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The growing Phiz Lab family

Two new Phiz Labs helping to build the excitement of science in schools.

Published: 21 June 2023

The Ogden St Austell Partnership, which includes 10 Aspire primary schools across Cornwall, has joined the Phiz Lab family this week, opening a dedicated science space at St Stephen Churchtown Academy.

The new Phiz lab will allow children to experience science in an awe-inspiring way, raising aspirations in STEM subjects and making it accessible to all learners. The lab will be open to other Aspire schools, as well as offering different opportunities for community involvement including STEM clubs and twilight sessions.

What the children say…
“It’s amazing! We get to do really cool experiments”
“Better than a regular classroom because there are more resources”
“Excellent because it has everything you need for a science lesson”

Staff members, students, parents and members of the community came together to celebrate a day of science learning. The day began with an official ribbon cutting ceremony followed by pupil workshops and then a series of parent/student investigations later in the afternoon.

Three adults and a group of children cheer the cutting of a ribbon as the Phiz Lab is officially opened

The year 3 children participated in the first workshop of the day; making ‘bottle rockets’! They learnt all about what rockets are used for and why we use them. They thought about what would make a good rocket before putting their learning into practice as they built and launched their own rockets.

In the afternoon, Year 4/5 children learnt all about filtration in space and how astronauts recycle their own urine in an investigation titled ‘Astronaut Wee’. The children discussed some of the things that astronauts would need in space and talked about the problem with bringing water on a mission to the moon. The pupils then competed against each other in an investigation where they had to filter ‘astronaut wee’ into a drinkable liquid. They could ‘buy’ filtration items from a ‘shop’ and were awarded points based on clarity, acidity and the volume of water that was left after filtration.

Finally, after school, parents were invited in to participate in an investigation session. The experiment was on layering liquids and different densities. Participants had to ‘predict’ what order they thought the liquids would sit based on their density, then complete the activity to conclude whether their predictions were correct or not.

Parents were asked what they thought about the Phiz Lab…
“A once in a lifetime opportunity to engage children in a deeper understanding of science”
“What a wonderful resource to enhance the science curriculum”
“An opportunity they wouldn’t normally have”

Four children get hands on with science as they investigate a filtration system. liquid is being poured from a red plastic cup into a plastic bottle; the liquid is then going through some filter paper.

Phiz Labs

The Ogden Trust recognises the positive impact of a dedicated science teaching space within a primary school on pupils, staff and the wider community. Any Ogden partnership with primary schools has the opportunity to apply for funding to open a Phiz Lab, creating an environment to support teachers and engage pupils.

There are now more than 50 Phiz Labs across England, 30 of which were set up over five years ago and are still active within their schools. The Trust now runs a series of webinars to support partnership schools making their application for Phiz Lab funding, setting up their Lab and then sustaining and developing the space. The webinars are building a fantastic forum for networking, collaboration and exchange of ideas.

Earlier this year, Sheffield Hallam Partnership opened its Phiz Lab at Hallam Primary School. Ogden programme manager, Paul Sapple went along to the grand opening.

“The event was inspirational and purposeful – and for me it was joyful! It was wonderful to be able to meet the Year 5 science ambassadors who have a special responsibility for science in the school and were taking such pride in their roles and their new lab. I was struck by what a stellar team effort has gone into making the lab the space it is; it really showcases a true partnership approach – where everybody has come together to make it happen and everybody has played a role! The Phiz Lab is far more than just a room; it is a core asset for the partnership – with an outward-facing community-spirited the approach that will welcome schools and communities from across Sheffield.”

Six children in white lab coast are stood behind a red ribbon, three grown ups (one with a mayoral chain) are stood with the children as the Phiz Lab officially opened

Ogden school partnerships

The Ogden School Partnerships programme provides five years of funding, support and CPD for schools who want to work together to enhance the teaching and learning of physics. Partnerships with primary schools can apply for Phiz Lab funding in their second partnership year. Applications for new partnerships open each year between September and February.

You can find out more by visiting the partnership pages on this website.

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