Outdoor Learning day June 2024


The first thing we did was Photoblitzer. At it’s core, photoblitzer is a website that Mr. Johnston gave all of us. The web page had a small list of photo ideas, then we had twenty minutes to take pictures going along with the list.


Capture the flag

playing capture the flag

Next we had a game of capture the flag in the playground. This is a new game for the Biggies and went down really well. Lots of running, laughing and thinking.

After our photo blitz challenge we did a game of capture the flag, I had never played it before but it was really fun. Mr. Johnston split us into two teams team red, & team yellow. My group started off as team yellow, my team had me, Olivia, Lexi, Alexia, Rory & Tony. In the first round most of them came sprinting and I tug Juliet, Harry, & then Xander. Team yellow won the first round


Dow’s Wood

After the interval we headed down to Dow’s Wood. We started by searching the wood for new creatures to add to our collection at the Banton Beasties. This is a new site that well will make public soon. We found quite a few interesting ones and a few more got away.

One Beastie was not very welcome. We were attacked by swarms of midges. This made our other activity in the woods more difficult than usual, we stopped to spend some time writing and drawing. It is a credit to the Biggies that they got some done!

In the woods, a thick tree canopy shades mossy rocks. 
In the woods, big blue flys lurk uncatchable. 
In the woods, midges bite continuously and with no mercy. 
In the woods, ferns are everywhere.
In the woods, there is no escape from midges.

King of the Forrest
For he is king of the forest 
He has a centurion of bugs
For he is king of the forest 
There’s a smile on everyone’s mug

For he is king of the forest 
He cares for the children 
For he is king of the forest
He has a crown of ferns 
Placed on by a hern 

The Nature Poem

Deep down in the woods,
Through the lush leafy forest
At the heart of the woodland,
This is how it starts.


Pendulum Painting

We constructed some painting pendulums in the playground in the afternoon. This was messy but fun and gave some interesting results. The next day we took our art, edited it in Snapseed to boost the colours. We then but it on a virtual gallery wall and added ourselves as a visitor.

Buildings Built

We have finally finished our rather epic Makerspace project.

We started at the start of term, researching famous buildings. The class them picked a building ( a lot of Big Bens) and got into pairs, trios or decided to work by them selves. They them produced a design and planed how they were going to make their models.

A plan for Big Ben

We then had quite a few sessions of building, making, breaking & problem solving. We made some amazing models and learn a lot.

Earlier this week we invited the rest of the school to view our work and to be inspired to make their own models. We had a fun afternoon.

Share our Stem

Today we used the models again on our open classroom morning the parents who attended seemed very impressed.

We also used out ICT & design skills to create posters about the building we were working on. I think the class did a great job of laying out their information & images, we concentrated on alignment, attribution & readability:

Display board with posters created by pupils.

Children’s View

I asked the pupils three questions, here are their answers

  1. The most important thing I learned was to fix the mistakes and always try again and work in a team.
  2. I enjoyed the most painting the building and design the top for Big Ben. I also enjoyed making the clock.
  3. I would make the top I tiny bit different like the design.

I learned that it was the tallest building in the world and it had the fastest speed of elevator. I enjoyed how it was supposed to made out of lots of tubes. I would make the elevator move.

  1. I learned how to fix mistakes when something was not the right size
  2. I really enjoyed painting the building
  3. Ii would change the top a little different in colour

The most important thing I learned was that if you run into a problem you can always find a way to fix it. What I enjoyed the most was working with Faith and Alex because it was really fun and we didn’t blame each other for mistakes. What I would do differently next time is instead of the toppers and bells do a bit of the Palace of Westminster.


1.Durning the making of our Big Ben we learned quite a lot but the most important thing I think I learned wasn’t any of the skills, I think it was that it doesn’t matter who you work with and it doesn’t matter if it goes your way, it’s about the fun and great times you had together that count.

  1. Whilst making Big Ben my favourite part was listening to my partners ideas and using them in different ways or giving them more ideas that improved their first one.
  2. Next time I would maybe think about the design and give other techniques and suggestions a try, I would maybe make a different building and scale it better.
Olivia Rose

I think the most important thing I’ve learned while making our buildings in the makerspace is getting better at scaling and measuring. I really enjoyed making the centre part of the building because there was a lot of measuring and cutting involved. If I could do something differently I would not make a frame for the bottom part.


I learned a lot about making and fixing different thing and solving problems. I did enjoy seeing it being finished and looking good. If I could do anything different I would of made the knex more secure.


The most important thing I have learned was measuring
I enjoyed working with different people that I wouldn’t normally work with
I wouldn’t do anything different


I learned that not every thing you should quit so you keep going and that was a good thing to learn so I learned that I enjoyed making the base because I really enjoyed measuring and checking to see if the length and the width is the correct amount I would make more details and try to make my own clock that moves


I most enjoyed when I had to work out all of the measurements of everything and I enjoyed working out the problems that I had and I learned how to do all of these things and I also learned how to scale thing like these buildings down.


I learned problem solving and I enjoyed making the building and cutting stuff out the thing that I would do different is working with others.

  1. The most important thing that I learned is that if you’ve done something wrong you don’t have to have a temper tantrum you try it again.
  2. I Enjoyed working with my friends and making the net.
  3. Instead of making a 3D bell we made a paper bell.
  1. Working with as a team is fun and useful.
  2. I enjoyed painting
  3. Don’t use frames (unless it’s heavy enough).

Arcade Fun

Yesterday the class joined in with the Create-a-long session broadcast in Teams by Digital NL and Education Scotland as part of #CSScotland23.

We had a bit of bother with the sound, so had get caught up this morning.

The session showed how to make a simple maze game with Microsoft MakeCode Arcade. The class changed the games a little to have a Christmas theme, we hope to use them at our Christmas Farye.

I was impressed by how easily the class managed to work around any problems. Their experience with micro:bit coding and scratch helped.

After we finished the game we started loading them onto our kitronic arcade devices. This took a bit of patience as our AirDrop has become flaky recently.

A montage of screenshots  some makecode arcade games.
Screenshot of the games online

The children have lots of ideas on how to extend the games and are exploring the tutorials to find other ones that we can use. Here are links to some of the games. I’ve not got links of them all yet.

Banton Mill

Last Friday we went a trip to Banton Mill. The was organised by Mr Carter, Mr Morecroft & Mr Barrie. Mr Barrie is the owner of the mill which is now the headquarters of Calders and the home of around 30 businesses. Mr Carter & Mr Morecroft are local history experts.

We learnt about how the mill operated, the water wheel and how it connected to the machinery. We also found out a lot about mill workers and the way the building had changed.

We had a tour underneath the mill to se where the water wheel used to turn, and the remains of the old spinning rooms.

Back in school we investigated how water wheels turn and made model pulley systems from lego.

Lego Pulleys

We also used the trip and work in the class to practise our note taking, the children produced some great mind-maps, here are a couple:

Montage of mind maps produced by pupils about Banton Mill and its workings
Montage of mind maps produced by pupils about Banton Mill and its workings
Banton Mill


We had our Halloween party on Friday last week. We took photos of all the Biggies against a green screen.

Greenscreen images

Today we took the photos and used the remove.bg site to take away the green background to make transparent versions. We then found suitable background and created these images in Keynote. This allowed us to think about and practise using images in a way that respects copyright while having fun and learning a bit about graphics.

Micro Pets

For the past couple of weeks, we have been working on a micro:bit project in class. This is the first time some of the class have used micro:bits while others are more experienced.
We took the idea of a virtual pet from the makecode site and then extended it in different ways.

We started with the idea of making the pet happy by stroking it’s logo and making it sad by shaking it.

After that the class could extend it in lots of different ways. For the beginners this involved feeding and giving the pet a drink. The more experienced pupils surprised me with the complexity of what they were doing. We had health scores, feeding to keep healthy and avoiding starvation; being sick, with the chance of illness and death and being annoyed when petted too much!

Some of the class were intrigued enough to keep working in their free time and were great at sharing techniques. I was delighted to see a good understanding of variables and repeats shown by some.

Here are a couple of examples, click the play button, ▶️, to see them in action. Be sure to turn on the sound for giggles & squeaks.

My class made micro bit tamagotchi’s if we shook it it had to make a sad face and sound also on logo pressed it had to look happy and make a happy sound. We had to add other things in .

This is what mine does , 

My pet sleeps on button a and b using a led block and repeats it 8 times. 
On button a pressed it eats using a led and repeat block  If you press button b it dies and I also used a led block a repeat block and a on button b pressed block .

  • Sleep
  • Be happy if stroked (press logo)
  • Be sad if shaken 
  • Die (wait long enough and don’t feed it)
  • Be sick if fed to much(can be cured using b)
  • Be scared (by making a noise/blowing/filling the red bar 180+)
  • Be fed (using a)
  • Get a health check (A+B)

September Poems

We have been reading a book called Love that Dog In the book Jack tell of his literacy lessons with Miss Stretchberry. Miss Stretchberry read the class poems and Jack tries to write some. At the start he does not like it.  The Book also tells the story of Jack’s dog.

We have learnt about several different types of poem and tried to write our own.

The First type of poem we learnt about was imagist poems. Imagist poems try to make an image with words. We learnt about Lunes. Lunes have very few words, 11 in total, three in the first line, five in the second and three in the third. We wrote kennings, these are like riddles. We tried our hand at sound poems and shape poems.

We also read the Poem The Table by the Turkish poet Edip Cansever and wrote our own version.

Pupils’ Views

I’ve taken some quotes from the classes e-Portfolios where they reflected on the writing.

I liked writing my poems because you can write random words and the don’t have to make sense and you can write some and they can be as long and as short as you want .

When I was writing this poem I was thinking about a ewe lamb sale that I went to about a week ago. I thought I could think about what I brought back with me from the sale and I thought that could write a table poem about and what we got back from it

I enjoyed writing poems because it let me experience and explore different ways of writing and I enjoys how many things there are in this universe to write about but still it’s so hard to pick just one for a poem, I enjoyed how punctuation doesn’t alway need to be in a poem, how poems don’t need to make sense and how poems can be enjoyed by anyone anywhere at anytime!

I was thinking to make a dog poem and the kind of I’m going to was a Kenning I enjoyed making the poem because you learn something all the time.

I liked writing the something poem because it’s a concrete poem, it was really fun to write with all the different ways you can say the word, normal, with a capital letter, backwards, full stops in between, commas, all capitals with just one word. I also enjoyed some lunes that I was writing because it doesn’t take long.

I enjoyed writing poems because you get freedom to write with rhythm and beat and writing stories you can’t do that and poems don’t need to make sense.

I enjoyed writing poems because they don’t need to make sense and you can play about with the words that you are writing. It’s also fun because there are so many different ways to write poetry and you can learn new ways.

I like writing poetry because of the freedom. It doesn’t have to mean anything it could just be The Apple all over again. I like the amount of stuff that you can do it doesn’t has to be a number of words before the next line.

I liked the onomatopoeia in my poem.

I enjoyed writing poems because you could do anything you’d want with it and do things that isn’t real you also do a lot of punctuation and you get your brain moving then if you really like it you could show your teacher and they will like it to. It is really fun to write poems and my class is lucky we get a teacher that likes poems so we do things about poems almost everyday. That is why I enjoy poems.

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