Learning Log- Energy

During last weeks input we had an introduction to energy and the importance of renewable energy. We learned about hydro electric power, solar power and wind power. We had a debate over the whether wind turbines are actually good for the environment. I found this to be very useful for making up my own opinion on wind energy as there were a lot of point that I had not considered before. however I think this type of activity could be quite difficult to do with children because they would get distracted and not stay on task when being told to research the information required.

In today’s input we learned about ways we could teach energy in a practical, hands-on way through various activities.  In groups we carried out three different tasks; creating our own anemometer, a kite and a pinwheel. When carrying out these tasks we faced many challenges, such as the straws for the anemometer not being strong enough to stay straight and hold carry the cups, the cups not being durable and splitting when trying to pierce a hole in them, the binbag for kite being to flimsy to cut with scissors etc. These are all thing that you would have to test out before you presented the tasks to children to do themselves.

There were also many teaching implications that would have to be taken into consideration. Many of the tools we used today were sharp and could potentially be quite dangerous if used in the wrong way, therefore the children would have to be given a safety talk before being given the sharp scissors, hack saw, pins, stapler etc. The would also have to be supervised during the activities. It would also be important to allocate specific roles to children, such as a time keeper, a quality checker, a facilitator etc as when we carried out these tasks as a group ourselves there wasn’t always a job for everyone to do, or one person would take charge of everything.

Personally I feel that it is important that children have a good understanding of the importance of renewable energy, as we will soon run out of fossil fuels and must find alternative resources to overcome this issue. Children are the next generation that will be far more greatly affected by this than we will.

Learning Log: Climate change

This weeks input on climate change really opened my eyes as to whats going on in the world. I was shocked after seeing some of the visuals on the build up of CO2. screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-15-44-31

Before this weeks input I had not realised how bad the pollution in the air is. During the spring and the summer many plants can absorb some of the CO2 during photosynthesis. However after summer there is a build up of CO2 and although this change is expected, we are seeing a increase each year in the volume of CO2 in the atmosphere. This is contributing to the long term trend in the rise of global temperatures.

Another thing that I hadn’t been aware of was the amount of carbon monoxide that the southern hemisphere releases in to the atmosphere during summer.screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-15-49-21

This carbon monoxide build up is not as talked about as much as the CO2 build up, even though it is a harmful gas to not only the environment but humans as well.

I think because Climate change is something we do not always see the effects of, unless we were to watch a documentary about the icecaps melting in the antarctic, I think many people often forget about it. Also because it is something which is happening over a long period of time and changes are happening gradually this is another reason people forget about the importance of it. I think the media need to be publishing more stories and visual images like the ones above to show people the harm that is being created.

I also hadn’t been aware of how rapidly we have started using up our carbon budget. To not exceed 2 degrees celsius of warming means we cannot realise more than 3 trillion tones of CO2. However by 2011 we had used 65% already and if emissions continue to rise with the historical trend, we will have exceeded our budget of 3 trillion by 2033. I found this quite a scary fact and it is obvious that more needs to be done to prevent this.

When looking into ways to reduce my carbon foot print, something that I hand not considered before was my diet. I had never thought about how the things I eat can have a large impact on the planet. I will try to at more veg and slightly less meat and I will also try to make sure I purchase more locally grown food whenever possible, rather than imported fruit and veg from supermarkets. There were also a number of tips on how to make your car journeys more efficient, which I spoke about in my direct study task, that I will now take into consideration when driving.

I think it is important that children learn about climate change as, without scaring them about the dangers that are arising, they still need to be aware of what is going on in the world. If they all change 1 thing about their current lifestyle, wether it be recycling more or putting a jumper on instead of putting the heating on, all of these small actions can make a difference. After all, it will be their generation and the generations after them that will be the most affected by climate change, so it is important that they are well educated on it and know what they can do to prevent it.

Direct Study Task: Climate change

After completing the carbon emissions test, my result was 162% of my share of carbon emission, which I was very shocked by.


I had thought that my result would’ve been much lower, as my family always try to recycle as much as we can, don’t waste food, use energy saving lightbulbs and insulation etc. However I think the main reason my carbon footprint was so high was my travelling. As I live in a small remote town with a lack of public transport, I have to drive almost everywhere. The bus services are very infrequent and unreliable and we do not have a train station, therefore even if I was to try and be more green by getting public transport and get the train, I would still have to drive to the nearest train station which is in the next town.

Although it may not be realistic for me to quit driving and use public transport all the time, after doing some research I found that there are a few things I could do to make my car journeys more efficient and reduce my carbon footprint. Making sure your tires are properly inflated can can increase your petrol milage by 3%, which would mean I wouldn’t have to use as much petrol. Planning my driving routes to avoid traffic as much as possible would also reduce my carbon footprint as being stuck in traffic wastes petrol and creates more CO2. Something else which I hadn’t considered was my style of driving, unnecessary acceleration and speeding wastes petrol, releases more CO2 and can reduce your miles to the gallon by 33%. These are all things that I will take into consideration when driving in the future, as well as taking public transport whenever it is possible.

Learning Log- Urban Environment

Key Learning-

After this weeks input on the Urban Environment, I feel I have a much better appreciation for the environment around me. Before the lecture on the urban environment I had always just related environment to nature and wildlife, I had not thought if it as being much more about you’re interaction with where you are, rather than just the location.

I learned a lot about the harm Urban environments are creating, such as being responsible for 70% of carbon emissions, overcrowding, traffic and social inequality. However these big cities also have advantages such as consuming less energy, as many of the high rise flats and multi-family houses use up less heating and less ground space.

Impact on my views/lifestyle/practice:

I enjoyed the workshops we did outdoors, it made me so much more aware of what is around me everyday that I would normally overlook; such as the different species of wildlife and plants surrounding the campus. It also gave me a better appreciation of outdoor learning and made me realise the benefits of letting children explore what is around them.

There are many activities to do with the environment topic which simply could not be taught as effectively in a classroom as they could outdoors, such as the identifying different animals, trees etc activities that we did. This gives children an opportunity to be independent learners and gives them a more hands on experience. This often helps them to engage better in the topic if they get a hands on activity, rather than textbook work.


Areas of interest to explore further/develop:

After learning about the effects urban environments are creating, such as being responsible for many environmental pressures, made me want to look into ways in which we can reduce these environmental pressures in more depth and how to be more eco friendly, such as using more public transport, not overusing central heating etc. After enjoying the outdoor workshops we took part in, I’d also like to look into more ways and which types of lessons could be adapted to be taught outdoors.

Direct Study Task: The Urban Environment

My Local Urban Environment:  Beith, North Ayrshire

The name ‘Beith’ is Gaelic for Birch, it is believed that at one time the town was colonised with birch trees and the whole district itself was mainly forrest before it became a town.



Physical Characteristics:

Beith is a very small town situated in the top of North Ayrshire, in the Garnock Valley. As it is in the Valley it is surrounded by hills, fields and trees. It also has great views of the local lochs in the neighbouring towns of Kilbirnie and Lochwinnoch. It has little traffic and noise pollution as there are no busy main roads which go through the town. Before the A737 was built in the 1930s which now bypasses Beith itself, Beith used to serve as the main traffic route going from Ayrshire to Glasgow.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-20-18-54 (View of Beith from Kilbirnie)


It is an old town with lots of new buildings, however we do still have some of our original buildings that we would consider our landmarks, such as the town house (1800s), the Auld Kirk (1500s) and the high church.

beithparishchurch       beithtownhousevert


The buildings are all mainly houses rather than flats. This is because the majority of Beith’s population are families, rather than a big city which would have much more variety in the population, such as students, business men etc, who would be more likely to live in a flat.

Our town is full of small shops and businesses run by locals, such as a florist, bakers, butchers etc. Many of these shops have been very old family businesses that have been there for years and been handed down the generations. A lot of the buildings in our main street have date back to the 1800s.




Beith is only 20 miles south west from Glasgow however we do not have a great selection when it comes to transport. We no longer have our own train station. The town used to have 2 railway stations however they closed in the 1950/60s. Now the nearest train station I just over 2 miles away in the town of Glengarnock, which requires a bus or a car journey to get there. This results in longer journeys to uni & work etc for many people who live in Beith.

We do have bus services, but they are not always the most frequent. Due to the lack of good public transport, most people in Beith drive.

However within the town itself it is easy to walk to wherever you need to get to, as it is such a small town and is also very pedestrianised.

Community Spaces:

Beith has one primary school, but no secondary school. Once children leave primary school they go to high school in kilbrinie called Garnock Academy, which serves as the local high school for all of the towns in the Garnock Valley. Children from Beith have to be bussed to secondary school, as there is no safe walking route to Kilbirnie.


Industry and work:

Beith used to be well known for producing furniture from 1845 until the 1980s, there were many carpenters from Beith. Unfortunately furniture is no longer being produces in Beith due to the closure of many manufacturing firms and due being unable to compete with the rise in popularity of self-assemble furniture companys.

Beith has a whiskey distillery which distils a lot of Chivas Regal products. This employs lots of locals which helps boost our economy.

There is also a local  large Defence Munitions centre is located just outside of Beith which employs a lot of locals. The site was originally developed in 1943 as an Armaments Depot munitions store, for the Royal Navy.

We also have many shops and small local businesses in the town, such as our bakers, butchers, pubs etc. We just recently opened our first restaurant this summer which is doing very well so far and has been well used by the community.


Recreation Spaces:

Beith itself has a community centre which holds a lot of sports and fitness clubs, we also have an astroturf which is used by our local football team the Beith Juniors. We also have a local swimming pool in Kilbirnie and sports centres such as the Magnum in Irvine. Beith also has a local library which often hosts events for young children.




Peri-Urban Space: 

As Beith is a rural town we are not periurban.

Population Density:

Beith has a small population of 6,300 approx.

North Ayrshire population density- 155 people per square kilometre  according to http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/HTMLDocs/dvc134_c/index.html

Air Quality:

North Ayrshire has a low air pollution- Index 1, according to www.scottishairquality.co.uk


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