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 brilliant books for World Book Day 2021!

The world’s biggest celebration of children’s books and reading is back on Thursday 4th March 2021 – it’s World Book Day!

Every year, publishers (with the support of National Book Tokens) create a list of books by best-selling authors and illustrators that are available to buy for just £1 each.


Wondering what free books are on offer for World Book Day 2021?

Check out this amazing selection!

World Book Day 2021’s £1 books!

How can I get a World Book Day token?

If you’re a Whizz Pop Bang subscriber, one will pop through your letterbox! There’s one printed on page 34 of Whizz Pop Bang: Pesky Parasites. Not a subscriber? Sign up here.

PESKY PARASITES will be delivered to subscribers between 1st – 12th March 2021

More than 15 million World Book Day vouchers will be distributed to children in the UK and Ireland, so your child may get one from school, nursery or a youth group, too.


Where can I spend World Book Day vouchers?

Take your voucher to a participating book shop (you can find a list here) and exchange it for a FREE £1 World Book Day book, or £1 or €1.50 off any full-priced book or audiobook costing at least £2.99 or €3.99.

Obviously, the pandemic means that World Book Day be a bit different this year. World Book Day vouchers will be provided to schools and nursery settings. Schools will also have the option of a new single-use digital version to share with families that can be printed at home or shown to booksellers on a phone or tablet.

World Book Day’s £1 books can be found in major supermarkets as well as bookshop chains, and bookshops are offering new ways to make the £1 books available, even in lockdown. Booksellers will honour the tokens beyond the 28th March (while stocks last) and many are planning to welcome families to World Book Day events later in spring.


WIN a bundle of books by World Book Day authors!

Our friends at World Book Day have given us some brilliant books to give away! Five winers will each win:

What a Waste: Rubbish, Recycling and Protecting Our Planet
Earth’s Incredible Oceans
and
The Book of Brilliant Bugs
all by brilliant World Book Day author and super scientist, Jess French!

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

What is a baby alpaca called?

a. A llamaling
b. A cria
c. An alpacapup

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

This competition closes at midnight on Wednesday 31st March 2021. Whizz Pop Bang competition terms and conditions are here and World Book Day terms and conditions are here.


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A girl flying a homemade paper stunt plane made form Whizz Pop Bang magazine resources

Fly High Friday – FREE ideas for Science Week!

Science Week Day, March 2021

British Science Week (5th-14th March 2021) was always first in my calendar as a Primary Science Co-ordinator and I usually started with very grand ideas! Whilst a whole week of science is brilliant, this year it might be more realistic to consider just planning one day – it will be just as exciting, but manageable both in school and for any pupils isolating at home. Here are some FREE ideas and resources for creating a super exciting Fly High Friday!

Did you know that Whizz Pop Bang magazine also creates curriculum-linked science resources for primary schools? Scroll to the bottom to find a brilliant offer that’s running throughout March 2021!

Here’s everything you need to make planning your science day as simple as possible:

  • A whole-school challenge with suggestions for each year group
  • Science lesson plan with curriculum links
  • Downloadable, printable resources
  • FREE PowerPoint presentations to help teachers run the day

Theme – Flight, linking with the curriculum topic of Forces with a comparative/fair testing enquiry and for EYFS the characteristics of learning.

Challenge the whole school to work together on a flight investigation!
The mission: who can make paper fly the farthest?
Keep reading to find activities and resources for each year group…

We all love to make a paper aeroplane but is that the only way to make paper fly? Here are some different ways:

Make a paper air-powered rocket

Printable stunt planes that fly in a circle!

Make flying paper straws

How to make these suit all year groups:

For all these ideas you will only need paper, straws, sticky tape, glue and sticky tack – and some space, preferably outdoors! Each year group could have a go at making these different paper flying machines.

EYFS – Allow the children the time to explore how they can make paper fly. The teacher could demonstrate the air-powered rocket, then the children could make either the stunt planes or the straw planes. The children will choose the one they think will fly the farthest, try it and then the class teacher should record the result.

KS1 – Again allow the children the time to explore how they can make paper fly. Then the children should make each of the flying devices and choose the one they think flies the best, then test it. The teacher can collate all the results as a class.  

Years 3 and 4 – children can choose their favourite design and then make adaptions to see if they can make it fly farther and record their results.

Years 5 and 6 – children can test each design and then make their own flying machines. They should throw their final design five times and calculate the mean result. This will be their final result.

We also have a reading comprehension about historical scientists the Wright Brothers, the team behind the world’s first powered flight.

The Wright brother Reading comprehension

At the end of the day all classes should share their results. This might be by email or you could hold a virtual assembly! Don’t forget to ask for photographs so you can make a display or share them on your school’s social media platforms. We would love to see what you’ve been doing so please tag us @whizzpopbangmag

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, Design and Technology and PSHE.

Prices from as little as £190 per year for whole-school access to our ever-growing library of downloadable teaching resources, with unlimited teacher logins, as well as a copy of Whizz Pop Bang magazine through the post each month. Plus, we have an amazing offer of a 20% discount until 31st March 2021. Just apply the code SCIWEEK21 at the checkout to receive the discount. (Only available on whole-school subscriptions to the magazines and resources.)


Click here to find out more about Whizz Pop Bang’s hands-on science and reading resources for schools!


We’ve just launched a new individual membership option so teachers and home educators can access all of our amazing 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 ‘Seven Days of Science’ challenge!

Half term is almost here and families far and wide are wondering how to fill a lockdown holiday with fun and excitement.

Why not take Whizz Pop Bang’s Seven Days of Science challenge? Every day, we’ll give you all the information and resources you need to complete a simple, satisfying and curiosity-awakening challenge from your home. Enter a science pancakes competition and try some kitchen science experiments, science papercraft, science quizzes for kids, nature activities. It’s also a great way to get children well and truly excited about NASA’s Perseverance planned landing on Mars on Thursday 18th February!

Download a full colour printable tick list here:

Download a low-ink, black and white printable tick list here:


Let’s get started!

Saturday 13th February: Do some kitchen science

Discover some home chemistry experiments that involve things you’ve probably already got in your kitchen! Here are some you might like to try:

Make gloopy slime! Slime-obsessed children will love this gooey activity! They will make their own slime, then decide if it is a solid or a liquid.
You will need: cornflour, water, mixing bowl, food colouring.

Watch a video tutorial of this activity…

Make your own plastic
Explore making casein plastic from milk in this exciting activity.
You will need: milk, white vinegar, sieve, paper towels.

Make a volcano
Print out a volcano template and create your very own miniature volcano using the harmless chemicals you find in your kitchen cupboards!
You will need: the volcano printout below, a small container (e.g. a spice jar), bicarbonate of soda or baking powder, sticky tape, vinegar, red and yellow food colouring, uncoloured soap or washing up liquid, a tray.

Bubbling magma experiment
Explore the difference between runny magma and viscous magma.
You will need: two glasses, water, a viscous substance (like honey or golden syrup), two paper straws, safety goggles or sunglasses


Sunday 14th February: Make a human heart card

Celebrate Valentine’s Day by making a card featuring a human heart!
You will need: the heart card printout below, scissors, glue stick, pen.


Monday 15th February: Take a science quiz

Give one of our Whizz Pop Bang science quizzes a try!

Already done them both? Why not make up your own!


Tuesday 16th February: Eat science-themed pancakes

Add a sprinkle of science to Shrove Tuesday to be in with a chance of winning a Stay-at-home science bundle! Find out more about this competition here.

We love this pancake recipe:
BBC Good Food’s perfect pancakes
but your science pancakes can be American style, vegan, savoury… whatever takes your fancy.

Next, decorate your pancakes with something inspired by space, nature, engineering or anything else linked to science! Here are a few ideas to get you started:


Wednesday 17th February: Learn about nature

Today’s the day to get outside and do something to help nature! You could refill bird feeders and bird baths, plant some wildflower seeds or go on a litter pick. 
To make an upcycled bird feeder, you will need: An empty, clean and dry plastic bottle (e.g. milk bottle), a sharp knife, some sticks, strong glue or glue gun, 30 cm twine

If you want to do something inside instead, give these seed dispersal activities a go – it’s a great way to understand how plants and animals work together.  
To make a super-speed peashooter, you will need: Biro or gel pen, dried pea
To make a model dandelion seed, you will need: A sheet of A4 paper, ruler, scissors, pencil, sticky tape


Thursday 18th February: Take the ‘Seven minutes of terror’ challenge!

Today’s an exciting day – NASA’s Perseverance rover is due to land on Mars! You can watch the landing at 8.55pm here (but you might have to wait until tomorrow morning – that’s pretty late!)

Meanwhile, take the 7 Minutes of Terror Challenge to discover the hair-raising journey a spacecraft takes as it travels through Mars’s atmosphere. Download the activity here:


Friday 19th February: Say hello to Y!

Have you done lots of science activities and experiments this week? Or have you got a burning science question for our all-knowing robot, Y? Send messages, questions and pictures to y@whizzpopbang.co.uk and let us know all about your week of science!


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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Make science pancakes to win a Stay-At-Home Science bundle!

If you’re looking for ways to fill a lockdown half term with science, why not make science pancakes as part of our 7 Days of Science Challenge? One pancake-flipping Whizz Pop Bang fan will win a Stay-At-Home bundle for their cooking and decorating skills!

There’s loads of science to try at home in this brand-new bundle of three activity-packed magazines, together with the brain-bending Whizz Pop Bang Science Puzzle Book – it’s the ideal bundle to fill a home-based half term with awesome science fun!

The bundle contains:
• The Whizz Pop Bang Science Puzzle Book, packed with over 150 puzzles, all with a science twist!
• Whizz Pop Bang magazine, Issue 33: Purr-fect Pets – grow your own grass pet and create a doggy draught excluder
• Whizz Pop Bang magazine, Issue 39: Space Travel – experiment with an air-powered rocket and a rocket that’s fuelled by a chemical reaction
• Whizz Pop Bang magazine, Issue 46: Eye Spy – make 3d glasses and create a beautiful sun catcher

To be in with a chance of winning this brilliant prize, simply make or decorate some pancakes, taking some inspiration from a science topic. Find a recipe and loads of ideas here – or let your imagination run wild!

Pancake batter isn’t the easiest medium to work with, especially if you’re making thin pancakes that are often associated with Shrove Tuesday in the UK. We’re on the lookout for creative ideas and stacks of enthusiasm rather than anything that belongs in a gallery. After all, they’re not going to hang around for long, are they? Yum!

Living in a lockdown often means that we need to think creatively, so if you haven’t stocked up on pancake ingredients then there’s no need to go to the shops – decorate a biscuit, slice of toast or even a bowl of porridge instead!

Email entries to win@whizzpopbang.com with the subject ‘Science pancakes’ by midnight on 23rd February 2021. One winner will receive a Stay-At-Home Science bundle. Full terms and conditions can be found here. Happy flipping!


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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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Watch a real-life superhero!

British inventor Richard Browning has invented a supercool jet pack with jet engines that strap onto the pilot’s arms and back. As these blast downwards, the pilot is pushed upwards and they can control the direction of flight just by moving their arms! As well as being an amazing toy, this jet pack could soon be used to rescue people. Just like a real superhero!

See the jet pack in action here:

Find out more about this amazing jet pack, plus the latest science news written with kids in mind, in Whizz Pop Bang: MISSION TO MARS!


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COMPETITION CLOSED: WIN a Build Your Own Plane Launcher kit and two Whizz Pop Bang books!

Inspire some epic engineering with this Build Your Own Plane Launcher from Build Your Own. The 47-piece kit contains everything you need to slot together and build this impressive Paper Plane Launcher. Simply press out the parts of heavy-duty cardboard, follow the instructions to attach the elastic bands for the twin propulsion system, and you are ready to go! Using the Build Your Own Paper Plane Launcher, the planes can reach up to an incredible 10 metres!

Once they’ve tested the basics, it’s possible to push the boundaries; experimenting with wing adjustments or combining the integrated power scale and the plane’s flight dynamics to produce a different flight path outcome. Kids can take playtime to a new level creating straight or looped flight paths, testing accuracy skills using the scoring targets, and designing their own obstacle courses – the possibilities for fun are endless! We’ve got three to give away to lucky WPB fans, and that’s not all…

To make sure your young scientists are super-busy, we’re also giving away a brain-stretching Whizz Pop Bang Science Puzzle Book and a rib-tickling Whizz Pop Bang Science Joke Book to each winner!

To be in with a chance of winning one of three Build Your Own Plane Launcher kits, joke books and puzzle books, simply answer this question in the comments:

Which of the below is not usually found as part of an aircraft?

A Skirt
B Fuselage
C Cockpit

Good luck!

This competition closes at midnight on 31st January 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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How to make home educating work: tips from the experts


Are you wondering how on earth to manage home education now that schools are closed again? We want to help you to bring science to life on your kitchen table and have made loads of resources available for you right here. They include:


🧪 Activities from Whizz Pop Bang’s Awesomely Amazing Science Club These simple, fun, home science ideas using household objects were designed for school science clubs and youth groups, but work brilliantly for home school too!
🧪 Curriculum-linked science activities and reading comprehensions
These hands-on science experiments and science reading comprehensions are linked to the National Curriculum for children in years 2 to 6. They’re ideal for use at home and each one includes a straightforward explanation of the science involved.
🧪 Virtual science quiz for kids
More quizzes coming soon!
🧪 Collectible science badges to earn
Your child can earn their Wildlife Watcher, Eco Hero and Super Scientist awards!
🧪 Super science-themed colouring pages and posters!

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


The first attempt at home-educating was a culture shock for our editor Tammy back in March 2020. Tammy had a picture in her head of how home-schooling would be – a structured daily routine with children sitting neatly at the kitchen table, completing the work she’d set them, whilst she herself was working away on her laptop beside them. Needless to say, it didn’t work out that way! It didn’t help that Tammy had builders in repairing her roof that week, resulting in a ceiling collapsing! The whole family was in tears before the first morning was out.

And here we are again – schools have suddenly closed and many parents’ brains are exploding at the prospect of keeping their children engaged in education while juggling their own jobs and responsibilities. While many of us have already had one stint of homeschooling, things are different this time around – schools’ expectations have changed, and many of us haven’t quite shaken off the lazy Christmas holiday routine yet – so, we thought we’d ask for some advice from our lovely home-educating Whizz Pop Bang readers and gather some top tips. We hope you find them useful…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, the home educating community would like to point out that self-isolating is not how they normally do things! The adults in the household aren’t working full-time jobs on top of attempting to teach. They play in the park, in the woods, at the beach, have other home ed kids over, and go to all kinds of clubs and activities. Being cooped up in the house is hard for them too.

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


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The science behind the Star of Bethlehem visible in 2020

Almost 2.5 million people have RSVPed to a Facebook event called Star of Bethlehem taking please at 22:24 UTC on 21st December 2021, so we thought we’d find out what it’s all about!

What is the Star of Bethlehem?

When we hear about the Star of Bethlehem, it’s usually in the context of the traditional Christian nativity story, as the star that led the three wise men to Jesus’s birthplace.

Astronomers report that around 2000 years ago, there were several events in the night sky that could have led to a very bright light appearing. These are known as conjunctions, when two planets appear to be close in the night sky, shining brightly, when viewed from Earth. When they appear so close that they look like they’re touching, this is known as a Great Conjunction.

This year, Jupiter and Saturn will appear closer to one each other and brighter than they have in 800 years. Because the exciting conjunction is happening just before Christmas, some people are calling it the Star of Bethlehem, and others the Christmas Kiss.

The planets gradually appear to move closer together for the first three weeks of December 2020, until they react their closest point on the 21st.

How to see the Star of Bethlehem in the UK on 21st December

The last time a Great Conjunction like this could be seen from Earth was 1226 – surely it’s worth a trip out after dark to try and spot this phenomenon with your own eyes!

BBC Science Focus magazine says:
To see the planets align, look above the southwestern horizon on 21 December after sunset, at around 5pm. The planets will only be visible for about an hour before they set in the west, so remember to look as soon as darkness falls. If you miss the conjunction, don’t worry: although the planets get closest on 21 December, you’ll have a great view of the pair on any evening in December, looking southwest after sunset.

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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