Laboratory based home-education science classes

Laboratory based science classes for home-education

based in Barnstaple, North Devon.

Open to all home-ed youngsters aged 12-16


KS3 Lab Session – 3 hour stand alone workshop

Next dates TBC (in April)

WHAT IS IT?: One session of 3 hours in a lab at Petroc College in Barnstaple. Lots of experiments using equipment you’re not likely have at home! Led by a qualified science teacher and laboratory scientist

CONTENT: How to use a Bunsen, flame tests, measuring/recording data, leaf pigment chromatography, chemical reactions.

COST: £20/child

HOW TO BOOK: Online using our booking system, the link will appear here when we have opened bookings.

KS3 Lab Skills Course – 6 week course, 2 hrs/week

 WHAT IS IT?     2 hours a week for 6 weeks of learning essential lab skills, choosing the correct equipment, carrying out practicals  (some of which are the required GCSE experiments), recording data and troubleshooting. The course is taught by a qualified science teacher and laboratory scientist.

It will be in the biology lab (ground floor lab number F8) at Petroc College, Old Sticklepath Hill, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 2BQ.

You will have access to a dedicated virtual classroom space, where you will find copies of the presentations, method sheets and a safe place for us to share our experiment photos.

This course includes the British Science Association’s Bronze Level Crest Award certificate, students can work towards this if they want to, let us know at the booking stage if you’d like to. The kind of thing we’ll need to assess for this award can be found here and we’d do this by talking to the students and through observations (we don’t expect any essays or answering of any written Qs or homework).


DATES:     Next course dates TBC

PRICE: £150 (£12.50/hr)



Week 1) Laboratory safety. Pipetting. Microscopy & sample prep.

The first week we will introduce the lab, and the typical equipment found within it. We will go over lab safety rules. Youngsters will get hands-on using auto pipettes  needed to transfer tiny volumes of liquid. They’ll learn how to use microscopes and prepare samples for microscopy and carry out some simple stains.

Week 2) Chemical reactions. 

This week is about chemistry and what a chemical reaction really is. We’ll understand energy transfer, see endothermic, exothermic, oxidation & displacement reactions. Students carry out a displacement reaction and there will be some demonstrations. Students will practise word equations.

Week 3) Enzymes. Bunsens.

This week is all about catalysts, and enzymes, the biological catalysts. We’ll carry out an experiment to explore the factors that affect their function and why. This week we will be using Bunsen burners so students will learn how to operate them properly.

Week 4) Chromatography. Diffusion.

Students learn about chromatography and the various different kinds and carry out an investigation to identify the components of a mixture. We will practise calculating RF values. The passive process of diffusion will be introduced in preparation for next week.

Week 5) Microbiology. Antibiotic testing.

Tiny invisible microbes are the topic of this week’s lesson. We will get the microscopes out again to view bacteria at a 1000X magnification, but we’ll need to stain them first! We also carry out the disc diffusion experiment using aseptic technique (bunsens again) to see which chemical compound kills our sample of safe bacteria.

Week 6) Osmosis. Flame tests.

Osmosis is a special kind of diffusion that will be discussed in this last lesson. We’ll carry out an experiment to show what happens to plant cells when the osmotic pressure is changed. For this we will need to use laboratory balances accurately. Will we revisit Bunsen burners by carrying out the flame test and analysis of various metals.


  • Jo Hancock, Biology Online Club
    Ruth was brilliant at engaging my daughter in the home ed biology lessons, Danielle really enjoyed them and Ruth was happy to help and answer everyone's questions. looking forward to joining more Home ed sessions in the future.
    Jo Hancock, Biology Online Club
  • Danielle, 11, Online Club
    I've loved doing my home ed biology lessons with Ruth they were really fun she answered all my questions and didn't rush.
    Danielle, 11, Online Club
  • Katie, North Devon
    Thank you for a fantastic week of science!! Jack has really enjoyed himself and will deffo be recommending. See you in March for the next club.
    Katie, North Devon
  • Ellie, Mid Devon
    Ruth’s science sessions have been wonderful for my children recently and they have all got so much from them. It really brings the fun of science to life for them and makes them enthusiastic about it. So much so that when my daughter had a day at school recently where they had to dress as what they would like to do when they are older she went as a scientist!!
    Actually we have been so impressed with the sessions that we booked Ruth for my daughters birthday party and the kids all had a ball. Ruth’s enthusiasm for the subject is infectious. I would highly recommend her sessions as well as the birthday parties! They are also amazing value for money.
    Ellie, Mid Devon
  • Melanie, South Devon
    Lots of fun, engaging activities and enough repetition of the sciency bit to make it stick. Thanks Ruth, we will be doing more of your classes for sure!
    Melanie, South Devon
  • Angela, Plymouth
    Each session had three really fun and engaging activities, well taught and explained. None of the activities were “duds” or time fillers and my daughter was inspired to follow up each session with further investigation. The sessions were well priced and we are sad they have come to an end
    Angela, Plymouth
  • Beth, Home-ed online clubs
    Love that home educators are deliberately catered for with daytime classes available, and Ruth is great at engaging with the children
    Beth, Home-ed online clubs
  • Zoe Graham
    My two sons have completed their first Crest Award and I can’t recommend Ruth highly enough! They have learnt so much, had incredible fun and blossomed! We LOVE LOVE LOVE Sciencedipity
    Zoe Graham
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