Category Archives: Primary 12

P12 news

About Islay – A digital book

As part of our whole school project on marine litter, P1/2/3 are reaching out to other schools near the sea to find out if they find lots of plastic on their beaches too.  Here is their digital book all about Islay.  We hope that you enjoy watching it and see how lovely our island is.  Please comment and let us know if you have what you can find on the beaches near your school.  Thank you, P1/2/3

Sandwiches anyone?

  

We have been learning about healthy eating and all the different food groups.  We have designed our own sandwiches and got to make them!  We also learned about hygiene in the kitchen, how to use sharp knives safely and Mrs Holyoake explained all about the different chopping boards and how to store food correctly.

P1/2/3 Renewables Trip

  

On 23rd May P1/2/3 went on a trip to see the different renewables being used in Islay.  First we went to Dunlossit Estate where David Gillies showed us the biomass boiler and we saw that the store where all the wood chips were stored was like a giant slushy machine.  Then we went to Ballygrant to see the hydro power station…it fitted inside a shed!  Finally George Dean took us to the wind turbine and we got to go inside it.  All were very intrigued by the upside down computer.  Thanks to David and George for a great day.

  

Use solar power!

P1/2/3 have been learning about the benefits of solar energy – it’s renewable, free and good for the environment.  They have been using their knowledge to design persuasive posters.  This amazingly neat poster was made by Rachel in P1.

Solar Ovens

 

There was great excitement in P1/2/3…and a bit of envy from P4/5….as the solar ovens were used to cook marshmallows and melt chocolate digestives.  Even although it was not particularly warn, we were amazed how quickly the ovens melted the chocolate and marshmallow.  William is keen to cook pizza next!

African huts….using solar power

P1/2/3 have read the story of Handa’s Surprise and been learning about life in Africa.  They have found out that it is very different in rural Africa from the city.  They build these huts from straw, clay and wooden sticks….then added solar panels and LED lights.  They were a great addition to the sand tray with all the African animals. The children learned how useful solar panels can be in helping children in rural Africa to do their homework.  Evie’s mum showed the children a kerosene lamp that would be used – costly to run, dangerous and giving off nasty fumes.  We researched case studies and made these Explain Everything to show what we had learned.

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.

 

All about life in Tanzania

P1/2/3 really enjoyed Evie’s mum coming to visit the class to tell them all about life in rural Tanzania where she lived.  She explained all about the Masai, showing them some lovely fabrics.  She also told them how resourceful Tanzanian people are reusing and recycling things – making bags out of bottle tops and sandals out of car tyres.  Thanks you Mrs Wood!

Building jet engines

  

Neil Chattle, our Rolls-Royce mentor, visited the school on 26th April.  He gave a talk to the whole school about jet engines and brought some model jet engines for us to try building.  We had a great day and ended with a challenge for teams of children to work together to build the model engine in the fastest possible time!

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.

Budget

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.

Parachutes in P1/2/3

P1/2/3 have been learning about parachutes (air resistance) and they used Explain Everything to record their experiments inserting video clips of their tests, how they made their tests fair and the results.  They were then able to use this information in the design of their own parachutes to protect an egg from smashing when dropped from the top of the stairs.

Mission Adoption Accomplished

After Katie suggested to the class that we adopt a polar bear, P1/2/3 have not raised the £50 required from selling popcorn and adopted a Svalbard polar bear.  We’ve named him Snowball.  We have learned that polar bears are becoming endangered due to global warming.  Less ice means that there is less of an area for them to hunt, they have to swim longer distances between ice and they are coming into conflict with humans when they approach towns in Alaska and can get shot.  We found out that they have polar bear jails where they can catch them and then release them back where it is safer and not near where people live.

March Diary

Renewables Engineering Islay – March Diary

 

A key part of what we wanted to do with our project this year was to involve other primary schools on the islands.  There are primary schools in Bowmore, Port Charlotte and Keills as well as Small Isles Primary School on the Isle of Jura.  With National Science & Engineering Week coming up we decided that this would be an ideal time to get everyone together to work on a series of engineering challenges organised by Maggie Harrison, with the support of Jo Clark and Kate Brown.

 

Fairytale Engineering

The first session we ran was for children working at Early/First Level – from P1-P4.  On the day we had 60 children meet together to work on some fairytale engineering.  The focus was on developing creativity and children’s ideas for problem solving.  The tasks were linked to the story of Rapunzel; first they had to build a tower for Rapunzel using mini marshmallows and cocktail sticks, exploring the strength of different shapes; then they had to work out a way for Rapunzel to escape the tower. Back in Port Ellen, P1/2/3 continued this learning, coming up with some amazingly good ideas – a glider, an elevator, a parachute, a hot air balloon and a zip wire.

At first I thought it was impossible but now I really want to do it  again – Aiden, Port Charlotte Primary.

It was so much fun. My best bit was building the tower with marshmallows – Evie, Port Ellen

I loved getting to see the other school classes. I like working in a team. It was fun getting Rapunzel out of the tower – Callum, Bowmore Primary

 

Disaster!

Primary 4/5s from Port Ellen and Bowmore Primary Schools worked together to learn how engineering can be an important aspect of disaster relief.  They thought about earthquakes and hurricanes that can devastate communities and lead to situations where emergency aid is unable to reach those who need it and how essential structures like air control towers need to withstand the powers of nature.  Their first task was to design and build a mountain rescue stretcher to transport a patient (potato) to hospital; then all groups were given the same resources to build a tower which supported a tennis ball and withstood a hurricane!

I really enjoyed building with a time limit and enjoy building models that are real things but we make them mini – Millie, Port Ellen Primary

I loved it because we had to do challenges – James, Bowmore Primary

My class were all absolutely engaged in both activities.  There were lots of discussions, problem solving and pride – Miss Brown, Port Ellen Primary.

 

 

 

Let’s Roll!

Older students met for a session looking at the engineering process, focussed on testing and improving.  Groups of children from different schools built rollercoasters for marbles, trying to incorporate loop the loops and still catch the marble in a paper cup.  Continuing on a marble theme, they then had to work out ways to increase the time taken for a marble to run down an inclined plane from 2.7 seconds to 10 seconds.  It was fantastic to see the children from different schools work together, completely absorbed in solving the problem. Young STEM Ambassadors from Islay High School came along to help out on the day.

I enjoyed the session and learned a lot more about engineers – Neil, Port Charlotte Primary.

It was challenging because there were lots of different activities and we had a certain amount of time to do it in and we had to stick to the resources we had – Oliver, Keills. Primary

It was fun! – Elisa, Small Isles Primary.

I want to have another engineering day with all the schools again – Charlie, Port Ellen.

The activities were fun, engaging and appropriately challenging for the group.  The children were actively involved and clearly developing their problem solving skills – Mrs Baker, Keills Primary

This session was held in Islay High School.  Maggie Harrison and Maureen MacDonald are now in discussion with the Headteacher of the High School to look at delivering a similar workshop for S3 children.

 

Rescuing Humpty

National Science & Engineering week could not go by without involving out Pre-5 children.  They had to find ways of rescuing Humpty so that he didn’t crack his head open getting down from the wall.  Bubble wrap and cotton wool were turned into jackets and we also built a zip-wire and engineered baskets to help him get down from the wall safely!

 

Budget

Date Purchases Cost
22nd February 4 copies Rosie Revere Engineer (for cluster schools) £42.15
22nd February External Hard Drive £47.68
6th March Pack cardboard tubes £18.05
  Solder £1.90
  3x Giant Lolly sticks £5.88
  12xSellotape £9.95
  3 packs masking tape £10.77
  Card £4.99
  Giant straws £18.98
  Wooden beads £4.98
  KNEX Imagination Makers Age 5-10 £30.26
  2xKNEX Imagine Age 7+ £61.02
  The Boy who harnessed the Wind £11.89
  Bioengineering Projects £12.49
7th March 4XKNEX Renewable Energy (for cluster schools) £721.80
Total Expenses    
Remaining Money   £3280.99

Fairytale Engineering

P1/2/3 joined P1/2/3 from Bowmore Primary and P1-4 from Port Charlotte Primary for some engineering challenges based on the fairytale Rapunzel.  After a quick recap of the story, they used cocktail sticks and mini marshmallows to try and built the tallest tower that they could.  Then they had to design and build ways to help the Rapunzel to escape from the tall tower.  There were lots of ingenious designs – here is one of the ladders.

Trip to the Musem

P1/2/3 had a fantastic trip to the Museum of Islay Life in Port Charlotte looking at how people lived 100 years ago.  Jenny Minto showed them the old box bed, an griddle that hung over the fire to make oatcakes and bannocks and all the things that would have been familiar sights in schools 100 years ago.  Everyone was fascinated by the old belt that teachers used to use! Thank you Jenny.

Trip to the Museum

P1/2/3 had a wonderful trip to the Museum of Islay Life in Port Charlotte to find out what life was like 100 years ago.  They were fascinated by the chamber pot and the fact that people had to go outside to the toilet! P1/2/3 have been learning about school long ago.  They have discovered that there used to be many more schools in Islay and that teachers were much stricter! We saw the old teachers high desk and the wooden child’s desk at the museum together with the ink pots and slates that children would have used a century ago.  This is part of island-wide history learning associated with the WW1 commemorations.  We also found out about a schoolgirl from Port Ellen that gave an her account of what happened in the village following the sinking of the Tuscania.  Old log books have given a poignant insight into that time. Thanks to Jenny Minto for a great visit.

Building circuits

After building human circuits in the gym hall, children in P1/2/3 were given a box of components and had to build a working circuit.  This excellent resource was given to the Islay schools cluster by SSERC and it has been well used!

 

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.

How we get electricity

P1/2/3 have been learning where electricity comes from.  We watched video clips of how power is generated  in a power station by burning coal and oil to make steam which then turns the huge turbines.  We built models to show that we understood how power gets from the power stations to our homes and why we should never play near electricity pylons.  It also struck home that this is what causes emissions that cause global warming, linked to our Who will Save us? topic.

Learning where electricity comes from

P1/2/3 are learning about electricity this term.  They are building on the work they did about energy in the first term and finding out about all the ways that they use electricity, how to use electricity safely and where electricity comes from.  They watched video clips from power stations and saw a model made of spoons that turned using the power of steam. This helped them to understand what was happening on a larger scale.  They decided to make models to show how electricity gets from power stations into their homes.

Teddy in the Park STEM

  

Following a SSERC CPD on Teddy in the Park P1/2 and the ELCC have used this as a focus for Joint Sessions.  Children have had a great experience investigating waterproofing, building tents and rucksacks for teddy all linked to a story about a teddy.

RSPB Visitor

During a recent joint session with P1/2 and Pre-5 children we were delighted to welcome David Wood in to talk to the children.  This coincided with Springwatch and we all watched part of the programme showing the golden eagles on Islay.  The children were shown the model of the eagle to demonstrate the wingspan and then  some of the Primary 1 children made their own scaled eagle.

David then helped the children to build a hide in preparation for taking part in the Big School Birdwatch.

December Diary

Panto fever has hit Port Ellen as we have been preparing for our whole school pantomime which takes place every two years.  We have also been organising the Christmas Fair, our main fundraiser, and P1/2/3 are preparing for their Nativity. Meanwhile, our Rolls-Royce journey continues….

Statoil Young Imagineers Finalist

As a result of our engineering project, we had a finalist in the national Young Imagineers competition run by Statoil.  Sarah, from P6/7, invented a device that would save sheep stuck on their backs by making a scary sound and getting them to turn over.  Her device was made into a prototype and she had to present it at the final in London at the Science Museum.  Everyone is very proud of her achievement. Sarah says she is much more confident now about talking about engineering after presenting in front of a large audience, and she is inspired to take up engineering when she grows up.

YOUNG IMAGINEERING

 

Switch Off Fortnight

Continuing their learning about energy in Term1, Kate Brown’s class (P4/5) decided to try and encourage everyone to use less energy in school and at home. The children were quite shocked at how much electricity an electric shower uses and from looking at energy use they decided to make others understand this and think about saving energy, electricity in particular. So they joined the National “Switch Off Fortnight” and made information posters for the local community and home. This campaign was so successful that this week they are keen to spend part of the Christmas Disco without lights and use alternative sources instead…..glow sticks are at the ready!

 

Introducing Renewables

This month Primary 6/7 have been working hard on researching renewable and non renewable sources of energy with Jo Clark.  They wanted to know what energy sources are used in Scotland and the implications for the environment.  Using One note they researched online and then used the notes to create posters, blogs and Sways.  They debated in class the various types of energy source and chose the ones they thought were best, and wrote a discursive essay on renewable energy.  In maths they looked at data produced by the Scottish Government on Energy use in Scotland and then analysed, interpreted and drew conclusions from it as part of a holistic assessment. Finally, they came up with pledges of what they could do themselves to reduce energy consumption.

Meanwhile, in P4/5 with Kate Brown, the children have been learning about wind power as there is a tall wind turbine outside the village. The children know that wind is sustainable and they made their own pinwheels to record the wind direction/wind strength associated with the speed of the wheel which led to discussions about what happens to wind turbines when there is no wind, and how strong winds here in Islay can be used to generate electricity. They then worked in groups to complete the Wind Turbine Challenge from the STEM website. The aim was to create a fair test to try to make a turbine that could raise a cup from the floor using a hairdryer. Charlet said, “Our group all had roles and Rhuraidh was the engineer. He designed a turbine but the rest of us felt there was not enough detail to make the model and so Caitidh, our artist, added more. Then we used card for the blades and a pencil for the shaft. At first we taped the shaft to the desk but it wouldn’t go round so we fixed that problem by putting card over the pencil loosely so it could turn. Sadly, our Turbine only lifted the cup a little bit but did manage when we gave it a bit of a hand.  Next time we would change the size and shape of the blades and also use stronger wind power

Next term George Dean will be helping us to organise visits to the Islay wind turbine and other sites that generate or use renewable energy on Islay.

Learning how Energy impacts on the Environment

In P1/2/3 Maggie Harrison has been using a story called Who will Save Us? to introduce the concept of global warming.  All the children have been really engaged with learning all about the Antarctic and the penguins who live there and then how global warming might cause the ice to melt and affect not only penguins but other animals and people in different parts of the world too.  Iona made this fantastic poster and she said that she ‘didn’t like the bad gas getting stuck in the earth’s blanket and that we should save the penguins and polar bears!’

Engineering in Pre-School

Joint sessions of structured play have started with the nursery and P1/2 – these will continue on a weekly basis from now until the end of the session. Maggie Harrison and Alison Logan are working together to plan how to incorporate the development of engineering thinking into these, although with new giant wooden blocks and the KNEX purchased the children are building some amazing structures.

Maureen MacDonald and Maggie Harrison have had meetings with Headteachers from the other primary schools in Islay and Jura to see how they can be involved in our Rolls-Royce project next term.  Following the school being awarded a Digital Schools Award, the first school in Argyll & Bute to do so, Jo Clark was also interviewed with regards to a national website wanting to develop engineering skills across schools in the UK for the 2018 Year of Engineering.

November Diary

 

Renewables Engineering Islay – November Diary

 

Mentor Visit

We were all delighted to welcome Neil Chattle from Rolls-Royce to the school at the end of October. He spent time getting to know the team and having a tour of the school. He gave a presentation to the children in the afternoon and they had an opportunity to see some of the materials and parts that make up a Rolls-Royce jet engine.  We were all amazed that the cooling mechanism allows the engine to operate above it’s melting point and that it would be capable of preventing an ice cube melting in a hot oven!  Clever engineering indeed!  Neil introduced the children to the Bloodhound SSC.  Working in teams, the children then built model Bloodhounds powered by balloons and had a great afternoon trying to refine them to make them go faster.  Coincidentally, Neil’s visit was the day before the first public test run of the Bloodhound in Newquay, Cornwall…..so the whole school watched as the car made 210mph.  We will follow Bloodhound’s progress with interest.

 

Children as Leaders

Following leadership training, P6/7 children have been encouraged to set up clubs for younger pupils so we now have a KNEX Club and a Lego Club, in addition to the usual football, table tennis and dance clubs.  Maureen MacDonald, Headteacher, encourages us to promote leadership at all levels within the school. The clubs have been really well attended and we used some of the funding to purchase new KNEX and Lego material for them. Dearbhla says that ‘KNEX club is really fun because you make something new every time and I am learning new skills to make cubes that are really tricky.’ Donald, who runs the Lego Club said that “We are encouraging children to use their imagination and be creative with the Lego.” Charlie is promoting teamwork by asking children to build small components of bigger models.

After-School Clubs

We have started an after-school club for children from P4-7, supervised by Jo Clark.  Again there has been lots of interest in this and we are lucky to have the support of two senior pupils from Islay High School – Young STEM Ambassadors – to help us.  It’s great to have these young women to be positive role models for girls in the primary school. They have been giving children open-ended problem solving tasks where children have had to work together to solve a problem. Last week they were engineering a carrier to transport a ping pong ball down a zip-wire.

Tomorrow’s Engineers Week

Throughout the school we are continuing to promote engineering and develop engineering habits of mind.  As a school we engaged with Tomorrow’s Engineers Week. Jo Clark and P6/7 found out about sustainable engineering and the 6Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse, Rethink and Repair – to appreciate that the environment needs to be considered alongside any engineering solution and that any design needs to be both efficient and sustainable in terms of the environment. Matthew Campbell says ‘We had to  rank the 6Rs in order – I thought that reuse was the best one because things can be used many times are best for the environment.” They were tasked with building a “Helping Hand Grabber’ which had to have a reach of 1m.  In Kate Brown’s P4/5 class the children looked at different types of bridge design.  They then worked in groups to build some fantastic bridges.  Already Kate could see progress in her children from the initial bridges that were built on the baseline build.  In P1/2/3 Maggie Harrison invited parents in to join their children doing an engineering challenge – design and build a chair for baby bear, who had cruelly had his chair ruined when Goldilocks visited.  Alison Logan and all the children in the Nursery have been making the most of the new resources we have bought for them – Kids KNEX and stories like Rosie Revere, Engineer.  This week we are starting our joint sessions – structured play for pre-5 children and P1 and P2 together.  Maggie and Alison will be working together on this; once the children are settled into this new routine this will be an ideal opportunity to share practice in developing engineering skills.

Thinking about Energy

Meanwhile the whole school are continuing to think about how we use energy in our school and in our lives.  Our new Eco-monitors are being vigilant about switching off lights and George Dean from the Islay Energy Trust is going to get the school some energy meters. The Islay Energy Trust is a community-owned charity. Its aims are to develop and operate renewable energy projects for the benefit of the community, and to reduce the island’s carbon footprint. George will be supporting us with this project, organizing site visits for children and putting us in contact with different renewables companies that are looking to operate locally. P4/5 are busy organizing activities for Switch Off fortnight – more news to follow.  In all the classes we have started looking at the effect that our energy use has on the planet and this will be our focus for the rest of this term. Maureen MacDonald and Maggie Harrison have met the Parent Council and are promoting the project more widely in the community.