Deep Sea Co-op

Tue, 14/04/2015 (All day)
Deep Sea Co-op
Marquis Hall, Bangor

For our Deep Sea Co-op we had the honour of welcoming Marine Biologist Claire Goodwin who works for the National Museums Northern Ireland. She had just come back from a trip to the Antarctic and gave us a talk about her work collecting and identifying sponges. She also brought along her dive kit so we could see how much protection she needs to dive in such cold waters. Claire also brought along some of her sponge samples to look at under the microscope.

Before the co-op we had collected some seawater samples and were able to make slides up of plankton to identify under the microscope. We were able to identify plankton with the help of the publication Marine Zooplankton of Southern Britain which is available to download Marine Zooplankton of Southern Britain

There were also some underwater related crafts to entertain the younger children.

Stormont Visit

Thu, 03/07/2014 (All day)
Stormont Visit

We went to Stormont with a nice big HEdNI group today - a good tour, discussion in the chamber, activity proposing and voting on new legislation.  We had a picnic outside and went to the Mo Molam park afterwards.

Fab Co Op Chemistry Day

Tue, 24/06/2014 (All day)
Making slime
Pop Rockets
North Down Co Op

Great day at the Co Op with lots of Chemistry

- rubber egg (calcium shell dissolved in vinegar)

- making sorbet with a reaction of ice and salt

- making bread- fermentaion

-  making lava lamps 

- making slime

- making models of molecules with plasticine and also a running game making molecule models with our bodies (Water, Methane, hydrogen peroxide, carbon dioxide)

- testing for acids and bases with cabbage water

- making little pop rockets with film canisters and vitamin c tablets


Thu, 19/06/2014 (All day)
Being interviewee

We had a camera crew and reporter from the BBC with us yesterday! We had some friends over and did experiments with rockets (powered by air pressure). Big ones you stamp on and small ones fired from straws. Some crazy jumping on the trampoline too.

The  children found the cameras and the experience very interesting. 

We were too busy to get to making bread so we did that today- stars and knots and little hedgehogs. 

Getting Ready for the Chemistry Fair

Tue, 17/06/2014 (All day)
Getting Ready for the Chemistry Fair

Today we started a few experiments to have them ready for the N. Down Co-Op Chemistry event next week.


- started dissolving an egg shell with vinegar

- made a super saturated sugar solution and started some crystals

- weighed our hands using the water displacement method (just because we got to talking about how the level of the water went up as we added sugar)

- trialed the little pop rockets - two out of three failed twice but the ones that went really went high!

Bees Co-op

Tue, 10/06/2014 (All day)
Looking at demonstration hive
Bees Co-op
Marquis Hall, Bangor

Our bees co-op was a great success. 

We started off the day by making salt dough bees, which was perfect for some of our younger members, and looking at some information about bees. 

We also made a Banana and Honey Teabread which was ready in time for lunch and lasted no time at all. Recipe is at the bottom of the post if you would like to try it.

At 12 O'clock Phelim Breen, a local beekeeper, came with his demonstration hive and a pot of his own honey for us all to try. It was delicous! He told us about bees, how they organise their hive and the different jobs they do. He told us about their life-cycle and how they get through the winter. Phelim also told us about some of the pests and diseases that can affect bees and how to treat them, including a swarm of bees which he removed recently from Bangor that is affected with the verroa mite. And just before he left we finally managed to spot the queen in the hive. 

We had some information about bumblebees too including identification aids. After lunch the children had fun outside spotting bees and even manged to catch a bumblebee which we identified as a white tailed bumblebee. The bee was released before we went home.


Banana and Honey Teabread - from Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book

Ingredients: 225g self-raising flour

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

100g margarine (we used butter)

225g bananas (we only had 180g)

100g caster sugar

grated rind of 1 lemon

2 extra large eggs (we used 3 small ones)

6 tablespoons thick honey

Makes 1 x 900g Loaf

Prehead oven to 180C and lightly grease and base line a 900g loaf tin.

Measure the flour and nutmeg into a large bowl and rub in the fat using the fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcumbs.

Karate Green Belt

Fri, 30/05/2014 (All day)
Karate Green Belt

Congratulations to Jack for achieving his green belt on Saturday, and to everyone in his club who did their grading.

Introduction to the North Down Co-op

Sun, 25/05/2014 - 9:59pm
Comparing Fingerprints

The North Down Home Education Co-operative started up in Spring 2013 in response to a need to have a regular educational meet up. We are based in Bangor and meet twice a month in the Marquis Hall just a few minutes walk from the train station. We have had a fantastic first year and, although we are based in North Down, we have home educating families travel to us from all over Northern Ireland.

The hall has a kitchen and a small stage and is on the edge of Castle Park in Bangor so is perfect for us whether we want to cook up Chinese food, put on a performance or let off steam outside.

We usually choose a topic a few weeks in advance and then ask the group for suggestions of what to cover . We try to get as many people as possible to contribute to each meet up which makes the topic more varied and interesting. 

During the last year we have covered topics such as the Planets, Japan, Art in Nature, Forensics, Rivers, 1940s and Digestion. We also held a 'Not Back to School Sports Day', and in December we put on our own Pirate Christmas play! 

Where we can we try to organise outside help too. We had local artist Julie Scott hold a ceramics workshop last year, and will have a beekeeper coming soon with a demonstration hive for a 'Bees' themed meet.

Check back soon to read what we get up to at our next meet.


Playing Science

Sun, 25/05/2014 (All day)
Playing Science

Sunday morning activity experimenting and mixing colours, using scientific equipment like test tubes, flasks and measuring syringes. Food colouring, baking soda, vinegar, oils. Mixing colours, chemical reactions and density.

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