Community Project

For my community project I volunteered at a local foodbank in my area (East Kilbride). They have 10 foodbanks set up within churches in the area, which are open 6 days a week, and they aim to help families who are facing financial difficulty and don’t have enough money to buy all the food they require as a family. They can pick up a food parcel for their family with no questions asked in a judgement free area, because sometimes people can feel ashamed to ask a foodbank for help. Families can financially struggle a lot more a Christmas time so places like this are vital for people who may not be able to put food on the table at the festive period. They take donations for the public such as canned foods like tuna, pasta, tinned fruit or veg, chocolate, sweets, diluting juice and create parcels with the necessities to feed a family. They also take donations of clothing for children and adults who may struggle to buy clothing and at Christmas time they take donations of presents for children who may not get a lot at this time of year. They have a number of volunteers who are on hand to give out the parcels and to chat to the families to make it a more welcoming environment where they dont need to feel embarrassed.


I volunteered for one afternoon and worked with the other volunteers to hand out food parcels to the people who came in. Before coming to the foodbank I knew that people used them and what there purpose was, but I was surprised at just how many people in my local area struggled to put food on the table and it really opened my eyes to just how lucky I am to have 3 meals a day and not have to second think it. Realising how many people used the foodbank was a challenge for me as it made me quite upset that I had been so oblivious before but I really enjoyed giving the parcels out and having chats with the people who came in. It made me feel like I was doing something useful and making someone’s day better, I learned that some people that came for food didn’t have a lot of family or people to speak to and that sometimes the food bank is the only place that they can have a chat so this made it even more important for me to communicate and allow them that chance for a talk.

This experience taught me that we all have a responsibility for each other in our community and if we can help others then we should because no one should struggle to put food on the table. However, I don’t think there is enough being done to let people know that these foodbanks rely on donations and they are constantly running low on supplies. This experience also taught me a lot about myself. I already knew that I was a caring person but I learned that I really do have compassion for people who aren’t better off than me and that I can really make a big difference in someone’s life even through something as simple as a conversation and that is defiantly something I am going to make an effort to do more of. This also taught me that my communication skills are improving all the time because I used to struggle with it but I felt more confident whilst volunteering and this is important as communicating is a UWS Graduate Attribute (UWS, 2018) and a skill I will need for my future as a teacher. The foodbank has also taught me to be more appreciative of what I have because the things I take for granted such as food and clothes are things that people in my own local area struggle to have.

After volunteering at the foodbank I decided to create two Christmas parcels (one for a boy and one for a girl, aged 8) filled with hat, scarf, gloves, some toys and a selection box and handed it in so that 2 more children will wake up with presents on Christmas day because that is something I have always been lucky enough to have and now that I have been on placement in a school I would never want to think one of my pupils didn’t have food, clothing or a present on Christmas day. I felt really good after volunteering and making the Christmas parcels and it is something I will continue to do from now on as my part in my community.

A volunteering opportunity like this allows people to use their people skills around all different kinds of people and their communication skills as well as allowing themselves to become more socially aware, which are all vital within a classroom as there are all different types of children with all different backgrounds and you need to be able to talk to them and staff within the school too.

This experience could link into sustainability as it reduces food waste if people, who would normally put unwanted (in date) food in the bin, gave it into foodbanks instead where it could be used by people who need it. It could also link into inter-professional working as a teacher may notice a pupil who is hungry all the time and through different processes of intervention may be able to introduce foodbanks in the area to the parents or carers through social services.

I really enjoyed my time at the food bank and it opened my eyes to something I have been ignorant to before and now I will take this forward with me and think about it in everything that I do. I don’t know what goes on in peoples life’s and it is important to always be compassionate and understanding, in a foodbank, a classroom and in general.


University of the West of Scotland (2018) UWS Graduate Attributes [Online] Available:[Accessed:27th November 2019]


Week 9 and 10: Energy

Over these two weeks we looked at energy. Before starting this topic I didn’t have a great deal of knowledge of what energy was or what it actually meant although I knew small things like what fossil fuels were. In the lecture we looked at the basics: what energy is and examples of energy usage in our world. The Oxford Dictonary (2019) defines energy as “a source of power, such as fuel, used for driving machines, providing heat etc.” As a future teacher I think it is important that children are taught about energy and where it comes from as it has an impact on the environment and they need to be aware of what it is doing to the world around them when non-renewable energy (fossil fuels) is used instead of renewable (wind, wave etc), this will allow them to be more aware of the effect choices they make can have and the importance of finding new ways to create their energy that is good for the environment too. This could link in with the previous topic we looked at on climate change and how fossil fuels are contribuiting to it. In the lecture I learned that we only have 50 years left of oil (Business Standard, 2015) which highlighted to me how important it is to teach children about other energy sources as well as highlighting to me that I need to be more conscious of what I am doing with fossil fuels in my life. A video that I would show to my class to help them understand what energy is could be Dr. Binoc’s as he is easy to watch and would keep children engaged while learning:

The first workshop I was in was science. We started by completing a quiz on fossil fuels so that we could highlight what we knew and what we didn’t know and then we discussed answers in our groups. We then got our fossils that we had created, from the previous week, back so that we could see the finished result and I think this is a good class activity as it is simple but keeps children engaged over a period of time because they have to wait to get their finished fossil. My favourite activity in class today was making the dinosaur puppets which could be cross circular with arts in a classroom. I think doing activities like this is important when teaching pupils topics as it keeps learning fun and moving between different tasks keeps them active and interested.

The next workshop was focusing on windfarms and debate. We started in small groups of 4/5 and had to research the pros and cons of wind turbines. This allowed us to all get our point across and for no ones voice to be left out. Then we joined up with another group and had to share our facts with each other and after that we joined up with another group and we got told if we were going to be the for or against team. My group was the team for windfarms and I was chosen to be one of the debaters. This pushed me out of my comfort zone as I still am not very confident in talking in front of bigger groups but looking back I am glad that I done it as it will help me grow in confidence the more I do it. This whole task helped me develop my skills in being collaborative as I had to work with others to come up with arguments and share ideas and it also helped me become a more effective communicator as we had to share in large groups and I then had to present to the class. Both these skills are UWS Graduate Attributes (UWS, 2018) and are both important in becoming a teacher as I will have to be able to communicate to a class and work with other professionals. I found this session useful as it highlighted the importance of encouraging debate in a classroom as it gets children to work with people they may not have previously as well as allowing the to research, communicate, form arguments and work with others. It is also a fun and active activity that will keep children engaged in the topic.

For the second week of this topic we looked at technology. I was in the section that focused on ‘tinkering’ as a way of learning. We were given lots of different materials such as balloons, tape, lego, and string. The only instruction given was to make a vehicle that could move on its own. This was my favourite activity of the whole module as it gave us so much freedom to use our imaginations and be creative. The main body of our car was a balloon and we used a sheet of plastic to fan the car which allowed it to move on its own. This task highlighted how important it is for children to have freedom to be creative as it allows for critical thinking to put something together rather than following set instructions, it allows children to use their initiative because they dont have someone telling them what to do. I definitely felt a sense of achievement when our car moved on its own so I can imagine how a child would feel. We then came back together as a whole class and heard that the other section had to build their vehicle by following a set of instructions and then we discussed the pros and cons of tinkering and following instruction. Both had advantages and disadvantages such as tinkering allows for creativity but might cause children to show of what they have made and make others feel like they didn’t do as well whereas following instructions means their isnt the opportunity to be creative however the end product for everyone is the same. This task improved my problem solving skills which is another UWS Graduate Atribute (UWS, 2018) as I had to think about how we could make the car move and it isn’t something I have had to do before.

CfE Experiences and outcomes (Education Scotland, 2017) that the Energy topic could cover are:

  • I am aware of different types of energy around me and can show their importance to everyday life and my survival. SCN 1-04a
  • By investigating renewable energy sources and taking part in practical activities to harness them, I can discuss their benefits and potential problems. SCN 3-04b (This could link to the windfarm debate activity)

I  enjoyed this topic as it has increased my knowledge around energy and the importance of renewable sources that I didn’t think about before but now I know that children need to know to allow them to make informative decisions on energy use, and it has shown me all the skills and knowledge pupils could gain from it through a range of activities and now feel like I would be comfortable teaching this while making it fun.


Education Scotland (2017) Curriculum For Excellence: Experiences and Outcomes [Online] Available: [Accessed: 24th of November

2019]University of the West of Scotland (2018) UWS Graduate Attributes [Online] Available: [Accessed: 24th November 2019]

Oxford Dictionary. 2019. Energy. [Online] Available: [Accessed 24th November 2019]




Week 7 and 8: Natural Disasters

Over these two weeks we looked at natural disasters and how this topic could be taught to a primary class. I really enjoyed this topic as it was very interesting and there was lots of activities that could be used to incorporate it into teaching. I think its important to teach children about natural disasters as it is real life. Halacha (2012) states “Disasters take children beyond their immediate surroundings and into the wider world” meaning although in Scotland we are lucky to not be effected children still need to be aware of what is happening in the world, however we have to be careful of what we show the children depending on the age group.

In the lecture we learnt what natural disasters were. They are a sudden event that seriously disrupts a community and causes human material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the communities ability to cope using its own resources (Red Cross Foundation, 2019). In a classroom I may use a video like this to help children have a better understanding of disasters:


I was in the science lab for the first workshop this week and we got to carry out different science experiments to demonstrate natural disasters like volcanos. My favourite, and one that I would use in a classroom as it is easy to prepare and resources are easily available was the volcano eruption. We put fairy liquid and water into a beaker and added food colouring (to demonstrate lava) and the poured in vinegar and baking soda which caused a reaction like a volcano erupting. There was also a task that involved chipping away at rocks, however I wouldn’t use this in a classroom for safety reasons as I wouldn’t want to give pupils dangerous tools. I enjoyed these activities in this workshop as it showed me that although disasters is a serious topic to teach it can also be fun and interesting for the pupils.

The 2nd workshop was looking at the more political side of natural disasters. We looked at what countries do to prepare, respond and recover from disasters as well as looking at some case studies. One of the activities that we completed was a tree diagram, so the trunk was the issue i.e. earthquake, the roots were the causes, the branches were the impact and the apples on the branches were solutions. I found this activity really fun as it made me think more in depth but we got to lay it out in a fun way and I would use this in a classroom as it more engaging that just writing lists or bullet points for each heading. We then looked at the case study on Hurricane Mathew and the impact it had on two countries, Florida and Haiti. These two videos that I have linked below show the difference between richer and poorer countries when affected by natural disasters. Florida had the media outlets to warn people of what was going to happen to allow time to prepare as well as having stronger infrastructures and the money to be able to recover faster in the aftermath whereas Haiti (one of the poorest countries in the world) did not have the resources to be able to warn people, and the buildings and homes weren’t strong or structured well enough to cope with the impact, leaving thousands without homes. They also didn’t have the government funding to be able to recover quickly afterwards which meant aid agencies such as the British Red Cross had to help in the recovery process through donations from all over the world. I enjoyed this task as it gave me a better understanding on the economic influence on natural disasters that I didn’t really have before and this would definitely be a task that I would use in a class but I would be aware of what videos I showed the pupils so that they weren’t frightened.



For the 2nd week of the natural disasters topic we had to do a presentation to the rest of the class, in groups of 6/7, on a specific type of disaster that we had been given the week before. My group had earthquakes as our topic. We spoke about what an earthquake is, what causes them, what impact they can have and how people recover from them. We discussed how we would teach earthquakes to a class and activities we would use such as having the children in groups and giving them a case study each and they create a fact file to share with the rest of the class. I really enjoyed listening to all the other groups as it gave me a much better understanding of each type of disaster and different ways to teach it and now I feel comfortable with teaching this to a class in the future, whereas before I would have been nervous as I wouldn’t have known how to approach such a sensitive topic. A video we used in our earthquake presentation was:

Natural disasters could be used in the experiences and outcomes (Education Scotland, 2017):
I can describe the physical processes of a natural disaster and discuss its impact on people and the landscape.
SOC 2-07b
I have contributed to discussions of current scientific news items to help develop my awareness of science. SCN 1-20a
The impact on people and landscapes links in to the workshop with Louise where we discussed the political and economic side of natural disasters and the E and O on scientific news can be used as disasters are something that are happening all around the world and children will be able to research and discuss what events are happening just now.

Again, I really enjoyed learning about natural disasters and have developed a much better understanding on the topic along with the consequences of the disasters and the organisations that can help in the aftermath, that I didn’t have before. I enjoyed learning about different activities that can be used with children when teaching to make lessons enjoyable. There was lots of videos available online that could also be used in a class as I find that children are a lot more engaged when watching a video that contains images. Through this module I have improved my knowledge which is a UWS Graduate Attribute (UWS, 2018). I am looking forward to teaching this topic in the future now that I have a better understanding of the best way to teach it to children, and in a way that will keep them engaged.


Education Scotland (2017) Curriculum For Excellence: Experiences and Outcomes [Online] Available: [Accessed: 25th of October 2019]

University of the West of Scotland (2018) UWS Graduate Attributes [Online] Available: [Accessed: 25th October 2019]

Halacha. J (2012) The Primary Teacher’s Guide to Geography. Witney: Scholastic.


Week 5 and 6: Interdependence

During these 2 weeks the focus was on interdependence and what it means. Interdependence is the way that two or more living things rely on each other to be able to remain healthy and grow, for example cows and their farmers are interdependent as the cows rely on the farmer to feed them and give them a safe environment while the farmer relies on the cow for milk or meat to make an income. We visited two farms to give us a better understanding of this (explained further down). Interdependence is split into 3 categories:

  • Environmental (the one we focused on) – ideas such as every species has a function to fulfill in sustaining the web of life
  • social – ideas such as the worldwide demand for market access
  • economical – ideas such as the global market and trading

I have linked a video that I would show a class when teaching interdependence to deepen their understanding of the definition and to allow them a more visual perspective which they may be able to relate to.

We visited two farms on week 5 to widen our understanding of interdependence and to allow us to see it in action. the two farms were very different from each other but both fulfilled the same role, producing milk.

The first farm was Mossgiel Farm, a small organic farm near Mauchline. It was small and made up with 2 sheds for the cows and a family home. It felt welcoming and all the workers seemed happy to be there. The farmer who owned the farm, Bryce, started of by telling us about the farms history and how it had came to be what it was today. He was very passionate when explaining to us about being an organic farm and how his cows are fed grass and allowed to roam the fields. Then we got to see the cow shed and the milking parlour as well as the area where the milk is produced. This let us understand interdepence as the cows eat the grass which helps them produce organic, high quality milk which is then bottled and sent to shops for customers to buy. The customers need the milk to give them their intake of nutrients such as calcium but the cows need the customers to buy the milk or they wouldn’t need to be milked which can cause the cow harm. This farm also seemed very responsible for the cows welfare and allowed calves to have a relationship with their mum and they did not remove their horns to see if they gave the cows more personality, the cows were only milked 1 to 2 times a day. I found this farm very interesting and it gave me a clearer idea of where my dairy products come from and a sense of gratefulness for the work that everyone does to allow us to have these products. I think this is important for me to understand as a teacher so that I can explain to pupils the importance of interdependence and where their food comes from. This would link in with “I have observed living things in the environment over time and am becoming aware of how they depend on each other.” SCN 0-01a (Education Scotland, 2017), as the pupils could be involved with a trip to the farm to see the processes and interdependence in play.

The second farm was Strandhead Farm, a large technologically advanced farm near Tarbolton. It was very different to the first farm, it was drastically bigger and everything from feeding the cows to cleaning the floors was carried out by robots. The cows were kept inside at all times to make sure they ate enough in order to be milked 5 to 6 times a day. Calves were removed from their mothers very soon after birth and placed in a small pen (image below). I understood the need for the robots due to the larger area and more cows but I didn’t like the idea of the cows not being allowed outside and this definitely gave me more knowledge about where my dairy comes from (which is something I hadn’t really thought about before) and allowed me to think more critically off it which is a UWS Graduate Attribute. the farmer did say that the cows were well looked after and had everything they needed but I think I preferred the more organic approach. An experience and outcome that this visit with pupils could have would be “I understand how local shops and services use technologies to provide us with what we need and want in our daily lives.” TCH 0-07a (Education Scotland, 2017), as the children can see the technology being used within this farm to produce milk that they can then buy.

I think its important to show pupils the contrasting farming environments to understand interdependence and the different forms it can take as well as broadening their understanding of where their products come from and the different farms that there is.

After looking at the UWS Graduate Attributes (UWS 2018), and reflecting on this experience, for me as a learner I feel like I gained more knowledge as I didn’t fully understand the term ‘interdependence’ but now I do. It also allowed me to become more of a critical thinker in terms of how the cows were reared and were the food and drinks I am consuming actually come from and what I think is right and wrong. From a teaching perspective I think the skills such as being more knowledgeable and critically thinking are important as a teacher, as well as a learner, but I also feel more ethically aware after the farm visits and I think that’s important in a classroom as it allows for discussion (similar to critical thinking) to what might be right or wrong.

I enjoyed the farm visit and look forward to teaching similar ideas to this one on interdependence.


Education Scotland (2017) Curriculum For Excellence: Experiences and Outcomes [Online] Available: [Accessed: 31st of October 2019]

University of the West of Scotland (2018) UWS Graduate Attributes [Online] Available: [Accessed: 31st October 2019]


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