Who won a Picoh robot from Ohbot?

In Whizz Pop Bang: Robots Rock, we ran a competition to win a Picoh robot from Ohbot, and we’re so excited to be able to announce the winners!

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!

Whizz Pop Bang readers were challenged to code Picoh to tell a joke or say what you love about science, and here are our winning entries! Each one wins their own programmable Picoh robot from ohbot.co.uk. Well done to Sophie, Toby and Ella – watch their winning wisecracks being told by Picoh in the videos below…

Joke by Sophie

How much does it cost a pirate to get his ears pierced?
A buck an ear!

Joke by Toby

What do you call a scientific dinosaur?
A testasaurus!

Joke by Ella

Why did the robot fail his exam?
Because he was a bit rusty!


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Celebrating International Friendship Day: Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage

Today is International Friendship Day and we’re celebrating a friendship that led to some super-important scientific developments!

Find out more in Whizz Pop Bang: CODING CAPERS

The amazing Ada Lovelace was born in London in 1815, and loved maths and poetry from a young age. When she was a teenager, she met a mathematician and inventor called Charles Babbage. Charles was fed up of doing long calculations by hand, so he invented a machine that could do sums for him. He called it the Difference Engine.
Ada was really interested in the Difference Engine. She was inspired to study maths harder than ever before, and she and Charles became good friends.

Charles later invented a machine, called the Analytical Engine, that could do ANY calculations by following a series of steps – but it was so complicated that he found it hard to explain to other people how it would work!

Ada came to the rescue. She was so good at maths that she understood the machine and was able to explain it to other people. Ada wrote a code that turned a real-life maths problem into a list of instructions that the machine could understand. This was the world’s first algorithm (computer code).

She and Charles made a great team! Sadly, Ada died before she could actually help Charles to get the machine made, but the discovery that machines could follow instructions led to the amazing computers that we all use so much today.

Find out more about this fantastic friendship and the science of coding in Whizz Pop Bang: CODING CAPERS!


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Team Whizz Pop Bang are going to Just So Festival!

It’s not long until the fantastic Just So Festival kicks off – it’s running at Rode Hall, Cheshire on 20th – 22nd August. It’s an incredible outdoor adventure for families from bumps to great grandparents, and Whizz Pop Bang are so excited to be a part of the fun that’s in store!

Photo: Teneight

The Whizz Pop Bang team will be popping in to run an out-of-this-world Mission to Mars workshop, where interplanetary explorers-in-training will get to explore one of our closest neighbours in space. Come along and look for signs of life, extract Martian core samples and experience the seven minutes of terror faced by spacecraft preparing to land on this fascinating planet!

Find out more about the festival at justsofestival.org.uk, where the line up has been announced! Discover 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!

Photo: Samuel Mills Photography

Whizz Pop Bang is an awesomely amazing monthly science magazine that brings science to life for children aged six to twelve (and their parents too)! There’s lab-loads of hands-on experiments, mind-boggling facts, puzzles, news and fun packed into each month’s magazine. Whizz Pop Bang sparks imaginations and inspires the scientists of the future from the moment it comes bursting through their letterbox. Subscribe today at whizzpopbang.com!

If you’re not lucky enough to be going to Just So Festival this year, but want to learn more about the red planet, you can pick up Whizz Pop Bang: MISSION TO MARS in our shop now!


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Teaching insects

Are you teaching the topic ‘Living things and habitats’ in Year 2?

As part of the sequence of lessons in your medium-term plan, you’ve probably arranged for your class to go on a hunt for some minibeasts. This is a really fun and engaging activity, but once the children find the bugs, can they tell you what they are? Do they know which minibeasts are insects?

Learning to identify insects

We have an excellent lesson plan that you can use before the children go on their bug hunt. It will help children learn how to identify insects from other creepy-crawlies, which is an important skill to learn in preparation for classifying animals in Year 4. The downloadable lesson pack includes a lesson plan that links to the National Curriculum and gives ideas for previous and future learning.

Insect lesson plan Year 2

The PowerPoint presentation explains how to identify an insect.

One slide from the PowerPoint presentation included in the lesson pack

Make sock insects!

Your class can then apply their newly acquired knowledge by making fun sock insects! This project requires no sewing, upcycles old socks and it’s perfect for both visual and kinesthetic learners. They each just need to make sure that their cuddly insect has three body parts (a head, thorax and abdomen), as well as six legs. They could also add wings and antennae if they like.

To help with the lesson, we have included detailed images of some insects. These clearly show the body parts to help children to identify the things they must include on their sock insect. To support your less able learners, we’ve included a visual set of instructions that can be followed with help from your teaching assistant.

To stretch your top scientists, there’s a spot-the-odd-one-out activity. A rogue creepy-crawly has found its way onto the page with the other insects. The challenge is to find the minibeast that isn’t an insect, and then use one of the insects as a model for their sock toy. It’s important that throughout the lesson you talk about how to identify whether a bug is an insect. By the end of the lesson, the children should be able to identify that an earwig is an insect, but a woodlouse or a spider is not.

Create an insect display

Once the children have made their sock insects, you could create a fabulous display of them in your classroom. If you would like pupils to revisit their learning, ask them to create labels for each part of the insect and then add those to the display, or alternatively take photographs and pop them in their science books for evidence of the lesson. Make sure you share your photos with us too! Use the hashtag @whizzpopbangmag or post them to our Teacher Facebook Group – join here

For your next lesson, the children can go out and find minibeasts, but unlike when they did this activity in Reception or Year 1, this time they will have the knowledge to identify the insects.

Make insect collectors

Here are some instructions on how to make pooters. You can use these to collect insects safely and humanely, observe them, and then release the insects back into their habitats. Download these instructions for FREE

Find out how to make pooters with your class

Guided reading

To help consolidate pupils’ learning, why not introduce some insect-themed reading into your English sessions? Download our fascinating reading comprehension about ants. Since it’s for Year 2, the text and questions have been differentiated for different abilities.

Year 2 Non-chronological report on ants

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, hands-on investigations 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 yearhttps://www.whizzpopbang.com/schools/#subscribe

“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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Beetle expert Darren Mann hunting for dung beetles

Meet a scientist who digs in poo to find dung beetles!

Darren Mann, Senior Collections Manager at Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Darren Mann is a dung beetle expert who looks after a huge collection of insects at Oxford University Museum of Natural History. You can read a full interview with him in Whizz Pop Bag: INCREDIBLE INSECTS!

Darren had so many brilliant stories to share that we couldn’t fit them all in the issue, so here’s some more from the man who digs in poo to find dung beetles…

“I’ve been obsessed with insects since I was at junior school.”

In my early teens, I joined the Amateur Entomologist’s Society and through their magazine I learnt lots of new things and that there were even more books on insects! Remember, this is before the internet existed. Through this group I bought a secondhand copy of A Coleopterists’ Handbook’ – an entire book on beetles, including how to find them, and this became my instruction manual for the next few years and what got me interested in beetles.

A dung beetle in some dung! Photo: Darren Mann

“The first time I went through the entire process of collecting, preserving, and identifying specimens on my own, I felt a real sense of achievement.”

I went out again, and again, and, well you get the picture. I spent hours searching dung, finding beetles, and because I did it so much, I got quite good at finding and identifying them. I became the Warwickshire county recorder for dung beetles and their allies and found some quite rare ones, including a few species not discovered in the county before. The excitement of getting a first county record has never worn off and it is always a privilege to be the first person to find something new.

“I’ve now worked at the Oxford Museum of Natural History for over 20 years”

My favourite space is the Westwood Room, named after the first professor of Zoology at Oxford – John O. Westwood. It has an open fireplace carved with a hawkmoth and stag beetle life cycle, hanging above is a portrait of the great beetle hunter, the Reverend Canon Fowler, and it housed the British Insect collection, including all the dung beetles.

“I’m currently working on a project moving over a million British insects into a new space”

One of the museum’s major projects, supported through The National Lottery Heritage Fund is HOPE for the Future which aims to move all the British insects out of the Westwood Room and into new storerooms in shiny new pest proof cabinets. The room will then be refurbished to accommodate teaching, workshops, exhibitions and maybe even some bug handling sessions. The first stage in any large project is applying for funding, you need money to employ people and buy stuff. We spent many hours working on the application, discussing logistics, costings, and delivery plans. With over a million British insects, we needed extra help. Training and working with volunteers is an important part of my role. For this project, there was a team of twelve volunteers, counting and cataloguing the insect collection – this took quite a long time due to the sheer number of insects involved.

Moving the beetle collection. Photo: Oxford University Museum of Natural History

“I dream of going dung beetling in medieval Britain!”

Many of our insects were collected by famous entomologists from places that I have also visited. It gives you a sense of connection to the Victorian bug hunters and sometimes a little beetle envy creeps in, as many of their old haunts have been lost or the species is now almost extinct in the UK. If there is ever a time machine built, I want to go dung beetling in medieval Britain, searching the dung of the extinct Aurochs and visit Deal sandhills with Commander JJ Walker before it was developed into a golf course. 

“I also give tours at the museum”

Another aspect of my job is public engagement, talking to people about the Museum and the collections, giving behind the scenes tours and hosting visitors and researchers. I can generally manage to slip in a dung beetle anecdote or two. I get requests for help with insect identification, sometimes a blurry photograph in an e-mail, sometimes a dead ‘thing’ in a jar left at the front desk. These can be challenging, but always fun and sometimes surprising. One person contacted me with a picture of a European rhinoceros beetle found in their garden moth trap. This 5cm long beetle was probably imported with plants from Italy to the local garden centre and flew a few hundred metres to their garden. If our climate gets warmer, one day it may become established like so many other introduced insects.

Beetle expert Darren Mann talks to Whizz Pop Bang science magazine about his love of insects and how he got his job as a collections manager at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Darren at work. Photo: Darren Mann

“If you want to become an entomologist, enthusiasm is so important.”

You could join clubs and societies that are relevant to your interests. It helps you meet with likeminded people, gives you access to a magazine and website full of the latest news and articles, and shows prospective employers that you are dedicated to your subject, especially if you have been a member for a long time.

I have read hundreds of application forms and interviewed lots of people. Those that make it to my short list are there because their interest and enthusiasm shines through. Applying for jobs can be quite nerve wracking but never over embellish your CV or exaggerate claims at interview. If you don’t know the answer, say so and then make an educated guess. You are more likely to earn respect by being honest and showing you can apply some lateral thinking or problem-solving skills. 

The Oxford University Museum of Natural History’s incredible insect collection is free to visit – find out more here!


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Watch a surgical robot peeling a grape

Robot surgeons allow surgeons to perform complex operations with more precision. 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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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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Take the flying paper challenge!

Looking for some simple science activities to keep children busy during the holidays? Here are three fantastic ways to make paper soar through the air.

Discover new twists on paper planes – just download, print, cut, fold and launch! Try out one design, or challenge your children to make all three and compare how they travel.

If you’re a teacher looking for ideas of primary science ideas, head this way to read about how to use these resources in the classroom and playground throughout primary school.

Make an air-powered rocket:
Whizz-Pop-Bang-air-powered-rocket-2-1


Make a stunt plane that flies in a circle!
https://www.whizzpopbang.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Whizz-Pop-Bang-Stunt-planes-1.pdf


Make straw planes
https://www.whizzpopbang.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Whizz-Pop-Bang-Stunt-planes-1.pdf


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 and flick through a space-themed issue here!


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