Renewables Engineering Islay – April Diary
With Easter on the horizon the team decided that we’d do a bit of…..
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.
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.