Gaelic Transition through Local History

Ms Howitt from Dunoon Grammar School initiated a transitional topic for the Gaelic medium pupils of Sandbank Primary School where they could gradually get to know the staff, subjects and building during their last couple of years at Primary. The pupils were already working upon an enquiry based local history project which allowed many opportunities for interdisciplinary work, some of which were suitable for the Grammar staff to lead.

The children of Gaelic 6/7 and their teacher were invited to the Grammar school to participate in a geography lesson where they practised their map reading skills on local maps, compass work and had an orienteering challenge to familiarise them with the outside of the school building. On another occasion they had a maths lesson which followed on from the geography by introducing the concept of working with different scales within mapreading and converting from map measurements to real-life distance. Some of the other staff, such as Mr Paterson of the French department, popped in to introduce themselves (in French) too.

On the final meeting Ms Bruce, Ms Howitt and Ms Dewar came to Sandbank Primary and led the pupils on to the Heritage Trail at Ardnadam Glen to look at the settlement site where buildings ranging from the Neolithic period up to the early medieval era had previously been excavated. The interpretation boards there have information and illustrations showing the change in building pattern throughout 2000 years of habitation, from hut circles through to a medieval church and grave sites. The Grammar school staff set the pupils on some challenges to use these boards and their maps to find out specific information, such as finding the Gaelic name of the small river that ran past the settlement. There was also plenty of opportunity to look at the natural world of plants, geographical features and wildlife.

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