Category Archives: Primary 34

P34 news

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.

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.

 

Burns Ceilidh

Our Burns celebrations were a fantastic affair filled with dancing, music and poems. There was a great turn out from the local community – many thanks to our judges and Nigel Morris. Well done to the children for dancing so enthusiastically and performing so well!

The Mod

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On Saturday 4th June Port Ellen Primary School choir went to the Local mod on Islay.  The mod was held in the high school in Bowmore. The choir won the unison and came 2nd in the peaurt a bheil.  Also ten people from the choir won the psalm. For the unison you have two songs and in our first song Mrs Macdonald made a mistake so we thought there was no chance of us winning but with our second song, Latha Math, we did really well and we got high marks for Gaelic and music from the Judges which meant we won.  Lots of individuals did well also- Rowan was covered in gold medals!  The Primary 1-3 class also did a fab action song.  We really enjoyed taking part and improving our Gaelic.

World Orienteering Day

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We had a fantastic afternoon on Wednesday 11th May, World Orienteering Day.  There were courses available at all levels, from picture courses for nursery children, adding up sums courses for infants right up to tricky courses for our P5-7 orienteering experts. It was great to have such a good turn out of parents, who were very game taking part. Parents also had an opportunity to try out our i-orienteering course using our new ipads and it gave them a taster of what we hope to develop further around the village.

The Results are in!

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P3/4 have been conducting lots of different plant experiments using fair testing techniques.  They have chosen one variable and kept all other conditions the same, testing for heat, water, light, soil and plant food.  One group was amazed to see a broad bean growing in sand!  The beans in the boiler house germinated and grew really quickly but the leaves were very pale and the plants did not look too healthy so we decided that a combination of heat, light and water works best!  They worked in groups to produce a scientific report using powerpoints. Some of the plants will be used in the Pocket Picnic garden.

Explaining Everything

P3/4 have been learning about parts of a plant and what each part does.  They have also learned about photosynthesis – the process where plants make energy for carbon dioxide and water using energy from the sun and chlorophyll in leaves.  They used a new app on the ipads called Explain Everything to show what they had learned.

Seeds from Space

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P3/4 are now officially plant scientists. Along with lots of other schools from across the country we are taking part in a scientific experiment to find out about the effect of space on plant growth.  We were given two packets of seeds from the Royal Horticultural Society – one normal rocket seeds and the other a packet that have been to the International Space Station with Tim Peake.  We have learned all about fair testing and randomisation and the seeds are now sitting waiting to grow.  We will keep you posted of progress and our results!

Trip to the Pontoons

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On Monday 25th April P3/4 went to see the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust boat. It is called the Silurian.

The Silurian was fancy. It had ten beds, a toilet, a shower and a galley. On deck there was a huge steering wheel and dials. A digital map was on top of the steering wheel. There was a thing that tells you how much knots the wind is going. The boat is 20m long, double the size of my dad’s boat because my dad’s is only 10m.

I learned about whales and dolphins. The biggest whale in Scotland is the minke whale and the smallest is the porpoise.

 

By Drew, P3

Whale and Dolphin Boat

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On Monday we went to visit the Silurian. It was awesome. There were ten beds. We had to search for things up on top of the deck and down below the deck. They had toilets and showers on the boat.

Then we did learning about whales and dolphins where we listened to the sounds they made under the water. I learned that sperm whales have 40 teeth in their mouth and they go deep down into the sea and use clicks to see their prey.

 

By Donald, P4

Silurian Visit

On Monday 25th April we went down to the pontoons at the pier to see the Silurian which is the boat of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust. We had to put on life jackets.

The Silurian was a yacht. It was very nice and fancy. First we investigated the boat. We found out that the boat had ten beds, a galley, a bathroom, a dining room, a crows nest, a steering wheel, two masts and sails. The front of the boat is the bow and the back is the stern.

I learned about basking sharks. I also learned about the sounds of dolphins and whales and that people listen for the sounds underwater using a hydrophone.

 

By Ciaran, P4

Beat the Flood

IMG_2701For National Science and Engineering Week P3/4 were trying to Beat the Flood.  This was a challenge set by Practical Action to try and design and build a floodproof house that could stand up to flooding and monsoon rains.  The design also had to be sustainable, use materials available on a small Pacific Island and be cheap to build.  This innovative design has a water catcher and grows food on the roof so that people can still eat if the land around has been flooded.

Wild Weather

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P3/4 investigated extreme weather events as part of their weather topic.  Charlet Rose found out about the flash flooding in Boscastle in 2004.  She discovered the cause of the flooding and used weather data to show the rainfall pattern over this event.  She found out how the flash flooding affected the people and the disruption it caused.  This was a great piece of work that pulled together learning in literacy, numeracy and social studies. Well done Charlet Rose.

Investigating Microclimate

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P3/4 have been investigating the microclimate in the school grounds.  They used digital thermometers on loan from the Royal Meteorological Society to record the temperatures at different places in the school grounds.  It was a great way to consolidate all they had learned about maps as part of their orienteering.  They then worked in the group to produce a scientific report complete with prediction, method, results, bar chart and explanation.  A great piece of work!

Weather

weatherPrimary 34 topic this term is weather.  They have been finding out which clouds are which, facts about storm Henry and they have been making graphs on excel about how high wind speeds are. We have made rain gauges and anonometers to measure the wind speed.  We have also made an animation of the water cycle.  It was very interesting to learn about.

P3/4 walk a mile walk

walk p34On Thursday we went on a walk up the distillery path behind the school car park.  We walked to the gate halfway to Ardbeg and then we turned back and started to come back to the school. This was one mile. If we walk a mile then we will get stamina. When we where back at the school we went to a rock behind the car park then we had a race. We ran along the wall,then to the wooden hut then we came back to the rock,had a seat then we went home. And we were all tired. Braeden said he thought it was quite good and Orla enjoyed it too.

by Rhys, Ciaran