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.

Bee Learning in P12

As part of our biodiversity topic we have been learning all about bees in P12.  Bees are very important to keep our world healthy as they pollinate all the plants we eat.  Fiona from the Islay Natural History Trust came in and told us all about bees and how they live and make honey.  We also had a visit from Jacob in primary 5 who is doing Beekeeping for his Endeavour topic and showed us his Bee suit and model hive he made with his Papa.  We now know lots about bees!

Port An Eas Distillery

In school we made a distillery and a company for whisky.  Our group was called Port An Eas.  We made the distilleries in groups of five people and our group had Evie, Hugh, Connor, Iona and Calin . Everyone in the group had a different role in our Distillery: Evie is milling and mashing, Hugh is casks and ageing Connor is distillation, Iona is malting and peat and Callin is fermentation.

To make our whisky drinks we had lots of whisky smells and we had to pick the three smells that we liked best.  Together we chose rose, caramel and coconut. A few Days later we made teas that replicated the smells that we chose with different flavours of tea.  You can make it with 4tsp of black cat caramel tea, 3tsp of rose black tea ,1 pukka relax tea bag and 6 leaves of stevia.

We made are distillery with card and some modelling card to make it stand up because it is a circle it couldn’t stand up on its on own so we cut up strips of card to hold it up.



Our Loch Lili Distillery

Our Loch Lili distillery is near a loch and it is located there because it is near water. Our distillery’s special features are we grow our barley on the roof and we have  a windmill outside.  It is located there because it is near a ferry so we would have  some tourists around. But the negatives are too many tourists about  and that could be a problem. We made a model distillery and this is a picture.


Our Glenastle Distillery

In school we have been making distillery’s.  My distillery group was called Glenastle.  The different jobs are; manager which is William; casks and ageing which is Jack; Jacob is the still man and Teddy is the malting and peat. Our distillery  its sited on Glenastle because there is 2 locks for water and the bottle is like a triangle shape so it can be packaged easy. The disadvantages is the roads  are dirt tracks and the ground is not level so you have to level it or the distillery will be squint.  We designed our own drinks and made the distilleries as models.  We will be presenting to parents so they can see what we have learned.

Bottle Rockets

Last week students from the University of Exeter Engineering department came to our school and made bottle rockets with us. We had to design and make the fins and decorations on our rockets so they would fly straight. We went outside to launch them. They launched ours and it went flying and almost went in the field.   The one that went the furthest had a lego figure attached called Dave!  Thanks Exeter University for coming and visiting us.

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 !

P12 Distilleries Presentation

Yesterday afternoon we presented our distilleries to our class. We needed to think about how we built our model, ensure we spoke clearly and used as much distillery language as possible and could answer questions from our friends. We gave each other feedback on our designs using 2 stars and a wish.

Biodiversity IDL

This morning P12 started our new IDL topic of biodiversity. We joined lots of schools across the UK to meet with Keeping Scotland Beautiful, The National Book Trust and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. We found out about the importance of food chains and how all species rely on each other, we got to meet the endangered Pine Hoverflys and Wolves at The Highland Wildlife Park and meet with author Gill Lewis to talk about some of her books which are about how humans and animals can work together to make a difference.

Barley Germination P12

Last week P12 had the challenge of trying to get barley to germinate. Some of us decided we should put our barley outside (picture 1) this had two different outcomes. The barley which were left under/beside the train disappeared! We think some visitors ate it….. The barley that was protected by the creel was very wet but did begin to germinate slightly. The barley that was in the fridge (picture 2) went mouldy although it did begin to germinate too which Mrs Hannett was surprised at! The barley which was left in the classroom by the window and kept damp germinated beautifully and we will attempt to plant this tomorrow. Fingers crossed the deer don’t get it!

Primary 1 and 2 Trip To Bruichladdich

Well what an amazing day we have had! We left school and took the big new bus to Bruichladdich distillery where we went on a tour with Lesley who taught us all about the whisky process. After that we went back to the shop and met Kate and James who are the foragers for The Botanist. They told us all about their jobs and let us make our own bases for gin. Then we headed to the brand room to meet Adam and Julie. Adam told us about his job making the whiskey for Bruichladdich and answered our tricky questions and Julie helped us realise that the things we enjoy doing provide us with skills which we could apply to jobs when we are older. We then headed down to Port Mor for our lunch where Basia, Eilidh and Ranga had been busy making us cakes for our pudding. Luckily it didn’t rain so we got to have a good run about in the park before heading to the museum of Islay Life. It was tiring so some of us had a wee snooze on the way home! The children were superb today, fantastic behaviour, awesome questions and good listening! Well done P1/2!


Weighing in P12

During our maths time today, we started talking about weight. We found it tricky at first to think about the different things we would need to weigh and why. After some discussion we realised we needed weight for cooking and some people like to weigh themselves too. We had a go at weighing ourselves and were amazed at how much Mrs Hannett weighed….we think she needs to stop eating biscuits in the staff room! We then used the balancing scales to see if we could find two things that weighed the same, this was really hard. In the end we worked together to estimate how many pieces of Kappla we needed to to balance a block.

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!



P234 went to visit the RSPB farm at Gruinart.  Here is a wee video from the trip. We had a fantastic time and it was very ;hands on” – much to the children’s delight. A huge thanks to the RSPB for organising such a great visit.

Buddy Session

This afternoon we had our second buddy session and we had a harvest tea. Miss Brown read us a story called Annette’s baguette to set the theme for the afternoon. The big ones taught the littles how to make bread as they have been doing lots of cooking in class of late and the littles shared the brambles they had harvested and turned into jelly once the bread was cooked. We then worked with our buddy to make a harvest card to be added into the harvest bags for some of the older people in our community.



Bramble Picking

This afternoon we went to harvest some brambles along the Croft roads. We practised some road safety along the way, ensuring that we stopped, looked and listened before crossing the road and made sure our partners kept safe too. We worked in teams of 4 to collect as many brambles as we could. In total we collected over 1kg! Mrs Hannett took them home tonight and boiled them up with jam sugar before straining our the juice and pouring it into sterilised jars. Hopefully tomorrow we will be able to taste some bramble jelly with our buddies from P5/6/7 and make some bread to go with it too!


Since space is so big we have not scratch the surface of it in our topic because space is endless and I mean it.

There was a new mars rover sent to mars called Perseverance. Its task was to collect samples from Mars to test if there was life there and it was packed with the first space helicopter. But the Chopper could go at least 10 meters and it would be retrieved by another shuttle and come back to earth in 2032.

Since there will be more space helicopters. I only know of the next one called dragonfly but this one will have four props this time plus will fly longer distance. I estimate 20 or 30 or maybe it might be to heavy and it might fly 10 meters who knows it could even fly 100 meters.

What I am try to say is space is endless we can’t search all of it because it will go on forever.

by Connor

Robotics- Learning New Digital Skills In Context

This year we received an Education Scotland CLPL grant to train staff in digital skills; for part of the project we have been learning computer science and technology to do with robotics.  A grant from the DigitalXtra fund has also  allowed us to purchase robotics equipment from early years up for the cluster, and has enabled the children to learn computer science outcomes in a meaningful way though programming their own robots.  This has been a really engaging way for pupils and teachers to engage with what can be quite tricky computer science concepts.

In Early years we used coda-pillars, Dash and Dot, Rugged Robot, Beebot and Spheros to show our understanding of computational thinking by coding the robots to follow an algorithm.

We learned all our computational thinking concepts using Barefoot Computing online, a fabulous and flexible resource.

We found there were lots of online resources that worked well even down to Early years and we made good use of them- lots of tinkering going on!

We made maps for the robots to move around and made them flash and play music as well as they followed the algorithms.

We then came up with our own designs for robots using engineering design principles and built them out of junk.


We think the robots looked fantastic!

Primary 3/4/5 have also been learning about robots and designing their own.  They learned about computational thinking and applied their skills making jam sandwiches and in Scratch.  They experimented with different robots like Spheros and Dash and dot.  With help from P67 they learned how to program Microbits to record temperatures and used this as a data handling high quality maths assessment.

First they designed their robots using engineering and iteration.

They then chose to program their microbits as part of their final robot design.  The builds were very imaginative.

With more experience of coding through Scratch and hour of code, P67 were able to take on more challenge.  They learned to use blocks rather than tracks to code the Spheros and were able to use them in maths to learn about angles in polygons by programming them to draw shapes using conditionals and loops, also programming games.  They then learned how to program Microbits.

Their final challenge was to look at Robotics holistically and design a robot to solve one of the world’s/Islay’s problems by using the sustainable development goals as a framework.  I adapted a Sway I found to structure their learning and used the great new tools on the new Microbit website which include programming based around the SDGs.

The children then used a design sheet to plan their robots.

For the elderly of Islay we had robots that were pedometers designed to help them keep fit and robots that made an alarm if the temperature got too cold to warn you it was icy out.  For children we had a robot that timed you washing your hands to prevent Coronavirus by playing Happy Birthday and one that timed you brushing your teeth.  For Farmers a child programmed a microbit to light up when dark, that could be fixed onto black Cows so they were easy to spot if on the road at night (cows are often free range on Islay!).  Another light sensitive device was to warn dolphins of underwater turbines at night.

The schools designs were then all shared with parents at an open afternoon in Science week, where children had to explain, demonstrate and discuss their new found digital skills.  It was clear lots of new digital skills were learned by everyone.






Robotics in P3/4/5

We have been doing robotics in school recently.  The children have been learning to think like a computer and develop their digital language and skills.  They have learnt how to code a robot using block code using microbits, spheros and dash.

They then had to design and build their own junk model model robot with a microbot to solve a problem in our classroom.  One was a ‘ghost tracker’ which identified if there was a ghost in the room by changing symbols on the microbit when the model was shaked.

Follow the link below to hear how it works.

Maldives Scientist Glow Meet

Recently we had a Glow meet with two scientist that are working about Whalesharks mainly around the Maldives. Their names where Alina Wieczorek, and Giulia. They were also telling us about; Plastic  turns into miniature microplastics, and then when whalesharks eat their food, they can be possibly eating tiny microplastics which can damadge their bodies, and it can lead to death sometimes. Whalesharks eat plankton.

The scientists also said that when the Whalesharks eat plankton, the plankton may already have plastic inside of it, so when they eat it they are eating plankton but also some plastic/or microplastics.

There was also something about a Whaleshark and its baby, and the mother was staying with its baby, even though the baby just recently died because of the milk from the mother.The milk was poisoned from the ammount of plastic the mother had recently eaten.

The two scientists  were  from Ireland, and Switzerland. There were also some facts we were given that we already

Global Data

Primary 6&7 have been using a great resource so they can look at data from around the world and use it to compare life in different countries.

Using the Gapminder tools online they have been able to compare things like income, life expectancy and child mortality for a range of places around the world, creating their own comparison graphs on Excel.

They have also visited Dollar Street, a fantastic tool that show exactly what it means to live on one of the four income levels, no matter where in the world you live.  The children have researched a family living on one of the income levels, and created a fact file.  We now know a lot more about the world around us, based on facts!

Beach Clean 2019

On Thursday 21st March the whole of Port Ellen Primary School went down to the co-op beach for a beach clean.  There was also people from high school to help, they where the John Muir group, and also ReJIG.  Before everyone went we got put into groups of 5. There was 10 groups. I got paired with Chloe, Katy, Christopher and Phoenix.  P67 had created a survey so we could find out what the different types of plastic were that we foundon the beach.  There were lots of small bits of plastic between 2.5 and 50cm long, but the biggest plastic pollutant was ropes and nets from fishing boats.  You can see the results in the graph below.  We collected 2 bags full of rubbish, lots of it was plastic. Altogether the school got 900 bits of plastic rubbish off the shore. When we left all the beach had was sand and seaweed.




Rolls-Royce Look Back


This year Port Ellen Primary School have been in the finals of the Rolls-Royce science prize and we have had the BBC in to film us with all of our engineering that we have done over the past year.  We also have a mentor called Neil Chattle and he has helped us all through the year.

Four people from this school went to the Celebration of science in Glasgow with their wind turbine and did very well.  We also had a finalist in the younf Imagineers comptition and took part in the BP Stem Challenge.  We have learned lots about renewables and engineering and are know much better at engineering.  It has been a very successful project and I now want to be a civil engineer.



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