Cardboard Constructors

Yesterday we had a cardboard construction challenge as a MakerSpace warm up.

The challenge was to make something out of pieces of cardboard. The target was to make the tallest or most artistic creation. The limitation was only pieces of cardboard could be used and the biggest size you could use was 10cm.

No Glue, No Tape: Just Cardboard

We had a lot of fun, some successes, and some problems. All the pupils kept working until the end. The results were varied!

Some of the class aimed for height, some for art, some worked to their own criteria (Alex managed a miniature).

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Problem Solving
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Christmas Challenge

Primary 5-06-7 had a STEM challenge yesterday. The children had to create a sledge to carry a small assortment of sweets down a ramp. We were looking for the one that could go furthest without losing its cargo and the best looking on.

The Biggies are getting really good with their practical skills in the makerspace. The manages the whole thing In a couple of hours. Some beautiful solutions. Lots of problem solving, creativity and communication on display.

Montagesof 4 photos of pupils working on makerspace task

Makerspace Robot Roundup

We have been working hard in our Makerspace on our Robots challenge.

The Challenge is to create a model Robot with elements of, Movement, Electricity & Coding.

The class has done an amazing job with lots of fun and failure. I’ve been especially impressed how the groups worked together and adapted their ideas as the went along.

I gathered quite a lot of quotes from the class and have added some below in their unedited glory.

General Comments

  • His back there is a skewer that you twist so that tightens the rope to make the flaps go up and loosen it to go down
  • It is a micro bit that plays a song by another micro bit sending it messages to start and stop
  • We had to change the song a few thousand times but we got there in the end.
  • We argued about the wheels and some designs but we didn’t argue much. The wheels worked out well and the coding component is working well too.
  • Yes when we were cutting our blocks of wood to hold up a big platform. The blocks where slanted so we had to make new ones and measure it correctly so it was in a straight line.
  • We didn’t think of how the weight of the head was going to affect the motor. This was because the head was too large. Also we painted some of it and changed a lot of the outer design and make the packages more realistic by putting things in them.
  • It’s moving part is the spinning brush on the front, a motor is hooked up to a battery pack and a switch using wires, when the switch is clicked the motor turns a piece of glue tack spins and the brush is attached to it.
  • My robot is a large Aztec sort of style robot called A.D.A.M. A.D.A.M stands for Ancient Dispenser of Aztec Mummies. As the name suggests it dispenses drawings of mummies.
  • It is called Adam it is like a box and it has wheels dispense mummies


  • I enjoyed working with others and learning how different things work.
  • I really enjoyed be able to express my creativity
  • Being partners with the people I was and painting and talking to them.
  • I enjoyed creative work and doing fun things with saws and hot glue guns
  • I enjoyed making a lot of the things we made and I think I work well in most of the groups I was put in.
  • I enjoyed working with the micro bits and coding elements.
  • I enjoyed using different equipment like hot glue guns.

Didn’t enjoy

  • I didn’t enjoy the we had a problem with the electronics
  • I didn’t enjoy all the arguing but then again it was mostly needed because of voting.
  • I didn’t enjoy the problem with the wheels and trying to fix that because it took a while to find a solution.
  • I enjoyed everything about the makerspace, and didn’t dislike anything.


  • I learned that it’s sometimes people need to learn to try help each other more then we should.
  • I learned how to put the movie into keynote and I learned how to do wiring.
  • I learned how to work with others better and how to make different things, I feel like I’m better at arts and crafts as well.
  • I learned that wires were very complicated and annoying and that you may not be friends with your partners but you can get along in some ways.
  • I learned how to use glue guns, what materials are better and not just look better and how to find good solutions to problems but still keep close to the original design.
  • I learned how to use micro bits to control motors.
  • I learned how to use a saw correctly and I learned how to use a hot glue gun.
  • How to have fun and work at the same time while being in my zone.
  • How to make a iMovie video with voice over music and effects and to work in a team to create a machine with electronic components.
  • I learned that you can make anything out of quite a lot of materials and I learned that using iMovie is quite easy.

Automata Finished

This week the pupils all finished their Automata. There are a few photos in the video before footage of the machines in action:

Today we presented to the parents & guests about our STEM (or STEAM) learning, including a section on the automata Project. The children did a brilliant job of writing scripts, creating presentations and talking to an audience.

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Highlights of the week, seismographs & science

We have had a busy week this week. Highlights for me included our work on Earthquakes. The children did some research to find out the basic facts and yesterday made some model seismographs to explore how these instruments works.

Learning about Earthquakes

We used our research skills to find how about earthquakes.

montage of photos of children researching

States of Matter

Mr Wevling started a new science topic, looking at the different states of matter.

photos of children investigating states of matter

Banton Biggies Podcast Episode 7

One on our podcast the class has just posted a new episode. The first this session.

BBP episode 7

The class worked really hard and independently on creating this.

From scripting when we hard a brilliant literacy session, class showed iron concentration, talking, listening and editing for flow. Working on expression and talking for an audience.

And recording.

to making musical ‘stings’ and editing the audio.

And finally Publishing.

Christmas Engineering Challenge

The Children rose to the NLC Learning Hub  Christmas Engineering Challenge.
Christmas Engineering Challenge Can you design and build a Christmas themed structure with a moving part, an electronic component and an element of coding?

We posted an in progress report Christmas Engineering Challenge Part 1 last week.

We lost some time on Friday as no children were in school due to snow.

This week we finished off and have started to make movies of our reindeer. All of the groups managed all of the chilli challenges! Watch the movies to see how. (A couple more currently in production)

Children & Cardboard Reindeer

Christmas Engineering Challenge Part 1

The NLC Learning Hub has issued a Christmas Engineering Challenge:
Christmas Engineering Challenge Can you design and build a Christmas themed structure with a moving part, an electronic component and an element of coding?

The biggies started work this morning. We are making Reindeer from Cardboard and hope to include movement, electrics & coding. It might take a while…

Most of the groups got a lot of their model finished this morning. We used our teamwork, creativity & problem solving skills. On group got on to the moving part:

cardboard reindeer with moving antlers

By lunchtime we had made a lot of progress:
Cardboard reindeer in progress

More to do…

Biodiversity Live Lesson

Last week we joined in this video conference. It was in 3 sections all based on wether.
First we heard from Jess Lilley, Edinburgh Zoo about life in the water. We saw the penguins at the zoo and found out about a fish none of us knew about, the flapper skate.

We then heard the story of the Mermaid of the Clyde, told by Allison Galbraith. The last workshop was by Joe Wilkin-Oxley from Keep Scotland Beautiful. He explainsd about water, how much we use and how to save it.

This was all very interesting. During the week most of the primary sevens were off to Kilsyth Academy, but the rest of the Biggies got busy writing stories about mythical water creatures and working on scale in maths using the Flapper Skate to practise scaling down & up.

The Bee Hotel Food Court

Today some of the class started working on our raised flower beds that will be planted with wildflowers for the occupants of our, yet to be built, bee hotel.

The Class did a great job with hardly any paint on clothes. They also wrote some notes for their e-portfolio, I’ve put some of these below.

This term we have been learning about bees so the Kilsyth rotary club reached out and they had a big chat with us about bees and gave us information about what bees like. Tthey wanted to make a bee hotel with us and we are also making some wild flower planters and the look amazing.

We are going to “bee” building a bee hotel, but it can also be for other bugs and flies an wasps.

We are getting help for the bee hotel from the Kilsyth Rotary Club. For this We need items with many holes in them like bricks, leaves, straw/grass, sticks, wood, slates, lots of wood, logs, moss and lots of other natural objects and un-natural objects to.

The next time they came they talked to us about what flowers would be suitable to plant they said that our Bee hotel would be for other small creatures. Like moths and flys and unfortunately wasps. When they left they gave us something called collars. Not a dog collars they were big wooden planks the opened up into a square shape.

So today we got these six wood planks and they bend and turn into a squares, and we got six of them, we painted them with white primer paint. So our teacher told two students to get one plank outside, and he showed us how to paint it carefully.

Once we’ve done that we will fill it with soil and wild flower seeds. Soon we will be making the bee hotel but we need to get sticks, stones,log extra. We will use that to make the hotel. People will be bringing stuff in for the hotel suck as bricks with holes, bamboo and other stuff. Once it’s done we will look at it and leave.

The next step is for the collars to dry then put designs on them then let them dry and get varnished dried yet again and then be made into raised beds for wild flowers to a-tracked bees and not that welcome but wasps next we will build the actual hotel which may “bee” a challenge but we can manage it I’m sure because I’m “bee-ing” positive.

We still need to get some things for the bee hotel like tomorrow we are going to go to the woods and collect some stuff for the bee hotel like sticks and other things. We haven’t started to build the bee hotel yet but the bee people will be coming back after the Easter holidays to build the bee hotel with us. Some people will be bringing some stuff in like bamboo and bricks with holes in it.

We have been sent out to our homes and soon other places to collect items and other materials that bees and insects can fit through, for example a brick (the brick would have to possess holes within itself to be accepted and put into use.)

In the afternoon the class did a bit of design work and started transferring their designs to the pained collars.

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