How to see the Perseid meteor shower

Image: Shutterstock

The Perseid meteor shower is a spectacle not to be missed as, if conditions are right, it’s a great opportunity to spot lots of bright meteors – 60 or more per hour!

In 2021, the Perseids are visible between 16 July – 23 August, but in 2021 the meteor shower reaches it peak on 11th/12th and 12th/13th August.

Here are some top tips for how to spot meteors:

☄️ Research the best time to spot the meteor shower – for the Perseids in 2021 in the UK, this is in the early hours of 12th and 13th August. The days leading up to these dates could also be good opportunities to see a good show.
☄️ Ideally, the sky should be dark. You’ll get a better view away from streetlights and when the Moon is not full. The Moon sets by 10pm in mid-August in the UK, so the sky will be darkest after that time.
☄️ Fill your view with the sky and wait! Lying on the ground is a great way to see as much as possible, or get comfy in a deckchair.
☄️ Give your eyes 15 minutes to get used to the dark
☄️ Check the weather forecast – a clear sky will give a better view.
☄️ Look low in the north-eastern sky to spot the Perseids, although they can appear anywhere in the sky.

Find out everything and more you need to know about the Perseid meteor shower in this brilliant blog post on the Royal Observatory’s website.

There’s lots more information about the Perseids on Astronomy Now, too.


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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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Celebrating scientists on International Women’s Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day on Monday 8th March, we’ve shared some stories of some inspirational scientists. You’ll find more fantastic free reading resources, as well as loads of home science activities and experiments, right here!

Are you a primary teacher looking for inspiring scientist role models? Keep scrolling to find reading comprehensions about these incredible women!

Find out which of these scientists are trained to travel to the Moon, who started their career aged 13 and who blows things up for a living!

Jessica Watkins, NASA Astronaut


Nikita Hari, Electrical Engineer


Agnes Arber, Plant Scientist


Kate Biberdorf, Explosions Engineer


Primary school reading comprehension packs with question and answer sheets:

Jessica Watkins, NASA Astronaut

Read about fully trained astronaut Jessica Watkins who hopes to soon be able to fly to the Moon as part of the Artemis missions to the Moon! Includes the feature to print or to read on a tablet, as well as comprehension question and answer sheets. Ideal for Year 5 / P6.


Nikita Hari, Electrical Engineer

Find out what it’s like to be an electrical engineering whizz with this inspirational interview with Nikita Hari. Includes the feature to print or to read on a tablet, as well as comprehension question and answer sheet. Ideal for Year 6 / P7

Agnes Arber, Plant Scientist

Read about sensational scientist Agnes Arber, whose career as a plant scientist started when she was just 13! Includes the feature to print or to read on a tablet, as well as comprehension question and answer sheets. Ideal for Year 3 / P4

Kate Biberdorf, Explosions Engineer

Find out why Kate Biberdorf loves to blow things up to inspire her students! Includes the feature to print or to read on a tablet, as well as comprehension question and answer sheets. Ideal for Year 4 / P3


If you think these could be useful in your classroom, you’ll love Whizz Pop Bang’s amazing science and reading resources for schools! Find out more here.

  • Resources linked to the science and reading curricula
  • A monthly magazine for broader understanding of key topics
  • Written by expert teachers and science writers
  • Gives teachers the confidence to deliver accurate science lessons
  • Lots of quick and easy hands-on experiments!

Find out more right here!


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COMPETITION CLOSED: WIN a Mars Colony kit!

A Build Your Own Mars Colony is an out-of-this-world way to keep astronauts-in-training busy while staying safe at home! This space-age set contains everything an interplanetary explorer needs to make a 20-piece Martian scene. Best of all? We’ve got three to give away!

Thank you to our friends at Laurence King Publishing for this super space-age prize!

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

What’s the name of the Mars rover due to touch down on Thursday 18th February?

Good luck!

This competition closes at midnight on 12th February 2021. Whizz Pop Bang competition terms and conditions are here.

Looking for ways to fill half term with science? Sign up midnight on 4th February to receive Whizz Pop Bang: MISSION TO MARS as the first issue of your subscription!


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Moon poem winners!

In Whizz Pop Bag 62: Zoom to the Moon, we asked readers to write a poem inspired by the Moon.

Image: Shutterstock

The fantastic entries were out of this world! It was so hard to pick just three winners, but we eventually settled on Amelie, aged 8, Isabella, aged 9 and Isa, aged 8. Keep scrolling to read their Moon poems.

Each prize-winning poet won a Geosafari Vega 360 telescope from Learning Resources.

My moon by Isa aged 8

Silver sparkles, a bright light
the moon shimmers every night
If only I could go and see
I wonder what there would be?

I lay in bed in my dark room
When all of a sudden, a loud sonic boom!
I looked outside and couldn’t believe my eyes
A rocket in my garden! What a surprise.

Off I went, zoom zoom zoom,
Before I knew it, I was on the moon!
Could this be real? I rubbed my eyes
Chocolate-filled craters and mountains of pies

What more could there be, I started to think
Some delicious moon nectar for me to drink
I leaned in close, to fill up my mug
When all of a sudden I felt a warm hug

Oh no I thought, who could it be?
An alien or monster? I just couldn’t see!
‘Wake up sleepy-head’, I heard her say
I guess I’ll have to finish my adventure some other day.


Who holds the moon? by Amelie aged 8

Neither closer nor further in the night sky
The alluring moon hangs there so high
Landscapes of craters, mountains and seas
Luminous, it’s beauty bathes the trees

Have you wondered what force holds it there
For all to see, to dream and stare
Is it a wire, a rope or some string
No, there must be some invisible thing

Magnetism, is that what it could be
The reason the moon can’t break free
I struggle and ponder to find the theory
Although it takes time, it’s never dreary

I ponder and think, I jump up and come down
This is beyond me I say with a frown
Who knows not I, let’s wait and see
Ahh, maybe it’s the force of gravity


A Day Trip to the Moon by Isabella, aged 9

Gakk, Riley and Emmi, decided to go to the moon!
Y tried to warn them, that it could all end in doom!
Riley told them all, they should build a rocket,
Ready for this moment, he pulled a blueprint from his pocket,
Emmi tried to think, what else they needed to bring?
Gakk ran off and returned, with spades and a rubber ring!
“What on earth is that for?” Y shouted with glee,
Gakk smiled and said loudly “We are going to the sea!”
Riley laughed and shouted “ There aren’t any seas on the moon!”
“Yes there is!”, Gakk replied “you’ll see very soon!”
Emmi say to Y “We are going to need a ride”
Y says “Don’t worry, I have my moon buggy outside!”
Everything was assembled, Emmi climbed onto the first stair,
Y then shouted suddenly “Wait!, we can’t go anywhere”
“We haven’t got any rocket fuel and no money to pay!”
Emmi said “Never mind, we can go another day!”


These runners up each won a wonderful Y’s Wonder Club badge!

All About the Moon by Ada, aged 9.

The moon is dusty and far away.
It can be seen at night and sometimes day.
Wolves howl at the moon,
Bats swoop past the moon.
Moths navigate by the light of the moon.
Astronauts have stood on the moon.
Dropping a hammer, dropping a feather.
Testing the gravity.
Checking the weather.
The moon is bright on a dark night,
But it’s just reflecting the sun’s light.
With all that said, I bet it’s true,
We still don’t know all about the moon.


Team Moon by Layton, aged 6

Man has walked on the Moon,
NASA is going back really soon,
I wish I could be part of their team,
Being an Astronaut is my dream.

I love to stargaze with my mum,
When we have said goodnight to the Sun,
The stars all twinkle really bright,
But nothing is better than the Moon at night.


The Moon by Anna, aged 10

The moon is a silver coin tossed up high,
Glinting always in the dark black sky.
Will it land on heads or tails?
Will the moon landings succeed or fail?

The moon is a diamond, clear and bright,
Sparkling and shining all through the night.
Always staying in that same place,
In the deep black mines of mysterious space.

The moon is a guardian circling forever,
It and the Earth have always been together.
The moon watches over all that we see,
It watches you and it watches me.

The moon is a shapeshifter, changing shape and size,
Each night something different appears before our eyes.
Changing shape like cards shuffling, King, Queen, Ace,
Full, quarter, crescent, new, all the way up in space.

But whatever the moon is, it’s there every night,
Silver and glowing, clear and bright.
The moon is with us until the end,
And that’s why I say that the  moon is my friend.


The Rhyming Moon by Louis, aged 6

Bright white
Night light
In space 
I see a face
Made of cheese, if you believe

Wolves howl a tune
At the silvery moon.
Hey! Would you like to play on the moon tonight?


The Moon by Elijah, aged 11 

Somewhere up in the clouds above,
Where no creature or human lies,
When the sun goes down and darkness thrives,
Look! It’s the moon! Standing bright and alive.
Where the stars eyes gaze onwards,
All those miles away,
up in the great black skies,
the moon is there,
to guide our way.
Always watching onwards,
Always one step ahead,
The moon sits,
Just waiting,
Waiting for the sun to go down,
For it is then that the moon can stand,
Bright and alive.


Moon Poem by Nicholas, aged 11

Moon, Moon glowing bright,
you are the queen of the night.
You shine from dusk till dawn,
but are faint when we wake in the morn.

Moon, Moon glowing bright,
you are the queen of the night.

Moon, Moon glowing bright,
centrepiece of our night.
Your cycles wax and wane,
you’re greater than the sun with its fiery mane.

Moon, Moon glowing bright,
centrepiece of our night.

Moon, Moon glowing bright,
you take the troubles from our night.
You shine within our darkest hour,
and give us your glory and power.

Moon, Moon glowing bright,
you take the troubles from our night.

Moon, Moon can you hear me?
You save ships tossed at sea,
you guide sailors who have lost their way
and when they’re safe they say:

Moon, Moon who gives us light,
our beaming saviour of this night.



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COMPETITION CLOSED: 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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Whizz Pop Bang: Sweet Dreams issue is all about the science of sleep

The dreams of astronaut Helen Sharman

Listen to Britain’s first ever astronaut, Helen Sharman, talking about dreaming in and about space!

This video animation, What do astronauts dream of?, was made by the Royal Institution as part of a fantastic series called A Place Called Space.

The RI say: “In 1991, Helen Sharman became the first Briton in space; in this animation she shares a dream she has about returning to space, and talks about what it’s like to gaze down on the earth from above.”

Find out more about the science of sleep in SWEET DREAMS – it’s in our shop now!

Whizz Pop Bang: Sweet Dreams issue is all about the science of sleep
Whizz Pop Bang: Sweet Dreams issue is all about the science of sleep

Did you know that you’ll spend up to a third of your life happily dozing? It sounds pretty relaxing, but actually, sleep isn’t as uneventful as you might imagine. Inside this dreamy edition of Whizz Pop Bang, you’ll find out what goes on inside your sleeping brain, discover ten animals with weird and wonderful ways to sleep and learn all about snoring. You can also build a hibernation station for sleepy wildlife, race around the clock in a pull-out board game and experience the chilling body temperature of a hibernating hamster!

Meet a turtle expert who tells us how these hibernating reptiles breathe through their bottoms, create your own sleep diary, snuggle up with hibernating bears, find out how sleep scientist Eugene Aserinsky discovered some dreamy sleep secrets and reduce Halloween waste by making an upcycled bat garland.

That’s a lot to pack in before bedtime!

Click here to read everything you need to know about Whizz Pop Bang – the awesome science magazine for kids!

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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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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Cool science gifts for kids!

Are your kids obsessed with space and the wonder of black holes? This intriguing 50p coin was recently released by the Royal Mint to commemorate the life and achievements of physicist and cosmologist, Professor Stephen Hawking. It’s the perfect gift for science lovers (of
any age!).

A little piece of genius 

Who’d have thought it was possible to fit a black hole onto a 50p piece?! Professor Hawking is renowned for his incredible discoveries about space, including the Bekenstein-Hawking theory, which relates to black hole entropy. This complex formula features alongside a brilliant graphic of a black hole on one side of the coin.    

Image: Zero Gravity Corp

A clever celebration 

Hawking’s daughter, Lucy, says, “It is a great privilege to be featured on a coin and I hope my father would be pleased to be alongside Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin as scientists who have made it on to money.” It’s a fitting way to honor a lifetime of incredible contributions to science. 

Build a collection 

Unfortunately, this little beauty isn’t going to turn up in your supermarket change as it’s not being put into general circulation, but if you know a Hawking-in-the-making who would love to add this to their science kit, head to the Royal Mint’s online shop 

It’s available in to buy in a commemorative pack – what a perfect present for a science or space fan!  

And there’s more… 

Image credit royalmint.com

The Royal Mint have announced that this is the first in a series of four 50p coins celebrating innovators in science, but are keeping the specific subjects of the next three under wraps. A complete set would make amazing science gifts for girls and boys. Which famous scientists would you like to see on future 50p coins? Let us know in the comments! 

Images and quotes from www.royalmint.com 


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SPACE NEWS: Not so simple Cimon

The relationship between an astronaut and a flying robot took a surprising turn when the robot stopped doing what it was told. Cimon (which stands for Crew Interactive MObile Companion) is a football-sized intelligent robot that flies around the International Space Station. Cimon was designed to keep the astronauts company and to help them with their work. Recently, astronaut Alexander Gerst asked Cimon to play his favourite song. But when asked to stop and do something different, Cimon carried on talking about music, and eventually said “Don’t be so mean, please”.

While Cimon has been put away for the time being, Gerst hopes to see him back in action soon.


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