava. They can occur on the surface of the Earth and also under the sea. Imagine that the Earth’s crust is a bit like a cracked eggshell. The pieces of the eggshell are the tectonic plates. Hotspots sometimes occur in the middle of the Earth’s tectonic plates and cause eruptions on the seabed with the lava cooling to rock. The hotspot itself is fixed but the plates move, sometimes creating a series of islands, like Hawaii!

Further out in the solar system where temperatures are extremely cold, a different kind of volcano occurs. Ice volcanoes. In the far reaches of the solar system on Pluto, where the temperatures are around -200 degrees C, ice volcanoes exist. Otherwise known as cryovolcanoes these icy giants tower around 3500 m above the surface of Pluto.

Pluto as imaged by the New Horizons spacecraft, showing an area of possible cryovolcanoes (Image credit: NASA)

Although we have no observations of cryovolcanoes erupting on Pluto, there is evidence to suggest that it could possibly be geologically active. So how do volcanoes erupt ice? Well, we’re not 100% sure but imagine geological activity inside bodies like Pluto have warmed the frozen surface into a Slush Puppy! The moving ice sheets grind together inside and expel this above the surface as a cryovolcano! Unfortunately our observations of Pluto were very brief as the New Horizons spacecraft whizzed by in 2015, so we didn’t actually see any eruptions! We saw the very first cryovolcano on Neptune’s moon Triton as Voyager 2 flew by in 1989.

Triton as imaged by Voyager 2 (Credit: NASA)

So Earth isn’t the only body of our solar system with volcanoes! We’ve also seen evidence of past volcanism on Mars, Venus and our very own moon! And the children in our workshops love learning about the different volcano types and designing their own!


If you haven’t managed to book onto the library sessions then we have spaces available on our own workshops (including volcanoes) in Hull, Scunthorpe and Beverley. Book online now!

https://bookwhen.com/labrascals#focus=ev-sbaw-20190807100000

Have a great weekend!

Katies, Carol, Anita and Lauren

The Lab Rascals Team xx

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Apollo 50

Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.

On July 20th, 1969 at 2117 UK time, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon, making them the first humans to ever land on another world. The world watched as Armstrong took his first step onto the moon and Aldrin followed, while Michael Collins flew the command and service modules in orbit around the moon.

This momentous event was the culmination of over a decade of hard work by over 400,000 people. 530 million people watched around the world.

But this was 50 years ago! Not everyone can remember the moon landings themselves and a lot of the children we work with, don’t even know that they happened. So our Astronomy manager created a planetarium show to commemorate the anniversary of the moon landings. We’ve had a busy week taking the show into schools, including Stepney Primary, where the whole school watched the show. This show was designed for KS2 and older children but we managed to adapt it so the children in the nursery and reception could enjoy it too. It was hugely successful! Over 180 children experiencing the moon landing in 1 day!

Tomorrow, on the day of the anniversary, we will be helping Hull Libraries to launch their reading scheme. This year the scheme has a space theme and we will be performing our show all day! We’re honoured to be able to perform these sold-out shows to a public audience on such an important day! See you there?

Have a great weekend! Keep looking up!

Katie, Carol, Lauren and Anita

The Lab Rascals Team xx

One Giant Leap

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

Have a good weekend!

The Lab Rascals Team

Katie, Carol, Anita, Lauren and Amanda xx

Easter science fun!

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?

Dry ice

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.

Slime!

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!

Volcanoes!

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

Happy Easter from all of us at Lab Rascals!

Katie, Carol, Anita, Amanda and Lauren xx

British Science Week 2019!

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!

Pic courtesy of Grange Lane Infant Academy

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!

Pic courtesy of Kidgate Primary School

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!

Busy busy!

Katie, Carol, Amanda, Lauren and Anita xx

The Lab Rascals Team

http://www.labrascals.com

Welcome!

Featured

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!

Katie, Carol, Amanda, Anita and Lauren

The Lab Rascals Team xx