How we’re coping during the pandemic at Whizz Pop Bang HQ…

As a team made up almost exclusively of parents of primary-aged children, we are very used to working flexibly and juggling home working with childcare, so we’re lucky that we’ve been able to easily ramp this up a notch or three now that our kids are at home full time. Of course, it hasn’t all been plain sailing, with our editor Tammy having a particularly tough baptism of fire when a ceiling collapsed during her first morning of home schooling! You can read more about that in our blog post on home schooling tips.

Our printers and mailing house are practising social distancing in the workplace and working in shifts to minimise contact between employees. Each month, Whizz Pop Bang magazines are packed into envelopes by machine, ready for delivery by Royal Mail, and this will continue as long as it’s safe to do so.

Orders of back issues, books and lab coats from our online shop are sent out by Royal Mail directly from our own warehouse, where we now have only a single person, Sophie or Hennie, working at any one time. With the warehouse shutter doors flung open to the Cotswold sunshine, and the radio blaring, it’s not quite as desolate as it sounds! The government is encouraging home delivery services to continue as normal where possible to keep the country running. Please be mindful that there may be delays in the postal service due to staff shortages, but the Royal Mail are committed to ensuring that households still receive mail.

Find out more about the impressive precautions that Royal Mail are taking to ensure that your post reaches you as safely as possible here.

As a small, independent business, we feel we’re doing an important job in helping families educate and entertain their children at home. If the situation changes and for any reason we’re not able to send out physical magazines, we’ll make sure that we provide all subscribers with access to a digital version of Whizz Pop Bang instead.

If you have any questions, please email or phone us on 0330 2233 790. Though we may not always be able to respond straightaway, we’ll do our best to get back to you as quickly as we can.

Tell us about your lockdown science fun!

We’d love to hear what our readers are up to at home – please share your photos, experiments, ideas and indeed all your adventures in science with us! Simply email Y@whizzpopbang.com and we’ll publish a selection in the magazine and online. Don’t forget, we’ve shared loads of FREE science activities and experiments for you all to enjoy right here!

Happy home experimenting!

WIN National Geographic Gemstone Dig Kits!

Calling future geologists and palaeontologists! You could get stuck into a hands-on adventure with this National Geographic Gemstone Dig Kit.

Your child will become a treasure hunter as they carefully uncover spectacular gemstones using the digging tools provided. National Geographic’s full-colour learning guide makes identifying each specimen easy. The guide is also packed full of information and amazing facts about their crystals! 

We’ve got five sets to give away! Just answer this question in the comments to be in with a chance of winning:

Which of the below is a type of gemstone?

a. Amethyst
b. Ammonite
c. Amoeba

If you can’t see the ‘Leave a reply’ box below, click here to see the full version of this blog post.

This competition closes at midnight on Thursday 30th April 2020. Whizz Pop Bang competition terms and conditions are here

Thanks to Bandai, National Geographic and Playtime PR for this brilliant prize!

FREE science activities for year 5 and P6!

Now that schools are closed, have you become a home educator overnight? Whizz Pop Bang is the world’s most awesomely amazing kids’ science magazine, bursting with hands-on experiments, facts and fun, and we want to help you and your children with the huge transition that many of us face.

Here are some FREE science activities and experiments to help you entertain, excite and educate your year 5 child! You’ll find out how to make a water wheel lifter, a balloon rocket, a model of our solar system, flying machines and paper planes, plus reading comprehensions about astronaut Tim Peake and sensational scientists The Wright Brothers!

Our experiments are designed for children from 6 to 12, but this list of experiments is particularly perfect for year 5, P6 (Scotland) and 9-year-olds and 10-year-olds as they tie in with the relevant National Curriculum objectives and topics.

The reading comprehensions included here were designed to be read at A3 size, so text may appear too small when printed at A4. They work really well on a tablet or monitor, or you may need to print them on two pages of A4 if your printer allows.

If you have any comments or questions about our free year 5 science experiments and reading comprehensions, please leave a comment for us. Or do you have any science homeschool ideas or general home educating ideas for 9- and 10-year-olds? We’d love to hear from you!

Find loads more science activities, puzzles and games in our award-winning monthly kids science magazine, Whizz Pop Bang!


Water wheel lifter

Harness the power of water in this fun free science experiment using household items.

This activity is taken from Whizz Pop Bang’s Awesomely Amazing Science Club – download the entire pack here! 

You will need:
1 small plastic bottle
1 large yoghurt pot or plastic bottle cut in half
Duct tape
String
Paper clip
Bowl
Wooden spoon or pencil

Bonus activity: balloon rocket

Make a balloon fly across the room!

You will need:
A balloon
String
Two chairs
Measuring tape
A 5 cm piece of straw

Topic links: Year 5 Forces and magnets, P6 Forces


Interview with astronaut Tim Peake reading comprehension

This interview delves into what it is really like to travel in space. Tim Peake describes what it feels like to take off in a rocket and to feel weightless, as well as his scariest moments. A must-read for your aspiring astronauts. 

This downloadable reading pack includes: 
– An interview with Tim Peake for you to print or for your child to read on a tablet.
–  Reading comprehension question sheet and answer sheet.

Topic links: Year 5 Earth and Space, P6 Space


Paper stunt planes

Print and fold a paper stunt plane that should fly in a circle!

You will need:
Sticky tack

Year 5 Forces and magnets, P6 Forces


Paper straw flying machines

Experiment with making flying machines by adding different shapes to paper straws!

You will need:
Paper straws


Year 5 Forces and magnets, P6 Forces


The Wright Brothers reading comprehension

A biography text on the remarkable story of the team behind the world’s first powered flight. In December 1903 Wilbur piloted a plane with a petrol engine for 59 seconds and travelled 260 metres. The Wright brothers had unlocked the secret of mechanical flight!

This downloadable reading pack includes: 
– A feature about sensational scientists, The Wright Brothers, for you to print or for your child to read on a tablet.
–  Reading comprehension question sheet and answer sheet.

Topic links: Year 5 Forces and magnets, P6 Forces


Craft your own a solar system

Learn the order of the planets by making a model solar system. Just download, print, add scissors and glue, and your astronauts-in-training will do the rest. It’s out of this world! 

Topic links: Year 5 Earth and space, P6 Space


Are you home educating children in other year groups? Find more free resources here:
Free science activities for year 2 and P3
Free science activities for year 3 and P4
Free science activities for year 4 and P5
Free science activities for year 6 and P7

FREE science activities for year 6 and P7!

Now that schools are closed, have you become a home educator overnight? Whizz Pop Bang is the world’s most awesomely amazing kids’ science magazine, bursting with hands-on experiments, facts and fun, and we want to help you and your children with the huge transition that many of us face.

Here are some FREE science activities and experiments to help you entertain, excite and educate your year 6 child! Meet an electrical engineer, discover invisible germs in a bacteria investigation, read about the father of electricity, Michael Faraday, play two bacteria games and design a bridge!

Our experiments are designed for children from 6 to 12, but this list of experiments is particularly perfect for year 6, P7 (Scotland) and 10 year olds and 11 year olds as they tie in with the relevant National Curriculum objectives and topics.

Some of these activities, including all reading comprehensions, were originally designed as A3 magazine spreads, so text may appear too small when printed at A4. They work really well on a tablet or monitor, or you may need to print them on two pages of A4 if your printer allows. 

If you have any comments or questions about our free year x science experiments and reading comprehensions, please leave a comment for us. Or do you have any science homeschool ideas or general home educating ideas for 10 and 11 year olds? We’d love to hear from you!

Find loads more science activities, puzzles and games in our award-winning monthly kids science magazine, Whizz Pop Bang!


Interview with an electrical engineer reading comprehension

Building electrical circuits is loads of fun and Nikita Hari gets to do that every day, as she’s an electrical engineer. She explains why she become an electrical engineer, all the obstacles she overcame and gives advice to young scientists. 

This downloadable reading pack includes: 
– A reading spread about electrical engineer Nikita Hari for you to print or for your child to read on a tablet.
–  Reading comprehension question sheet and answer sheet.

Topic links: Year 6 Electricity, P7 Electricity


Mouldy bread bacteria experiment

Investigate and observe how much mould and bacteria develops when happens when slices of bread are rubbed with clean hands and dirty hands. Children can set up their own investigation and make sure it is a fair test. 

This experiment can be found here or downloaded below.  

Topic links: Year 6 Living things and habitats, P7 Body systems and cells


Interview with Michael Faraday reading comprehension

Discover why we would all be in the dark if it wasn’t for ‘Father of electricity’, Michael Faraday. Find out how he got a job in the Royal Institution as Humphrey Davy’s assistant and how his fascination for electromagnetism led to the invention of the world’s first electric motor and the dynamo.

This downloadable reading pack includes: 
– A reading spread about sensational scientist Michael Faraday for you to print or for your child to read on a tablet.
–  Reading comprehension question sheet and answer sheet.

Topic links: Year 6 Electricity, P7 Electricity


Bacteria invasion game

Play a fun printable game, complete with counters and tokens, that shows how bacteria can spread.

NB If you can’t print double sided, just print the first page of the file named ‘tokens-double-sided’

Topic links: Year 6 Living things and habitats, P7 Body systems and cells


Bacteria battle cards

A printable card game that pit several strains of bacteria head-to-head.

Bonus activity: extremophile puzzle!

Topic links: Year 6 Living things and habitats, P7 Body systems and cells


Design a bridge

Make a beam bridge and a suspension bridge, then design your own bridge with this engineering challenge.

You will need:
Lego
Coins
Two chairs or stools
Plastic pot
String or wool


Are you home educating children in other year groups? Find more free resources here:
Free science activities for year 2 and P3
Free science activities for year 3 and P4
Free science activities for year 4 and P5
Free science activities for year 5 and P6

FREE science activities for year 4 and P5!

Now that schools are closed, have you become a home educator overnight? Whizz Pop Bang is the world’s most awesomely amazing kids’ science magazine, bursting with hands-on experiments, facts and fun, and we want to help you and your children with the huge transition that many of us face.

Here are some FREE science activities and experiments to help you entertain, excite and educate your year 4 child! You’ll find a reading comprehension about toilets, discover how to make slime, meet an inspiring female scientist, discover how to make an erupting volcano and how to mummify a tomato!

Our experiments are designed for children from 6 to 12, but this list of experiments is particularly perfect for year 4, P5 (Scotland), 8-year-olds and 9-year-olds as they tie in with the relevant National Curriculum objectives and topics.

The reading comprehensions included here were designed to be read at A3 size, so text may appear too small when printed at A4. They work really well on a tablet or monitor, or you may need to print them on two pages of A4 if your printer allows.

If you have any comments or questions about our free year 4 science experiments and reading comprehensions, please leave a comment for us. Or do you have any science homeschool ideas or general home educating ideas for 8- and 9-year-olds? We’d love to hear from you!

Find loads more science activities, puzzles and games in our award-winning monthly kids science magazine, Whizz Pop Bang!

How toilets work reading comprehension

Toilets! We all use them but how many of us know how they work? Now you can find out what happens to your wee and poo when you flush the toilet. A diagram of a toilet is labelled with expanded captions, including key vocabulary such as dual flush, cistern, valve, float, s-bend and inlet valve. 

This downloadable reading pack includes: 
– A reading spread about toilets for you to print or for your child to read on a tablet.
–  Reading comprehension question sheet and answer sheet.

Topic links: Year 4 Animals including humans, P5 Body system and cells


Make gloopy slime

Your slime-obsessed year 4 and P5 child will love this gooey activity! They will make their own slime, then decide if it is a solid or a liquid. This oobleck is guaranteed to provoke a lot of scientific discussion about changing states, reversible and irreversible changes, non-Newtonian fluids and more. It’s not as straightforward as it seems! 

You will need:
Cornflour
Water
Mixing bowl
Food colouring (optional)

Bonus activity: spot the difference puzzle

Topic links: Year 4 States of matter, P5 Properties and uses of substances.


Interview with an explosions expert reading comprehension

Meet chemistry professor, explosions expert and science communicator, Kate Biberdorf and find out why she blows up things to inspire her students!

This downloadable reading pack includes: 
– A reading spread about Kate Biberdorf for you to print or for your child to read on a tablet.
–  Reading comprehension question sheet and answer sheet.

Topic links: Year 4 States of matter, P5 properties and uses of substances.


Make your own volcano

Print a paper volcano, then use kitchen chemistry to make it erupt!

You will need:
A small container (e.g. a spice jar)
Bicarbonate of soda or baking powder
Vinegar
Red food colouring
Yellow food colouring
Washing-up liquid or soap
A tray or outside space

Bonus activity: fireworks on a plate

This activity is taken from Whizz Pop Bang’s Awesomely Amazing Science Club – download the entire pack here!


Lava experiment

Discover the difference between viscous and runny magma in this gloopy volcano activity!

You will need:
Golden syrup, honey or other viscous liquid
Two paper straws per child
Safety goggles (or sunglasses!)

Bonus activity: move water with fire

This activity is taken from Whizz Pop Bang’s Awesomely Amazing Science Club – download the entire pack here!


Mummify a tomato

Anything that was once alive can be mummified! Create the conditions used by Ancient Egyptians to mummify a tomato.

You will need:
Two tomatoes
Antiseptic liquid or handwash
Kitchen paper
Bicarbonate of soda
Salt
Two small jam jars or glasses, slightly bigger than your tomatoes
Toilet tissue (optional)


Are you home educating children in other year groups? Then you might find these posts helpful:
Free science activities for year 2 and P3
Free science activities for year 3 and P4
Free science activities for year 5 and P6
Free science activities for year 6 and P7

FREE science activities for year 3 and P4!

Now that schools are closed, have you become a home educator overnight? Whizz Pop Bang is the world’s most awesomely amazing kids’ science magazine, bursting with hands-on experiments, facts and fun, and we want to help you and your children with the huge transition that many of us face.

Here are some FREE science activities and experiments to help you entertain, excite and educate your year 3 child! Meet an orthopaedic vet, be inspired by an amazing female scientist, do a walking water experiment, investigate air pressure and surface tension and make bendy bones!

Our experiments are designed for children from 6 to 12, but this list of experiments is particularly perfect for year 3, P4 (Scotland), 7-year-olds and 8-year-olds as they tie in with the relevant National Curriculum objectives and topics.

The reading comprehensions included here were designed to be read at A3 size, so text may appear too small when printed at A4. They work really well on a tablet or monitor, or you may need to print them on two pages of A4 if your printer allows.

If you have any comments or questions about our free year 3 science experiments and reading comprehensions, please leave a comment for us. Or do you have any science homeschool ideas or general home educating ideas for 7- and 8-year-olds? We’d love to hear from you!

Find loads more science activities, puzzles and games in our award-winning monthly kids science magazine, Whizz Pop Bang!


Interview with an orthopaedic vet reading comprehension

This is a great one for animal lovers! An interview with Toby Gemmill, whose job is to put broken pets back together after an accident. He explains how long bones take to mend, describes the trickiest operation he’s performed and gives some top tips on how to become a vet. Small snippets of text ideal for reluctant readers. 

This downloadable reading pack includes: 
– An interview with Toby Gemmill for you to print or for your child to read on a tablet.
–  Reading comprehension question sheet and answer sheet.

Topic links: Year 2 Animals including humans


Agnes Arber reading comprehension

Read about sensational scientist Agnes Arber, whose career as a plant scientist started when she was just 13! Her dedication to botany helped the world to realise the amazing talent of women in science.

This downloadable reading pack includes: 
– A feature about Agnes Arber for you to print or for your child to read on a tablet.
–  Reading comprehension question sheet and answer sheet.

Topic links: Year 3 Plants and P3 Biodiversity and interdependence


Walking water activity

Ask your child if they think water can ‘walk’? Set up a nifty experiment together to prove that it actually can move and discover how plants transport water using capillary action.

You will need:
Water
Kitchen towels
Food colouring

Bonus activity: upside-down glass experiment

Investigate surface tension and air pressure while learning a neat trick: how to turn a glass of water upside down without spilling a drop!

Topic links: Year 3 Plants and P4 Biodiversity and interdependence


Make a bendy backbone

Discover how the backbone is able to bend, even though it’s made of rigid elements, by creating a model backbone from vertebrae and cartilage!

You will need:
A 5 cm paperclip
A drinking straw
Scissors
A ruler
Sticky tack or Plasticine

Bonus activity: bendy bones experiment

Discover what happens when bones don’t contain enough calcium in this intriguing experiment.

You will need:
2 chicken bones (legs are ideal)
Jar with a lid (large enough to hold one bone with space at the top)
Vinegar
Cling film

Topic links: Year 3 Animals including humans and P4 Biological systems.


Are you home educating children in other year groups? Then you might find these posts helpful:
Free science activities for year 2 and P3
Free science activities for year 4 and P5
Free science activities for year 5 and P6
Free science activities for year 6 and P7

How to make home educating work: tips from the experts


Are you wondering how on earth to manage home education now that schools are closing? We want to help you to bring science to life on your kitchen table! We’re working hard on making loads of resources available for FREE, and will post a link here very soon.

Whizz Pop Bang’s Awesomely Amazing Science Club is available right now – it’s packed with simple, fun, home science ideas using household objects and is FREE to download! It’s designed for school science clubs and youth groups, but works brilliantly for home school too!

Keep reading to find out how our experts make home educating work…


If you’re stuck at home and trying to home-educate your children for the first time, it will probably come as a culture shock to both you and your kids.

That was certainly the case for our editor Tammy. Tammy had a picture in her head of how home-schooling would be – a structured daily routine with children sitting neatly at the kitchen table, completing the work she’d set them, whilst she herself was working away on her laptop beside them. Needless to say, it didn’t work out that way! It didn’t help that Tammy had builders in repairing her roof that week, resulting in a ceiling collapsing! The whole family was in tears before the first morning was out.

So, we thought we’d ask for some advice from our lovely home-educating Whizz Pop Bang readers and gather some top tips for any other home-schooling newbies out there. We hope you find them useful…

1. Learn through everyday activities
Don’t underestimate the amount of learning there is in just being. As you chat, children will learn from the language you use. Look at the clock and notice which hands move faster. Get busy in the kitchen – cooking is an exciting new subject when children reach secondary school but can be done from a very young age at home and includes lots of learning potential of the maths of weights, measures, volumes and ratios, and also the science of chemistry and reactions. Do the laundry and feed animals together, and discuss what you’re doing. It’s all useful learning.

2. You don’t need to sit at the kitchen table for hours
Practically none of the school day is 1-on-1 attention. Lots of it is crowd management, such as dealing with undesirable behaviour, changing for PE, queuing to leave the classroom, going to assemblies, etc. If you manage four half hour 1-on-1 bursts, that’s probably more than they do in primary school, so don’t stress. You really don’t need to sit them down at a desk for hours on end.

3. Let them build their own schedule 
In school all children follow the whole class timetable. Take this rare opportunity to let them set one or two things they would like to achieve for themselves in their day (tidy a shelf, read something, make something). And then see how they scheduled their day to achieve it. Failing is a useful learning experience. Was it too ambitious or did it need better time management?

4. Try not asking them to do anything
Just leave interesting, educational things about and wait for your child to be inspired to want to learn more about something that interests them. Instead of setting work that you choose for them, experiment with exploring something that they find interesting that day, whether that’s a ladybird they’ve found on the windowsill or something they saw on TV that morning, and ask them to investigate that some more. They can find information from the internet, books or magazines and create a project by drawing, clay modelling, writing, acting or however they want to present their findings.

5. Go easy on yourselves
It’s going to take time to find a system that works for you and your kids. It’s a big change from all the rules and routines at school so your children will need lots of time to adapt. Try to ease yourselves into a style that works for you and your family. You might find it easier to wait a few days until they get bored of having nothing to do and are feeling more receptive to learning. Whatever you do, go easy on yourselves. Avoid setting yourselves up for failure. Go with the flow and remember not to worry if you feel you haven’t achieved anything that day – there’s learning in just playing in the garden!

After their disastrous first morning, our editor Tammy’s 8-year-old son said, “It’s a bit like the first pancake that never works very well.” And we think that’s a lovely philosophy that can get you through almost any less-than-ideal start. Keep flipping pancakes and you’ll soon be rewarded with success!

Here are some more tips for juggling home-schooling with home-working  and you’ll find lots of really useful home-educating resources here

If you’re looking for a more structured approach, Whizz Pop Bang’s in-house teacher recommends getting some CGP books. Simply select your child’s year group and perhaps start with a maths, a reading and a SPAG book.

These free websites are also worth exploring:
Primary Resources
ICT Games
BBC Bitesize

Finally, the home educating community would like to point out that self-isolating is not how they normally do things! They play in the park, in the woods, at the beach, have other home ed kids over, and go to all kinds of clubs and activities. Being cooped up in the house is hard for them too.

And at the end of the day, if all else fails, take heart in the proposed schedule that’s currently doing the rounds on social media…

FREE science activities for year 2 and P3!

Now that schools are closed, have you become a home educator overnight? Whizz Pop Bang is the world’s most awesomely amazing kids’ science magazine, bursting with hands-on experiments, facts and fun, and we want to help you and your children with the huge transition that many of us face.

Here are some FREE science activities and experiments to help you entertain, excite and educate your year 2 child! You’ll find reading comprehensions about harvest mice and crabs, find out how to grow a grass head pet while learning about seed germination, discover how to make plastic from milk and create a working wind turbine!

Our experiments are designed for children from 6 to 12, but this list of experiments is particularly perfect for year 2, P3 (Scotland) and 6-year-olds and 7-year-olds as they tie in with the relevant National Curriculum objectives and topics.

The reading comprehensions included here were designed to be read at A3 size, so text may appear too small when printed at A4. They work really well on a tablet or monitor, or you may need to print them on two pages of A4 if your printer allows. 

If you have any comments or questions about our free year 2 science experiments and reading comprehensions, please leave a comment for us. Or do you have any science homeschool ideas or general home educating ideas for 6- and 7-year-olds? We’d love to hear from you!

Find loads more science activities, puzzles and games in our award-winning monthly kids science magazine, Whizz Pop Bang!

Harvest mice reading comprehension

Read all about the smallest rodent in Europe, the tiny harvest mouse!
Find out how they are related to other rodents, how much they weigh, what they use their tails for, how they protect themselves from predators, where they build their nests and what their babies are called. 

This downloadable reading pack includes: 
– A reading spread about harvest mice for you to print or for your child to read on a tablet.
–  Reading comprehension question sheet and answer sheet

Topic links: Year 2 living things and habitats, P3 Biodiversity and interdependence


Seed germination: grow your own plant pet!

Grow grass pets to learn about what seeds need in order to grow.  Design and make your own grass head pets, then discover what plants need in order to grow!

You will need:
Soil or compost
2 tbsp. grass seed
Old nylon tights
Plant pot or bowl
Elastic bands
Googly eyes, felt or beads
Needle and thread or glue

Bonus activity: how to walk like a cat!

Find out what’s special about how cats walk.

Topic links: Year 2 plants and P3 biodiversity and interdependence


Make your own plastic

Explore making plastic from milk (casein plastic) in this fun free science experiment using household items.

You will need:
Milk
White wine vinegar
A sieve
Paper towels

Bonus activity: Try out a leak-proof bag

These activities are taken from Whizz Pop Bang’s Awesomely Amazing Science Club – download the entire pack here!

Topic links: Year 2 Materials and P3 Properties and uses of substances


Crabs reading comprehension

Read about the ultimate recyclers of the seas, crabs! Discover why these cool crustaceans have an exoskeleton, how they walk and more!

This downloadable reading pack includes: 
– A reading spread about crabs for you to print or for your child to read on a tablet.
–  Reading comprehension question sheet and answer sheet.

Topic links: Year 2 living things and habitats, P3 Biodiversity and interdependence

Make a wind turbine

Print, cut and craft a working wind turbine!

You will need:
Printable template (below)
A paper straw
A wooden skewer
A stapler and staples
A few beads that are large enough to thread onto the skewer
Sticky tack

Bonus activity: upside-down glass experiment

This activity is taken from Whizz Pop Bang’s Awesomely Amazing Science Club – download the entire pack here!


Are you home educating children in other year groups? Then you might find these posts helpful:
Free science activities for year 3 and P4
Free science activities for year 4 and P5
Free science activities for year 5 and P6
Free science activities for year 6 and P7

There is something we can do: wash our hands!

The speedy spread of COVID-19 around the globe has left many of us feeling out of control and helpless, so we asked Dr Naomi Thompson, Consultant Microbiologist for the NHS, what can we do about this coronavirus crisis?

“Washing your hands is the best way we can all help prevent the spread of infections, including coronavirus.

Wash all parts of the hand, including under fingernails, for 20 seconds – the time taken to sing happy birthday twice, or sing this song to the tune of ‘Row, row, row your boat’ twice instead:

Wash, wash, wash your hands,
Thumbs and fingers too,
Rinse and then make sure they’re dry,
That’s the thing to do!”

Here’s a fun experiment you can try at home to demonstrate the effectiveness of washing our hands well!

Naomi and her team are currently extremely busy keeping COVID-19 testing running at Chesterfield Royal Hospital. Thank you all for your hard work!

But why is plain old soap and water such a powerful tool against the spread of coronaviruses? Professor Pall Thordarson explains in The Guardian:

“The short story: because the virus is a self-assembled nanoparticle in which the weakest link is the lipid (fatty) bilayer. Soap dissolves the fat membrane and the virus falls apart like a house of cards and dies – or rather, we should say it becomes inactive as viruses aren’t really alive.”

Find out more in The science of soap – here’s how it kills the coronavirus by Pall Thordarson in The Guardian.

It’s crucial that we all follow the latest government advice about self-isolation – please click here to find up-to-date information.

Are your children feeling anxious about coronavirus (COVID-19)? Read anxiety-busting advice from childhood mental health specialist, Dr Naira Wilson, here.

Dr Naomi Thompson is a Consultant Microbiologist at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

Professor Pall Thordarson is a professor of chemistry at the University of New South Wales, Sydney.

Invisible germs experiment

Looking for a fun home science experiment that demonstrates why it’s important to wash your hands? This free science activity is brilliant! You just need three slices of bread, some grubby hands (soon to be washed!), a bar of soap, some sealable plastic bags and some spare time…

The most obvious germs you’ll grow are mould and bacteria. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, not a bacterium, but this is a great demonstration of how a simple bar of soap can get rid of any nasties lurking on our skin. One to do with the kids while we’re all busy washing our hands as well as we can!

Find out how this simple step can fight the new coronavirus disease.

Are your children anxious about the spread of COVID-19? Here are some tips from childhood mental health expert, Dr Naira Wilson, on how to talk to your children about coronavirus.

You will need:
A bag of sliced bread
3 sealable plastic bags
A permanent marker pen
Soap and a nail brush
Clean tongs (optional)

What you do:
1. Label the three bags ‘control’, ‘clean hands’ and ‘dirty hands’.
2. Transfer a slice of bread into the ‘control’ bag without touching it with your hands and seal.
3. Take another slice out and rub your hands all over it, then put it in the ‘dirty hands’ bag and seal.
4. Wash your hands really well using warm water, soap and a nail brush.
5. Take out a third slice of bread and rub your hands on it, then seal it in the ‘clean hands’ bag.
6. Place the three bags somewhere warm and check them every day.

You should find:
After 5-7 days, colonies of bacteria and mould will be visible on the bread. This should happen sooner in the ‘dirty hands’ bag, as you transferred more mould spores and bacterial cells onto the bread. The control bag allows you to compare your experiment with bread that hasn’t been touched at all.

Throw away the bags without opening them, as some of this bacteria could be nasty.

What do your slices of bread look like after 5-7 days?

This is a fantastic science activity that demonstrates the power of a bar of soap. Hand-washing is so important in fighting the spread of the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19.

Find loads more activities all about bacteria in Bug-tastic Bacteria!

Did you know that your body contains more bacterial cells than human cells?!
There’s a whole world of microbial wonders to discover inside this bug-tastic edition of Whizz Pop Bang – Make crazy bacteria squishies, read about how antibiotics were discovered, pull out and play bacteria trump cards, cultivate edible bacteria by fermenting your own yoghurt and view the effects of hand-washing in an invisible germ experiment!