Health and Wellbeing Afternoon


On Thursday the 18th of may 2023 PortEllen primary school had a health and wellbeing afternoon. Some of the people that came to help were the Coast guard, MYFOS and we had some doctors in to talk about baby massage.


We were all split into groups. The groups were all different letters going from A to F. I was in group E. We all rotated around the different stations. The first station we did was internet safety with Mrs Clark then we moved on to dyslexia awareness and we kept moving on until we had gone through all eight the last one we did was orienteering with Ms Tait. My favorite station was the station where we learned about how much sugar is in different drinks. It’s my favorite because I found it interesting learning about the different amounts of sugar there are in different drinks. But we also got to make a sugar free pizza that we got to eat and they were delicious. Then we got to go home

Sunny Beach Morning in ELC

This morning after going on our number walk with primary 1,2 we headed down to our secret beach for some morning snack and play in the sunshine ☀️ we had amazing fun exploring the caves, climbing the rocks, getting stuck in the sand and investigating all the different shells and creatures. ⭐️

Kappla Towers with our Buddies

⭐️ We had great fun today with the Kapla blocks, the big boys and girls from Primary 3 let us borrow their huge box of blocks and even came down to show us how to build the biggest tower with them! ⭐️

Valentines day in ELCC

Some of us made cards on Valentines Day for people we love ❤️ We all love our families and they love us, we are going to be talking more about our families and who we live with ☺️ UNCRC article 9 – I have the right to live with a family who care for me. 🌟I can talk about who I love and care for. 🦶We will be talking about our families, and who we live with ☺️

Christmas Fun in ELCC

We love painting and enjoyed painting a branch outside in the garden this morning, we want to make an outside Christmas tree 🎄. We had lots of discussion about ice and how cold it was in the nursery garden. We decided to make our own ice and added some bits of nature from the garden. Our freezer in the nursery was to small so we went and asked Mrs Holyoke if we could use her freezer!

We also went on a hunt round the village to find the Christmas numbers to 6! Fred knew that number 3 was at the Ramsey and Nola knew that number 5 was at Campbells 🎄 ⭐️ we are learning to notice numbers in our environments and all around us. 👣 We have loved looking at all the house numbers and in the windows, we hope everyone doesn’t mind.

ELC Christmas Grotto

The boys and girls had so much fun this morning turning our home corner into Santa’s grotto 🎅 they used lots and lots of tinsel to decorate the tree ☺️🌲 over the next couple of weeks we will add all our Christmas crafts we make to it and also use it to write our letters to Santa 🎅 👣👣To turn it into a post office to send our letters to Santa

ELCC Worm World

Jimmy’s mum gave us a worm world so we filled it up today with soil and put 5 worms inside from our garden wormery 🪱🪱 We talked about what the worms would do in our worm home and what they could eat 🍃 We will keep an eye on them and keep them in nursery this week then let them go back in to our womery 😄 ⭐️ We are learning about worms and the important job that they do. 👣 Continue to watch our worms and feed them.

Flying Kites in ELCC

We had a lovely morning in the sunshine this morning. We had our snack at the park then headed down the front beach to measure the wind speed with our new anemometer to see how windy it was to fly our kite.🪁 ⭐️.  We really enjoyed using the anemometer and flying the kite, it was a bit trickier than up on our school hill.  We will be looking at getting a weather station and learning more about the weather.

Vets in ELCC

We started to set up our vets surgery today. We have lots of patients in already and lots of resources to make them feel better. We read a story about Mog the cats visit to the vet. We also have a lovely story sack with lots of puppets that goes with a book called Old MacDonald. We sang Old MacDonald had a farm and shared the puppets.

Outside Farm in ELCC

We made our own farmland outside today on the tuff tray. We collected dirt and grass then children decided we needed stones and wood. We added our farm animals and had lots of fun playing in the farmland. Porter thought it was funny when the animals got dirty then jumped into the water bucket for a bath 😆🐮🐷🐴

Herbal Teas

We have been learning about healthy eating and our senses.  After planting our herbs in the garden we decided to make some herbal teas. We had to use our senses to describe what we could smell and we even had a go at tasting the teas. Some people thought some of the teas tasted nice and some tasted yucky !


Today at group time talked about what what a certain number looks like. We counted our current buns and found the correct number symbol. We sang the Current Bun song and bought our buns with a penny. We talked about how many were left and how many we had eaten. ⭐️ We are learning about how many are left and identifying the correct number. 🦶 We will continue to play number games and revisit this concept.


Mrs Hannett is working with ELCC children who are soon going to be going into P1!  To help the transition she is making weekly virtual classrooms for parents to share the transition experience.  They also have joint sessions so they can get to know their P2 buddies next year.  Below is a virtual classroom and a QR code link to the Seesaw post explaining how to use it.

transition Seesaw



We were engineers this afternoon making paper aeroplanes ✈️ it was a bit tricky so Mrs Bonar had to help a little. We wanted to see who’s could go the furthest and decided that we had to be up high so used the cable reels. We made predictions and wondered if we needed stronger paper or if there was different shapes we could make!

Library Van

We visited the library’s van this morning, this will be our last visit this term. We have really enjoyed going and choosing our own books. We know we must look after the books and return them for others to use. We are learning that there are people in our community that can help us and we must take care of the books as they don’t belong to us and will be shared with others.  We will continue to visit the library van and also learn more about our community and who can help us.

States of Water

We were super excited this morning that our orbeez that we had put in the freezer had frozen. 🥶 We enjoyed experimenting with them and we all chatted about different changes that water goes through. ⭐️ We are learning the different states of water (ice, water and steam) and using words to describe it. 👣 Our next steps are to continue using ice and experimenting with it inside and outside. Maybe we might even get some frost!


Outdoor Learning in ELC

We went on an Ardventure this morning down the dump road and to the rocks at the far end of the Ard. We were Ardventurers! It was great fun and we hope to go more adventures and be Ardventurers again soon 🤩


Signs in ELC

When we were up the path this morning for a walk we noticed lots of different signs that help tell us different things. The construction site had lots of big danger signs right round it telling us about all the dangerous construction vehicles are hard at work. We absolutely loved watching them and even got a few waves and toots from the construction workers! ⭐️ I am learning that signs have meanings and what they are. 👣 next steps we will be making a construction site with signs and construction vehicles. 

How strong are eggs?


We have been discovering how strong eggs are and learning to measure at the same time!  Underneath this stack of books are only three eggs…..and two trays of eggs can support a small person!  We were amazed when we watched a film clip of Richard Hammond balancing two crushed cars on a large array of eggs. Check it out.


April Diary

Renewables Engineering Islay – April Diary


With Easter on the horizon the team decided that we’d do a bit of…..

Egg Engineering

All the children in the school have been finding out about the strength of eggs. P1/2/3 and the Pre-5 unit were amazed to watch a video clip showing that a huge tray of eggs could support the weight of two cars!  In their joint play session they investigated to see if eggs could hold up a person.  Primary children then engineered different ways to drop an egg without them breaking, learning about gravity and air resistance along the way.  There were lots of parachutes……but also trampolines and some very innovative but simple designs.  Primary 6/7 used Newton’s three laws when thinking about their engineering designs.  Throughout the build the children were encouraged to think like engineers and use the engineering process to imagine, plan, create and improve on their designs.  Since the whole school were involved in this, we used this as an opportunity to use maths skills within an engineering context.  Children measured length, weight and volume of eggs.  They worked out the area of parachutes and time taken for eggs to drop.  Primary 6/7 children also calculated the speed of descent. At the end of the week the children worked in cross-stage groups to design and build wind-powered cars.  We showed the children the incredible Theo Jansen strandbeests to inspire them.  Parents were then invited to join us for the final testing seeing which vehicle went furthest, fastest and could cope with a tricky obstacle course while keeping the egg secure. Connor, P3, said It’s been great fun this week because we were building stuff and building is my thing. Ellen thought it was great fun and I liked how we got all the parents in. Aiden said I enjoyed racing the cars and learning all about friction and things.

Maureen MacDonald spoke to the parents about the Rolls-Royce Science Prize and what a great experience it had been for the school.  She also said that we were planning a community event to celebrate all the work that had been done over the past few months.

Parents were also encouraged to do a little engineering themselves, building rafts to support an egg. It proved to be trickier than we thought! Comments from parents included Amazing experience for all the children with so much fun and learning, loved the teamwork, Well done Port Ellen Primary – what an interesting project, Fantastic – hope it encourages lots of budding engineers.


Knotts to Watts

Kate Brown and P4/5 have  also had great parental involvement in helping to build a prototype floating wind turbine for the Knotts to Watts competition.  It was very exciting for the children to see their own designs and models being scaled up and fantastic to have the support of a couple of dads. For two afternoons Dearbhla’s dad and Morgan’s dad worked with the group to develop the children’s design.  It is very innovative with two turbine heads.  Initial testing in the classroom got the blades turning and it did produce electricity.  The class are looking forward to testing it out in the sea next week.  The whole school is very proud that the group have been invited to test their design in a wave tank as part of the Young Scientists and Engineers event in Glasgow in June.

Gus Newman, one of the parents, commented  I enjoy coming in to school and working with the young ones and getting them involved in future technology. I really like seeing their creativity.

Nuts and Bolts

The Parent Council are very supportive of everything that we do in school.  They have helped us to set up our Nuts and Bolts shed in the playground.  This is based around the idea of a scrap store with nets, ropes, crates, creels etc. The children have had great fun building lots of new things using the fish boxes donated by Drew’s dad.  Kate Brown has taken responsibility for sourcing material for the shed…and we are hoping to build on this in the future. In the nursery outdoor play area Alison Logan has had dads in to develop a system of water chutes for children to explore.


STEM Homelinks

Maggie Harrison and Maureen MacDonald are thinking about how we move forward as a school after the Rolls-Royce project is over.  We have started to use a STEM self-evaluation tool to help us.  One of things we would like to improve is parental engagement with STEM.  Maggie, in her role as Primary Cluster Mentor, has been working with two colleagues from other primary schools and as a team they have agreed to develop a series of STEM bags that can be sent home with activities that children can do with their parents.


Since we have been on holiday for two weeks we have had no outgoing this month so we still have £3280.99 in the budget.  The children have expressed an interest in getting a wind turbine for the school and are in contact with George Dean to see how we could go about this.

February Diary

Renewables Engineering Islay – February Diary


We’ve had a really busy few weeks ….


Wind Turbine Building

P4/5 and Kate Brown have been busy investigating wind power, moving from pinwheels to desk turbines and finally to designing floating wind turbines…perfect for an island location.  This was a fun and busy time in the classroom.  Children planned their models, thinking carefully about the design criteria and materials available.  They then decided which of their ideas were best and worked in pairs or independently to build their models.  They used their Engineering Habits of Mind to guide them and repeatedly tested, altered and improved their turbines as they went along.  Testing was done in the rowing boat in the Nursery area as it was full of rainwater.  Many models toppled over or sank but the best ideas are going to be improved further and entered into a competition.  We’ll keep you posted….

Dearbhla reported My design was very hard to make because you had to get the exact measurements.  We needed to work well in a team together. I think we need to understand where our power comes from and grown ups need to know that too.

Morgan said I enjoyed making my turbine because we got to make little models from the junk box and my model was big but it took quite a while to get the base done.  The playdough on the base was not effective.

KNEX Renewables

P6/7 and Jo Clark have been improving their engineering skills by building with the new KNEX we purchased.  Working in groups and pairs, employing teamwork skills and applying engineering habits of mind, they have built wind turbines, water wheels, solar vehicles and paddle powered cars.  P1/2/3 were given a demonstration and explanation of how they worked. Ellen said We made a wind turbine and it was made out of KNEX and when you spun the wheels one of the coils would turn into a smaller wheel and go into a generator.  The generator was connected to a wire which then turned a roundabout. I loved doing that and I am going to ask my mum if I can get KNEX at home.

CPD Event for Teachers

As part of our commitment to extend our project out form our own school Maggie Harrison and Maureen MacDonald have been in discussions with Headteachers from the other cluster primary schools to organize some shared engineering challenges.  Maggie is part of the SSERC Primary Cluster Programme and is one of three mentors on Islay and Jura who have organized a series of CPD events for teachers to improve confidence in STEM teaching.  It has provided the perfect opportunity to include some further CPD linked to our Rolls-Royce project so she shared a SSERC presentation on Engineering Thinking to cluster colleagues. Great fun was had by all. Comments from colleagues included Excellent, engaging and great fun.  Easy to apply ideas. Team Port Ellen won the best designed chair for Baby Bear!


Offsetting our Carbon Footprint

P6/7 with Jo Clark have been finding out about ways to offset our carbon footprint and improve the environment.  They discovered a search engine called Ecosia which uses revenue from it’s search ads to plant trees.  It is a social business who believe that trees have the power to make the world a better place for everyone.  Their mission is to plant one billion new trees by 2020…so far they have planted over 20 million! Did you know that every time you search the internet you produce CO2 emissions? We have put Ecosia on all the school computers and ipads so that we can research in a more environmentally friendly way and we hope all readers of this blog will use Ecosia too!


Saving Polar Bears

In P1/2/3 with Maggie Harrison, the children have been very concerned about the plight of polar bears as the ice is melting due to global warming.  We have had some very interesting discussions and the children have decided that they would like to adopt a polar bear.  They are on a mission to sell ‘Popcorn for Polar Bears.’ It was Katie’s idea;  I think saving polar bears important because they will all die if they can’t get food  and the babies can’t swim so far if the ice melts.


Large Scale Engineering in Pre-School

Children in nursery have been using some Quadro to design and build some large scale structures during Joint Sessions with P1/2; first a tent for teddy complete with tarpaulin that had to be tested to check that it was waterproof; then a hide to watch birds for the Great Schools Birdwatch. One of our dads, who works for the RSPB, was on hand for a bit of expert advice! Alison Logan is now involving the children in decision making about the sorts of building materials they would like us to buy to develop their skills further.

We have not had any outgoings this month and have £4369 remaining in our budget.

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