Mask mess

To help stop the spread of Covid-19, face coverings are now required in many countries. However, this is coming at a cost to the environment; a recent study estimated that the world is using a staggering 129 billion disposable masks each month during the pandemic.

Environmental charity Greenpeace is urging people to instead choose reusable masks wherever possible. Throwaway masks contain plastics, which clog up habitats and pose a threat to animals and nature. The World Health Organisation recommends that the public should wear suitable cloth coverings that can be washed and re-worn.

Find out how to make reusable masks here

Read the latest science news in every issue of Whizz Pop Bang magazine!


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WIN three sensational science books!

Add a sprinkle of science to your child’s bookshelf this autumn with these three inspiring titles from Wren and Rook.

Launch yourself into the great unknown with Space Explorers by Libby Jackson. Marvel at 25 extraordinary true stories of humankind’s thrilling journey to the stars which have been brought to life by Léonard Dupon’s beautiful illustrations.

In An Engineer Like Me by Dr Shini Somara and illustrated by Nadja Sarell, Zara’s journey around the city sparks some serious curiosity: How do roller coasters do loop-the-loops? How do planes stay up? As she marvels about how they work, Zara learns about some of the brilliant engineers who have shaped the world around her. This inventive book is packed with engineering explanations and challenges get future scientists thinking.

A Climate in Chaos by Neal Layton tackles the huge issue of our warming planet by explaining what it is, what’s causing it and – most importantly – how we can all help to keep Planet Earth happy.

Want to win all three books for your family? We’ve got five bundles of three to give away to Whizz Pop Bang fans!

To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer this question in the comments:

Who was the first human in space?

A Buzz Aldrin
B Yuri Gagarin
C Sally Ride

Good luck!

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

Whizz Pop Bang is a top-quality, gender-neutral, advert-free science magazine for families everywhere. Each issue is packed with experiments, activities, amazing facts, puzzles, jokes, riddles and more. Find out more here!


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On the move cover

The secrets of stinging nettles: natural navigation with Tristan Gooley

The August edition of Whizz Pop Bang: ON THE MOVE is about amazing migrations and is packed with the science behind all sorts of incredible journeys made by animals and humans!

Inside, we chat to Tristan Gooley, a natural navigator who looks for nature’s clues and works out how they can help us to find our way. Learning more about this fascinating skill is a brilliant way to engage children with the natural word – keep reading to learn a nifty tricky you can teach them when you’re outdoors together.

We asked Tristan to explain a little about his unusual job:

“Every single plant, every single animal, even every single cloud is telling us something about what’s going on around us. I’m a nature detective, trying to solve each clue. I don’t look for specific things that are interesting or amazing: instead, I wonder what the signs around me can reveal. Sometimes it’s a plant showing me which way is north, or a stinging nettle telling me I’m near a town. It’s so much fun!”
Tristan Gooley in Whizz Pop Bang: ON THE MOVE

Tristan Gooley, Natural Navigator

If you’re wondering how to keep children entertained on a long walk or how to help your child connect with nature, here’s a tip from Tristan all about the secrets of stinging nettles:

If you teach children a trick that is related to their experience of the wild then you could grab their attention

Find an area with both stinging nettles and white dead-nettles:

White dead-nettle
Stinging nettle

Ask the children what the white dead-nettle is – they will probably guess ‘stinging nettle’. Most kids can identify this before any other wildflower, because it has a big impact on their experience of the outdoors!

Next, show how brave you are by running your hands up and down the white dead-nettle, then dare them to do the same. Once they realise that white dead-nettles are different to stinging nettles, they take an interest. They understand that the white flower is the important clue to which one stings, and that’s something worth remembering!

It also tends to stick as this is a great trick for showing it off to other kids!

Nature appreciation that leads to fewer stings AND the ability to show off? That’s a recipe for getting kids interested!

Find out more in this brilliant blog post about engaging children with nature. Want more tips like this? Head over to Tristan’s website to discover all sorts of intriguing ways to read nature’s clues – they’re guaranteed to liven up a long walk with children!

Read more about Tristan’s fascinating job in Whizz Pop Bang: ON THE MOVE – it’s in our shop now.

On the move cover

Whizz Pop Bang is a top-quality, gender-neutral, advert-free science magazine for families everywhere. Each issue is packed with experiments, activities, amazing facts, puzzles, jokes, riddles and more. Find out more here!


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Kit list for Whizz Pop Bang 61: ON THE MOVE

Find out about some of the most amazing animal migrations on Earth in the brand-new edition of Whizz Pop Bang: ON THE MOVE!

Come on an epic journey to investigate the science of migrations and travel. This issue, we’ll…
🐦 Build a welcoming bird bath
🧭 Make a compass in a jar
🌊 Investigate the impact of oil pollution
🐯 Learn how animal tracking devices work
🦜 Craft a brilliant balancing bird

Plus experiments, jokes, riddles, quizzes, competitions and more! Sign up by 4th August 2020 to receive this issue. 

Here’s a list of the extra bits you’ll need to complete every activity this month. As ever, there is loads of science fun to be had, even if you don’t have every single thing on the list. Let’s get going! 

Here’s a printable version of this month’s kit list 👇


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Whizz Pop Bang Coral Reef cover

Watch a Caribbean reef octopus change colour!

Want to watch an amazing octopus video? Using special skin cells called chromatophores, Caribbean reef octopuses can change colour at high speed to blend seamlessly into their coral home. This allows them to sneak up on prey and hide from predators.

See one in action here!

Discover more awesomely amazing coral reef residents in Whizz Pop Bang: REMARKABLE REEFS, available in our shop now!

Whizz Pop Bang Coral Reef cover

Whizz Pop Bang is a top-quality, gender-neutral, advert-free science magazine for families everywhere. Each issue is packed with experiments, activities, amazing facts, puzzles, jokes, riddles and more. Find out more here!


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Whizz Pop Bang Coral Reef cover

Make an edible coral polyp

Have you been reading about coral polyps in Whizz Pop Bang’s REMARKABLE REEFS edition?

This video shows how you can make your own edible polyp using banana, biscuits and sweets. Yum!

Find out more in REMARKABLE REEFS, available in our shop now!

This is great activity for schools teaching Animals, including humans and Living things and habitats at Key Stage 2. If you’re looking for science activities linked to coral reefs, give it a try!

Whizz Pop Bang is a top-quality, gender-neutral, advert-free science magazine for families everywhere. Each issue is packed with experiments, activities, amazing facts, puzzles, jokes, riddles and more. Find out more here!


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Returning to school during COVID-19: 6 easy ways to prepare your child

By Helly Douglas

September is almost here which can only mean one thing: it’s back to school time! But preparing for the new term is a little more complicated in 2020. As well as shelling out on school shoes and packing pencil cases, there’s also the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to consider.

The latest government advice states that “all pupils, in all year groups, will return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term”, so many of us are wondering how to prepare our children for going back to school during a worldwide pandemic.

It’s natural for us all, parents and children, to feel a range of emotions about the start of a new term during this unusual time. We might be excited about our children seeing their friends and returning to learning in the classroom, but also worried about health risks and changes to normal school life.

We asked childhood mental health expert Dr Naira Wilson for her advice on how to help your child feel ready to walk back through the school gates.

1: Talk about how school will be different

There’s a fine balance between preparing your child and depressing them with all the things they can’t do. Talk calmly and factually about what it will be like when they return. Changes are different, not bad. 

Naira suggests you can help your child be curious about the changes. “Let them wonder what things will be like rather than thinking it will be good or bad.” They can tell you whether their predictions came true after their first day.

Read school communications together and note important information. It’s okay to feel in the dark or not remember all the changes. This shows them that everyone is learning a new way of schooling – even the teachers.

2: Focus on what will stay the same

Whilst there will be plenty of changes, many things continue as usual. They will still complete activities and games, see their friends and be taught by a teacher. Reminding your child of the normal features of school will reassure them they are returning to a familiar place.

Naira recommends talking about how long it took for lockdown to feel familiar. “We all went through a process of adjusting to the change,” she explains. “Our bodies slowly get used to something new until we feel comfortable again. Going back to school is another change we will get used to.”

3: Help them talk about their feelings

Children don’t share feelings on demand. Look for opportunities to talk when they feel comfortable. This could be over a meal, at bedtime, cuddled up watching TV or when out walking. Listen to their worries, even if they seem insignificant. Minor things, like which toilets to use, can feel huge to them.

Guessing and wondering how they’re feeling are great ways to begin a conversation. Sometimes children can’t articulate their emotions. Be confident with your guesses. If you’re right, they will feel you understand them. If you’re wrong, they’ll want to explain why. It shows them that parents can misunderstand sometimes – and help you find out what the real problem is.

4: Be honest about what is happening

If children know why it’s important to socially distance and wash their hands, it’s easier to get them to do it. Talk factually about COVID-19, without focusing on the risks – we’ve got more great tips from Naira on how to tackle conversations around coronavirus here. If you don’t know the answer to a question, suggest you can find out together.

Whilst you’ll want to show that you’re positive about their return, you don’t need to pretend everything is normal. Naira says, “Parents need to be honest. They can say, ‘I’m worried too because I don’t know what’s going to happen.’ It’s normal to feel worried sometimes.” 

5: Involve them in preparing for school

Children enjoy helping to get things ready. Check your school’s latest guidance and make a list for them to tick off. Let them pack their bag (with your help) so they know where everything is when they’re at school. 

Naira suggests looking for ways to give them a sense of more control over the situation. Could they make a ‘how to’ help sheet for students who will return after them? Encourage them to see themselves as leading the way for other children.

Are you feeling anxious? Children are quick to pick up on our emotions. At school drop off, smile and be positive. Help them have a great start to their first day back. 

6: Stay calm and positive

“This isn’t a whole new approach to parenting,” Naira explains. “We are always preparing our children for change. Be confidently uncertain about not knowing all the details.”

Once your child has returned to school, you’ll be surprised how quickly they adapt. The strange changes will seem normal before long. However, if your child feels anxious about returning to school, discuss any issues with their teachers and see if they can help. If your child’s feelings don’t subside, or if they get worse, contact your GP to discuss your worries.

Whizz Pop Bang is a top-quality, gender-neutral, advert-free science magazine for families everywhere. Each issue is packed with experiments, activities, amazing facts, puzzles, jokes, riddles and more. Find out more here!

Dr Naira Wilson is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist who specialises in childhood mental health.


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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


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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


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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


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