Category Archives: STEM Visitors

Science With Our Senses

Year 3 were challenged to tune into their sense of smell and sight today as Dr Garry made a return trip to update us on his research and deliver a few exciting experiments to help us understand more about the importance of our senses. 

Discovering that our sense of touch improves when our eyes are closed.

Experimenting with paper chromatography was fun. The black pen was the most interesting with many different colours appearing in the wet filter paper.

Exploring contrasting colours and discovering that black on yellow is the easiest to read.

Understanding that light is made of a spectrum of colours. Different living things detect different colours.

British Sciece Week Investigations

Year 4 enjoyed a whirlwind of chemistry, physics and biology in Science to celebrate national British Science week today.  In a carousel of activities the hardness of our tap water was investigated for a BBC Explorify national database, the pH of toothpaste, mouthwash and hair conditioner was tested, electrical circuits were made to spin colour wheels to explore Isaac Newton’s work on spectrums.  We wanted to see if the colours of the spectrum merge to make white if they spin round fast enough!  We also enjoyed trying out our new stop motion animation app to make movies on our new class iPads (which were very kindly donated by Fobs at Christmas).  Finally, oserving moss and a range of other living things under the microscopes really was a highlight of the session.  Seeing the tiny spores and leaves of moss transform before our eyes into what was described by the children as  a ‘ gigantic forest’ under the lens of the microscope was amazing.

Year 5 have been finding out about the discoveries that Sir.Isaac Newton made with light being made up of a spectrum of colours.  By slowing it down when passing it through a prism the different colours bend.  This is called refraction.


The children enjoyed the challenge of making Newton’s spinning wheels using their knowledge of electrical circuits.

Making sure that every colour of the spectrum is included turned out to be the most successful way of making a white spinning wheel!

Our closest to white wheel yet!



Moss, a very interesting plant under the microscope.

Measuring the rain would be far more fun using this fantastic rain gauge made by a very special scientist from RSS class!

Our traditional rain gauge. We are hoping to compare our rainfall with the rainfall currently being experienced with our science link friends in Portland America…

Next week we look forward to a return visit by Dr Garry Dix to inspire us with more of his research and chemistry experiments for us to explore.

It’s not to late to get involved. If you work in a stem profession and are related to a child in school and would be interested in delivering a talk or demonstration please email stem@bramblesideacademytrust.co.uk for more information.

Testing the pH of toothpaste and mouthwash.

Discovering that we need a greater range of colours to make the card look white!

Making stop motion movies with our new ‘stop motion studio’ app was fun!

Connecting a battery pack carefully to a motor to spin our colour wheels. The greater the power hopefully the chances of making the spectrum of colours merge to make white will increase….

A section of a bee’s wing through the lens of a microscope

Morrison’s Bakers Help Us Discover More About Making Bread

What makes it rise?  What is it made from?  How is it made?  How many different ways can you shape and flavour it?  So many questions to explore!  Our research helped find some of our answers and we look forward to making our own next time.

We are very grateful that staff  from Wm Morrisons Plc, Kettering found time to visit our school to help answer our numerous questions.  It was a very exciting lesson as we examined fresh dough, found out more about yeast and asked lots of questions.  We all enjoyed Ben’s bread quiz!

Proudly showing the young wheat seedlings to our very special visitors.

16kg of flour, half the amount that is used to make a big batch of dough to fill the machines.

Retelling our tale of the very hard working red hen.


There is so many flavours, shapes and textures to choose from.

Learning from the experts.

Ben’s dough before and after baking.

Enjoying the final product at last!

Here is a healthy bread recipe you can try at home…1 cup of warm water, 1.5 tablespoons of sunflower oil, 1 tablespoon of skimmed milk, 1.5 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon yeast, 3.25 cups of wholemeal bread making flour (strong).  Mix all together into a dough, allow this to rise for an hour in a warm place before baking in a hot oven, 220C/gas mileage 7,  until golden brown (approx  30 mins).

Yeast, the secret of fluffy soft bread! Learning about this amazing micro organism releasing a gas to make our bread rise is fascinating and inspires so many more questions….

Adding cups and spoons made our measurements so much easier.

Remembering the journey of wheat! Hardworking hens and farmers producing our wheat for us to eat!

Food For Thought

Year 5 got a great opportunity to learn more about the research and development of cereal products today when A food technologist came along to share his experience and work as a project manager at a local cereal company.

Inspired by the school’s recent plot of wheat and impressed by their thoughtful and imaginative ideas our visiting food technologist  asked the children if they would be keen to try and grow some ancient grains for him next Spring.  Some of these varieties of grain are so old they were found buried in the pyramids with the pharaohs, how exciting to bring these seeds to life and see how they compare to our modern crops!  We look forward to the challenge…

What is Soil?

Year 1 are really keen to learn more about soil, mud,dirt,compost, the magical material under our feet that sustains life.  Where does it come from and why is so important to compost our organic waste and look after our soil?

To help them discover more, Kirsten Grundy from the Northamptonshire waste and energy education Team was invited along to help them explore the answers to these questions.  

In a similar theme of farming, Year 6 recently discovered the importance of looking after our precious soil when Lincolnshire farmer, Heather Atkinson, modelled planet Earth using an apple! 

If planet Earth was an apple this small bite represents the proportion we depend on to grow all of our food! This made us all realise how important it is to care for our soil and research new ways to grow future food for our increasing population.



Learning about the importance of nature breaking down all the dead plants and animals to recycle nutrients back into the soil.  We discovered that it’s important not to give the worms glass, plastic, sweet wrappers, raw eggs, meat nor metal.  They do like egg shells, paper, plants, fruit and vegetables. We found out that the compost is a micro habitat for many living things including spiders, ants, worms and woodlce.  We also know that many mammals including moles, rabbits and badgers make underground tunnels and live there too. 

Kirsten examines our compost. Our Apple cores, fruit peelings and teacher’s tea bags make good compost. Don’t put in sweet wrappers though!

When we searched our school compost bin not only did we find spiders and worms sadly we found out that some plastic had been put in the bin and this was not composted.  We mustn’t forget that our African keyhole garden has a big compost basket in the middle where we can put our fruit waste into.  It will be really interesting to make compost from our waste organic materials and see the effect that this will have on our fruit and vegetables.  Will all these recycled nutients really make them grow better?  We look forward to experimenting and finding out more about what materials makes good compost for our plants.

Brambleside Dances to an African Beat

Children experienced a taste of Africa today as 2 fantastic teachers delivered drumming and dance lessons throughout the whole school.  At the end of the day another amazing assembly with an African theme amazed and entertained us all as children from Year.6 and Year 3 enjoyed demonstrating their new beats and moves!

Lessons From Africa

Learning tried and tested gardening methods that have stood the test of time was fascinating, rewarding not to mention very physical when Claire Plumb delivered a fantastic African Garden Day in our school garden.  In only a few hours the children and an enthusiastic team of parent volunteers met the challenge to convert a pile of old bricks, chicken wire and a tonne of soil into something for the whole school to enjoy growing in and to be very proud of, an African Keyhole Garden.


At the end of a very productive day of digging, measuring, building and planting the whole school enjoyed a very informative assembly to learn more about life in some of the 55 countries within the continent of Africa.


Learning about composting and understanding that decaying organic material is a vital source of minerals for plants to help them grow is at the heart of this garden. The children were taught to use this chicken wire compost basket for their old fruit waste to recycle all the valuable nutrients and fertilise future fruits and vegetables.  Year 1 will be learning even more about this amazing process when Kirsten Grundy from The Northamptonshire County Council Waste and Energy Education Service visits next week.

Calculating the perimeter of circles and measuring out our materials accurately was important. Our maths skills were put to the test, measure twice cut once!

We were fascinated to look at the structure of the roots of the many weeds we dug up!

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Conserving water by building a Tip Tap to wash our hands is another idea we found ingenious and exciting to build.  We used a lever mechanism to tip the bottle.

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Remembering to care for all living livings including the smallest of insects is also a priority for us and a bug hotel was designed and built to provide a shelter by several enthusiastic and very creative children.   It will be very interesting to do regular surveys of the insects visiting our Brambleside Bug Hotel to see if numbers grow and if the population and residents change over time.  We also wonder if the seasons will make a difference.

Our indoor work and research