Christie Mackay UWS ITE ePDP

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September 28, 2016
by ChristieMackay

Learning Log 1: The Environment


Key Learning:

I learnt about both the natural and urban environment. The natural environment is made up of the elements which surround you, for example: the land, the people and the community. It is important to teach sustainable development and the environment topic. If pupils can form a relationship with nature, and become interested in it, then they are more likely to care and look after it.

The urban environment refers to a built-up area such as a town or city. Urban areas tend to be packed full of buildings, roads, factories and transport.
Cities are responsible for a large amount of carbon emissions, whether this is from deforestation or burning of fossil fuels. There are a finite amount of fossil fuels and the demand for these is much greater than the supply.
As there is an increasing growth of the human population the urban areas must grow to suit. This can lead to cutting down forests, to make more space for buildings, which results in the loss of animal habitats and then eventually the loss of different species.
Our urban area is able to support human growth, allow us to physically develop through health care, allow us to socially develop through clubs and communities and provide us with education. It also provides lifelong care such as nursing homes and provides resources for life. Our urban area allows us to interact with nature and shows the diversity of different species.

I also learnt about the different parts of a flower as well as the process of germination and photosynthesis. I also learnt that hydroponics is the process of growing a plant without soil.

Impact on my views/lifestyle/practice:

During the input on the environment we were able to go out onto the grounds surrounding the university and complete different tasks relating to the topic. We were given sheets with different types of plants, birds, insects and lichen and we were to go out a walk and try and identify them. This made me realise how little attention I pay when walking from the car park into the university as there were all these different species of living things that I had never really noticed before. It was good to get involved in the task.

I was able to look further into my own urban environment and it was interesting to see how many details you don’t really think about on a day to day basis. For instance I never really thought about the carbon emissions and how driving in my car every day is in some way adding onto this. It makes you think what a difference it would make if we were able to use different modes of transport, like the trams in Edinburgh, or try cycling to work and university instead of taking the car.

In the science lab we set up an experiment to compare the difference between two seedlings. One was set up with the complete solution and the other was without nitrogen. Over the course of the week we have been checking up on the seedlings and comparing the length and appearance of the two.

Areas of interest to explore further/develop:

I’m looking forward to becoming more confident about teaching science and sustainable development. To further develop my knowledge on the environment topic so far I am going to engage in some further reading as well as doing some more research online.

September 23, 2016
by ChristieMackay

The Urban Environment

My urban environment is Prestwick, a small town on the west coast of Scotland in South Ayrshire. This is the town which I grew up in and still live in to this day. Prestwick has a population of roughly 14,900 people.

Physical Characteristics
Prestwick is made up of all different types and styles of buildings. Sandstone buildings are very common, as are small brick bungalows. There are many different housing estates which are often made up of semi-detached houses. Prestwick has many different churches which are some of the oldest buildings in the town. There are now modern blocks of flats scattered throughout the town. Prestwick Academy was knocked down back in 2009 and a brand new modern school was build in its place. There are some historical buildings and features throughout Prestwick such as the Mercat Cross, which is now used as a war memorial, the Salt Pan Houses and Bruce’s Well.
The dual carriage way brings you in past Prestwick Airport and into Prestwick’s Main Street. The Main Street runs all the way along until it eventually leads you to Ayr. The Main Street breaks off into many other roads which then break off again. As there are lots of housing estates there are many roads, streets, avenues, crescents and cul-de-sacs.
There are many green spaces within walking distance. There is “the oval” which is a group of fields with a running track, play park and football fields. There are two different golf courses in Prestwick which provide a huge amount of green space. My favourite place is the beach which is within five minutes walking distance. It is used by many dog walkers, children playing at the two play parks, joggers and children playing on the fields in front of the promenade.

Luckily, everything in Prestwick is within walking distance from my house. However, if I was needing transport else where there are many ways of doing so. There are multiple bus stops throughout Prestwick, with many different routes and a regular timetable. The train station is also nearby and the easiest way to avoid rush hour traffic. Many people, like myself, drive to work and university and although traffic can become congested at rush hour this is nowhere near as bad as cities like Glasgow. Prestwick also has an airport. Prestwick also has a cycle path/route which runs all the way through and takes you to Troon.
Although planes, cars, buses and trains can make a lot of noise, as we are so used to hearing this all the time it just becomes a part of our daily lives and we see it as normal so don’t really notice it as much.

Community Spaces
Prestwick Main Street is full of many different businesses and places for the community to gather. It consists of food shops, restaurants, bars, cafes, clothes boutiques, hairdressers, beauticians, doctors surgeries, pharmacies, dentists, opticians, library, pet shops, veterinary practice, banks, post office, travel agents, art galleries, churches, estate agents and the police station. Further out there is the swimming pool, tennis centre, gym, community centre sailing club and golf clubs. There are three different primary schools in Prestwick and one secondary school. There are many activities and sports held in different locations, Scouts and Brownies, sailing club, soft play area are just a few of many.

Industry and Work
As mentioned previously, there are many different businesses in Prestwick town which gives opportunities for work. As well as that there is plenty of work available in retail, construction, mechanics and salesmen.

Air Quality
According to the Scottish Air Quality Website,, Prestwick has a score of 1. This is the lowest band, showing that Prestwick has very little air pollution. This is most likely because Prestwick is just a small town, it’s right next to the beach and surrounded by a lot of fields and farms. If you compare the air quality to a built up city such as Glasgow, it has a score of 2 showing that the air quality is not as pure and unpolluted as Prestwick.

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