Watch a surgical robot peeling a grape

Robot surgeons allow surgeons to perform complex operations with more precision. A real surgeon operates the robotic arms from a console.

Want to know more about the robo-revolution? Whizz Pop Bang: Robots Rock is available in our shop now!


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Watch a cheetah robot in action!

The gymnast of the robot world, MIT’s mini cheetah robot can execute a perfect 360° backflip! It can also walk the right way up or upside down and tackle bumpy terrain twice as fast as the average person’s walking speed.

Watch it in action here:

Want to know more about the robo-revolution? Whizz Pop Bang: Robots Rock is available in our shop now!


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Watch a robotic fish swim!

SoFi is a soft robotic fish that can swim around coral reefs, taking close-up videos of the real fish without disturbing them as a human diver would.

Watch SoFi swim here:

Want to know more about the robo-revolution? Whizz Pop Bang: Robots Rock is available in our shop now!


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WIN a family ticket to Just So festival!

One extremely lucky Whizz Pop Bang fan will win a family ticket (for two adults and two children) to the amazingly brilliant Just So festival this August!

Get set for an imaginative outdoor adventure when you head to Just So Festival! Families can step out of their day-to-day lives and into a wonderland of stories, science and creativity and experience a magical weekend of mischief and mayhem.

Photo: Samuel Mills Photography

Find out more at justsofestival.org.uk, where the line up has been announced! Find a celestial celebration of the planets in The Observatory, live bands and dance workshops on the Footlights Stage, stories galore in the Spellbound Forest, and so much enchanted adventure throughout the site. There’s something for every member of the family, from bumps to great grandparents.

Photo: Teneight

Just answer this question in the comments to be in with a chance of winning:

Which planet has moons called Phobos and Deimos?

A. Mercury
B. Saturn
C. Mars

Terms and Conditions:
The prize is one family weekend ticket (up to 2 adults and 2 children) to Just So Festival 2021 (Rode Hall, Cheshire, 20/21/22 August 2021, Rode Hall, Cheshire). Additional child tickets can be purchased on the Just So website. Under 3’s are free but need to book a free ticket on the Just So website. Prize includes festival entry and camping on Friday 21st, Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd August 2021. The winner must provide their own camping gear or book boutique camping separately – this is not included in prize. Travel to and from the festival is not included. Food and drink are not included. The prize is non-refundable, non-transferable, non-exchangeable and no cash alternative offered. Click here for full Whizz Pop Bang terms and conditions. This competition closes on Wednesday 16th June 2021.


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Win an Ohbot robot for your school!

Become a robotics engineer and a master coder with the amazing Ohbot – the 20 cm tall robot head that can be programmed to move, blink, look around, speak and more.

Connect Ohbot to a computer then use programming software, including Scratch and Python, to make it do whatever you like (almost!)

Ohbot robots are a fantastic addition to any classroom and a brilliant way for children to learn about both block and text-based programming.

The lovely people at Ohbot have given us TWO Ohbot 2.1 robots (assembled or in kit form) to give away to two deserving teachers! Find out how to enter below…

(By the way, the other little robot in the video is Picoh and we’re giving away three of those, too! Find out how to enter in Whizz Pop Bang: Robots Rock.)

To enter the competition, nominate a teacher or school that has gone above and beyond during the pandemic in the comments.

This competition closes at midnight on 30th June 2021. For full terms and conditions visit whizzpopbang.com/terms Each winner will be offered the choice of an assembled Ohbot 2.1, or an Ohbot 2.1 kit.

Find out everything you need to know about Ohbot and Picoh here!


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Learn to love nettles!

Nettles are know mainly for one thing, and it doesn’t make them too popular: their stings! In fact, these much-maligned plants play an important role in our natural world.

Image: Shutterstock

They provide a home for insect species, including butterflies and moths, and are a safe place to live as many grazing animals avoid eating them (for one obvious and painful reason!) Over winter, they are a good habitat for aphids, providing an early food source for ladybirds and blue tits. Later in the year, they produce large amounts of seeds which are very useful for seed-eating birds.

They’re also a great source of nutrients for humans, and spring is a great time to go and harvest some nettles. Just remember to wear gloves and pick away from busy roads and above the height of a cocked dog’s leg 😉

Nettle bread
Nettle crisps

Nettle scones

PLUS you can find a recipe for tasty nettle soup in Whizz Pop Bang: ROCK ON!

Did you know that rocks can morph from one type to another? It’s all happening right under your feet! In this rocking edition of Whizz Pop Bang, get busy cooking up a chocolate rock cycle, making your own fossils, starting a rock collection, and cutting out and making a twisty rock cycler toy!

You can also find out about mountain goats, make nettle soup and meet space geologist Katie Joy, who studies rocks from the Moon! Find how pneumatic drills can smash up almost anything, discover ten awesomely amazing rocks with superpowers, meet James Hutton, the first person to realise how the rock cycle works, and chip away at the mystery of the walking stones of Death Valley! Rock on!


Let us know if you give nettles a try! Find out more here


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Ofsted science review: Textbooks for primary science?

Ofsted has just published a new research review into science. This is a huge document that takes a lot of digesting! To help you to navigate it, we’re planning to take a closer look at some of the key points for primary school teachers over the coming weeks. Firstly, let’s look at what Ofsted says about curriculum materials, including the use of textbooks:

There is evidence that some textbooks in England have become narrowly linked to examinations [footnote 134] and can be a source of misconceptions.[footnote 135] However, high-quality science textbooks fulfil several valuable roles in supporting pupils’ learning.[footnote 136] For example, they can give clear delineation of content with a precise focus on key concepts and knowledge.”

Firstly, we must remember that Ofsted’s science review is not just for primary but also up to KS5. As a primary teacher with over 20 years of experience, I cannot imagine using textbooks effectively with any year group in a primary classroom. It takes me back to my own primary school experience, where the dusty, outdated books were pulled out and I was told to turn to page 96 and that was the only teacher interaction for the entire lesson! This is not what Ofsted is suggesting. At the heart of this is the need for good quality science texts and resources that are accurate and don’t contain misconceptions.

The good news…

This is almost permission to ask your senior leaders for money to spend on good quality science-related texts. The first step should be to check what resources you already have. Make sure that you don’t have any outdated science books lurking in the school library. Then check each classroom has access to the relevant science texts for their year group. This will show any gaps.

Magazines are a great source of information. Whizz Pop bang is a monthly magazine which has a team of expert science writers. These are listed at the front of each magazine.

This means everything that is published is scientifically accurate, up-to-date and is written for children to understand in a fun and engaging way. There is new content every month, so it’s never outdated.

An example feature page from issue 70 ‘Terrific Teeth’

Each magazine features an interview with a scientist, an explanation text, instructions to make something eco-friendly, a non-chronological report on an animal and a historical biography of a scientist, explaining how they made a new scientific discovery. In the research review, Ofsted states that pupils should know about how science has helped in the past:

As pupils learn science, they also learn about its uses and significance to society and their own lives.[footnote 7] This will highlight the significant contribution science has made in the past. For example, by eradicating smallpox and discovering penicillin.”

If you subscribe to the school resources, you will get access to a huge back catalogue of these texts as PDFs in our reading comprehension packs. They have been grouped by year group to ensure progression.

If you are worried that the magazines will get spoiled easily and won’t last long, please read this blog post by That Science Lady.


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Teaching teeth in year 4

Are you looking for planning resources for teaching teeth in year 4? Here’s how you can use our new downloadable teeth teaching resources to easily create memorable lessons that produce the sticky knowledge that Ofsted will be looking for…

Where to start?

Teeth should be taught before the digestive system. By year 4, most children will have lost several of their baby teeth and will be at the in-between stage with a mixture of adult teeth, baby teeth and some gaps. It’s fun to get pupils to look in a mirror and examine their own mouths! Children will already know that they have two sets of teeth. What they probably don’t know is that their adult teeth started growing while they were still a baby! They probably also don’t know how many teeth they have, what they are called and what they are used for. Our Model Mouth Lesson Pack answers all of these questions. It has been written by an experienced primary school teacher and is ideal for teaching teeth to year 4 pupils. The downloadable pack includes:

  • A teeth lesson plan
  • A PowerPoint presentation
  • Instructions for making a model mouth
  • A printable Wibble Wobble tooth game
Model Mouth lesson pack

Why build a 3D model mouth rather than asking children to label
a worksheet?

All pupils learn differently, and to create sticky knowledge children need memorable experiences. The visual and kinaesthetic learners are more likely to remember making a 3D model mouth than filling in a worksheet. They will physically make 32 teeth and mould each tooth into the correct shape. Once the models are complete, you can discuss how we keep teeth healthy. Pupils could even practise brushing their model teeth

How to evidence the lesson

If your planning isn’t enough evidence, pupils could use the Keynote app on an iPad to record themselves describing their model mouth and each tooth’s name and function. If you need evidence in their books, you could print a photo of the model and during morning work the next day, pupils could label and annotate it. This would mean that they go back over their learning from the day before, helping the knowledge to stick. Our Wibble Wobble board game is also a good way for children to revisit the subject. Knowledge organisers can be an additional tool to help remind children of previous learning, or to use as a scaffold – not for answers!

A3 vocabulary poster and Knowledge organiser

What to cover next

Pupils should then research other animals, both herbivores and carnivores, that have teeth. What similarities and differences do they notice? Do all the animals have the same number of teeth? Do they all have molars, canines and incisors? Are they called something different? Why don’t some animals have teeth? Once children start researching, they will hopefully come up with lots of questions they would like to find out the answers to. Our downloadable Animal Antics text on vipers is a good place to start.

A non-chronological report on vipers

Further investigations

We also have another year 4 downloadable lesson plan on teeth, which is an observation over time enquiry. Pupils will set up an investigation to observe eggshells in different liquids. Eggshells and teeth are both made of calcium-based compounds so this is a good visual demonstration of how some drinks can cause damage to our teeth. Our lesson plans always explain the science behind the lessons – teachers can’t remember everything!

Dissolving teeth lesson pack

How to make teeth cross-curricular

Making the model mouth links to art and sculpture. There are also lots of ways to embed the pupil’s science learning in your school day. Using science texts in guided reading or whole class reading sessions is an easy way for children to delve further into the subject matter and acquire more knowledge. We have three reading comprehension packs for year 4:

We also have a bank of spectacular science images that are perfect for promoting discussion. They feature a striking scientific image, along with a couple of questions. As you click through the PowerPoint presentation, the answers to the questions will be revealed. Pupils should try to answer the questions as you go. The presentation to use for teeth is called ‘Smile crocodile’. It only takes ten minutes so it can slot into those awkward times in the school day – for example, straight after lunch while you are waiting for everyone to come in.

Spectacular science image

Whizz Pop Bang magazine and teaching resources are brilliant ways to enhance your school’s science teaching:

  • We provide downloadable science lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, memorable lessons and science reading comprehensions written by primary school teachers.
  • Whizz Pop Bang teaching resources link to the National Curriculum, ensuring correct coverage.
  • All of our resources are year group specific, ensuring progression between the years.
  • We make cross-curricular links to other subjects, such as English, Maths, History, Geography, Art, Design and Technology and PSHE.

Prices from as little as £190 per year for a copy of Whizz Pop Bang magazine through the post each month and whole-school access to our ever-growing library of downloadable teaching resources, with unlimited teacher logins.

We’ve also just launched a new individual membership option so teachers and home educators can access all of our amazing downloadable resources for just £20 for the whole year

“Using Whizz Pop Bang school resources has enabled investigations to be an integral part of my science planning. I now have investigations and experiments throughout my planning rather than just at the end. The lessons are easy to resource and the pack has everything I need to teach the lesson so it saves me time as well!” Louise Hampson, Year 3 teacher 


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COMPETITION CLOSED: WIN Transformed by a Tusk – a graphic novel about narwals!

In Whizz Pop Bang: TERRIFIC TEETH, we interview a dentist who is also an expert on the narwhal tusk which he describes as “the coolest tooth on the planet!” He’s so intrigued by it that he based this brilliant graphic novel on this incredible tusk.

This gorgeously-illustrated tale tells the story of an Eco‐Hero who is called to the High Canadian Arctic to help the narwhals. Discover the Inuit Legend of the Narwhal, the effects of climate change and impacts of industrial development and the mystery of the narwhal’s legendary tusk.

Read an interview with Transformed by a Tusk co-author, dentist and marine mammal biologist, Dr Martin Nweeia, in Whizz Pop Bang: TERRIFIC TEETH – it’s available in our shop now!

We’ve got one copy of Transformed by a Tusk by Martin Nweeia and Pamela Peeters to give away to a lucky Whizz Pop Bang fan!

Just answer this question in the comments to be in with a chance of winning:

How many tusks does a male narwhal usually have?

A. 1
B. 2
C. 3

This competition closes at midnight on 31st May 2021. For full terms and conditions visit whizzpopbang.com/terms


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Win a robot!

Meet Picoh! Picoh is a smart little robot that can speak, look around and interact with you when you connect it to a computer. Its LED matrix eyes can blink and change shape. It can smile and frown and it has lights and sound in its shoulders. Whatever Picoh does is all up to your programming skill!

To be in with a chance of winning one of three Picohs from ohbot.co.uk, all you have to do is to code Picoh to tell a joke or say what you love about science! You could also code some actions if you like.

To create your program and see a virtual version of Picoh carrying out your commands, use a web browser such as Chrome and Edge (not Safari) to go to https://scratch.ohbot.co.uk. On the far left of the screen, click on the
Ohbot code section (at the bottom) and then drag and drop any commands you want to use. Don’t forget to put an event command at the beginning, e.g. ‘When space key pressed’. If you need some help, read our guide below. Once you’ve finished, click on ‘File’ and then select ‘Save to your computer’ to export your program. Email your Scratch file to win@whizzpopbang.com by 8th July 2021. The winning entries will be judged by the Ohbot team, and winners will be selected according to the skill of the coding as well as the funniness/ originality/ cuteness of Picoh’s speech!

How to program Picoh…

Scratch is a coding platform that’s ideal for beginners. It’s really easy to use – simply load https://scratch.ohbot.co.uk in a browser (not Safari) and then you simply drag command blocks from the left-hand panel and drop them into your Scratch coding project. The command blocks click together like the pieces of a jigsaw. The website https://scratch.ohbot.co.uk is all set up for you to start programming Picoh. 

To begin, you need to move an event block into your coding project. For example, you could choose ‘When green flag clicked’. This tells the computer to begin your program when someone clicks on the green flag icon.

The ‘Motion’ and ‘Looks’ sets of command blocks don’t work with Picoh. Instead, select the bespoke section of command blocks, called ‘Ohbot’ (at the bottom left of the screen). Choose one of these blocks and place it underneath your event block. Some of the blocks have dropdown menus that give you more options, for example you can choose to set Picoh’s top lip position to 10.

Run your program by clicking on the green flag icon (if that was the event block you chose) and see what happens to Picoh’s lip.

To make Picoh talk, select a ‘Speak’ command block and type in the words you would like Picoh to say. You can set Picoh’s lips to move automatically when it speaks by choosing the ‘Set lip to’ command and dragging the ‘lip’ command onto that block. You can also change Picoh’s eye shape and make Picoh’s head turn or nod. Play around with the command blocks to see what Picoh can do. You can even add in a comic pause by using a control command block to make Picoh wait for a set amount of time! Once you’re happy with your program, click on ‘File’ and then ‘Save to computer’ to export your program. Email your Scratch file to win@whizzpopbang.com by 8th July 2021.

If you need some more help, you can download the file below, which is a ready-built Scratch program for Picoh. Once you’ve downloaded the file, go to https://scratch.ohbot.co.uk and then upload the file into your project by clicking ‘File’ and then ‘Load from your computer’. Click the green flag icon to watch Picoh in action, then take a look at the blocks of code to see how it was coded. Notice how there are two threads of code (one over to the right of the page). You can alter the code so that Picoh speaks the words that you choose, and you can also change Picoh’s actions too if you like.

Happy coding and good luck with the competition!


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