Tag Archive for 'Science'

Campaign for School Gardening Courses

rhsCampaign for School Gardening Courses, Royal Horticultural Society
The RHS are running teacher training courses in Scotland this year, alongside their Campaign for School Gardening.

A Year in your School Gardening Club, Edinburgh -28th Sept; Renfrewshire – 14th Oct
This course is full of fun projects and activities to help you keep your gardening club flourishing in all weathers and seasons throughout the year. Click here for more details.

– Apply Primary Level Maths and English skills through the Outdoor Environment, Edinburgh, 26th Oct
Have you ever thought about taking your pupils outside for maths and English lessons? Being in the school garden or a beautiful local green space will inspire your pupils to learn, enjoy and achieve in these subjects. Please click here.

– Cultivating a Healthier School (Grow, Cook and Eat your own produce), Glasgow, 21st Nov
RHS horticulturists have teamed up with Chefs @ School to provide a practical course to enable you to put pupils’ health and wellbeing at the centre of your school with an ethos and culture of great food. Please click here.

 

Game of Cones

protreeWe really need to encourage a new generation of plant health professionals. Just think what life would be like if the resources we get from plants like food, timber and medicine were to be in short supply. Trees in Britain provide us with some stark examples of plant health problems. Since the 1970’s a fungus called Dutch elm disease has killed between 25 and 75 million elms. Today it is still spreading in northern Scotland. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated example. The Forestry Commission website lists seven pests and 13 diseases that currently threaten British trees. The problem continues to grow and the rate at which new problems arrive has been accelerated through accidental import as a result of global trade. Recently there has been considerable media coverage of tree health problems, often with dire predictions for the future.

Rather than just wringing our hands we need to do something about this situation. This is why a group of Scottish researchers have taken the unusual step of working with a computer games company to develop CALEDON a survival strategy game about tree health. Their aim is to switch on the younger generation to tree health through the very popular medium of computer games. Any biologist will tell you that diversity of species and diversity of genes within species creates resilience. The old saying about the dangers of putting all your eggs in one basket is absolutely spot-on in the context of plant health. So why is it that our forestry practices have for so long focussed on single species plantations that are often of restricted genetic diversity?

This question is at the hearth of CALEDON which has been developed as part of the outreach and education programme of the PROTREE project http://bit.ly/2cAlyzN and has seen project scientists from seven Scottish research institutes working together. Designed to be an enjoyable game, inspired by the popularity of virtual worlds, CALEDON challenges players to keep a forest thriving under a series of different scenarios with different objectives that include tree species diversity and forest cover. Players choose what trees to plant and have to work within the limits of available funds. Income can be generated by tree felling and pest and diseases have to be contended with. The learning to develop an effective strategy in the game comes from prompts that appear during gameplay and from exploration of the games encyclopaedia.

CALEDON is aimed at early teens and has good links to the curriculum at Level 3 and 4, but experience has shown that much younger players enjoy the game and do understand how to develop successful strategy. Although it is a single player game small group discussion around how to keep the forest thriving is possible as the player is completely in control of the pace of the game and clicks a button to advance time by five years after making as many changes as they like or can afford to do. The game can be played online at www.rbge.ac.uk/caledon and can also be downloaded for offline play. An iPad version of the game is available at the App Store.

 

Beyond the Panda Education Programme

PandaThe RZSS Beyond the Panda education programme aims to provide children with an understanding of China, its language, geography, habitats, flora and fauna and in particular learn about the giant panda and the RZSS China/UK research.

Beyond the Panda travels to schools across Scotland in our new vehicle kindly donated by Arnold Clark. We provide a combination of outreach sessions, teacher training and ‘panda boxes’ for loan. The boxes are filled with games, jigsaws and other fun activities which stimulate learning and classroom discussions. The learning resources enable students to investigate, study and explore a variety of topics within the overall context of giant pandas and China; linking with CfE experiences and outcomes in science, topical science, social studies, language and literacy. With the generous funding from the Confucius Institute for Scotland at the University of Edinburgh our programmes also provide an introduction to the learning of Mandarin Chinese.

Sandie Robb, RZSS Senior Education Officer, said: “The RZSS Beyond the Panda is a fantastic and truly unique outreach learning experience. Through the China Mobile Library, students are able to learn about Chinese history, geography, culture and language as well as about giant pandas and the conservation work of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. The children really enjoy the educational games, whilst learning at the same time. The RZSS Beyond the Panda allows us to inspire the next generation of nature conservationists.”

Miss MacDonald, St. Peter’s RC Primary, said: “After doing the panda box activities with three classes, I can really see the positive impact it had on children’s learning. All classes were engaged and enthusiastic throughout and when speaking with the children after they completed the tasks, they could tell me lots of things that they had learned.”

In addition, classes who wish to progress further in the Beyond the Panda programme are able to work towards a Pambassador Class Award at bronze, silver and gold levels.

See Beyond the Panda in action –

On the road with Beyond the Panda

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdxcO0ohbZE

RZSS China Mobile Library

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60DmB8Yk5yQ

 

Contact Sandie Robb for further information:

srobb@rzss.org.uk

@Sandie_Robb #BeyondthePanda

Twig and Tigtag Announcement

Twig and Tigtag GraphicWe are pleased to announce that Twig and Tigtag have been procured, through competitive tender, by Education Scotland for a further 12 months through to July 2016.  As a result, these award-winning online resources will continue to be available to all schools through Glow for use by educators and learners across Scotland.

New resources, Twig assignments and Tigtag Junior, will also be added in late autumn to the existing package available. An accompanying resource, Reach-Out CPD – a professional learning resource from Twig World to support primary science – has also been recently made available to Glow users.

As part of the national recommendations on learning for sustainability, all learners should have an entitlement to learning for sustainability. This resource provides a range of short films, ready-made lesson plans, practical activities and hundreds of images and diagrams, many of which explore key concepts of sustainability. For example,  the Twig resource for ecosystems, provides a range of short films and extension questions around effects of climate change and loss of biodiversity. The Tigtag resource on energy sources explores sustainable energy and water use and the links between society and environment.

Learners and practitioners (including those in early learning and childcare, additional support needs, primary and secondary school settings) are encouraged to make use of these resources which can be found on the App Library of Glow.

‘Our Environment’ competition deadline extended.

The ‘OuStirling HS John Muir Award Group Survey image 1 (2)r Environment Competition’ is a great way of engaging young people with their local environment and conservation issues.

Children identify and collect information about an issue in their local environment, collate the information and propose a solution.

Submit your entry as a presentation, poster, leaflet, video or photo storyboard – or maybe you can think of another creative way.

Have you already been working on an environmental project? You can use what you have found out and produced for this competition!

The winning entry will get £1000!

Find out more here.

http://www.environment.scotland.gov.uk/get-involved/the-big-discussion/

After much interest the closing date has been extended to Friday April 10th.

‘Dams to Darnley’ Outdoor Education Pack

d2dlogo_big[1]The Dams to Darnley education resource offers an interesting range of outdoor learning activities for all practitioners. Each activity is linked to science experiences and outcomes from early to fourth level. Whilst the resource was produced by the countryside ranger service in East Renfrewshire, it promotes a number of engaging approaches which can be replicated within school grounds or country parks across Scotland.

Countryside rangers can lead activities, however, there are also self-led activites to allow teachers to take ownership within their own settings. The pack also contains helpful appendices with guidance on  taking learning outdoors, templates for risk assessments and useful contacts and links.

 

 




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