Titanic Project 2016: Rothesay!

The Titanic Project crew headed for Rothesay and the beautiful Mount Stuart on a glorious day bursting with sunshine. For most pupils it was their first time on a ferry and they headed outside right away to watch the ship leaving Wemyss Bay.

After the essential photocalls and exploring the ship, they settled down to watch the scenery go past and ask how this would compare with their upcoming trip to Belfast.

Mount Stuart is a stunning mansion which gives an excellent impression of how opulent the interiors would have been on the Titanic. The group were enthusiastic about the grounds, but the luxury of the house really grabbed their attention, with carvings and beautiful details everywhere. Education Officer, Morven, kindly acted as our guide through the chapel, dining room, drawing room, bedrooms and bathrooms. Despite pupil concerns, Mrs Macfadyen was able to tear herself away from the Library (with its first folio Shakespeare, and its ladder!) and Mrs Zambonini stopped sighing over the chandeliers, so that they were able to see the balcony and the swimming pool! Back in Rothesay we had time for ice-cream and a quick peak at the marina before the ferry returned us to the mainland with a rather sleepy crew.

Our thanks to all at Mount Stuart and to Halls Coaches for a wonderful visit at such short notice.

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Titanic Project 2016 : Storyteller

Professional storyteller, Allison Galbraith, returned to OLHS to help the Titanic Group record their stories. Each pupil chose a different aspect of the Titanic to focus on, from the ‘women and children first’ policy, to the lifeboats, to the role of the wireless operator. Allison had previously visited to introduce herself and build pupils’ confidence in speaking before a stranger at the beginning of the project. Each person was invited to share a little about their name and family background until everyone was at their ease. As a result, although pupils were nervous about recording, they were keen to know when Allison would be returning.

Allison started the group off with some breathing exercises and vocal warm-ups, including tongue twisters and jaw massage, before we settled on the comfy seats to record the pupils’ work. Allison provided additional advice on reading speed, pausing and presentation as we worked through the stories. Despite the dangers of breaking into the giggles, every pupil recorded their own work beautifully.

Titanic Project 2016: Greenock Ocean Terminal and Caribbean Princess

Our interdisciplinary Titanic Project has so far covered science, art, history, geography, engineering, catering and storytelling. However, it’s not easy to give pupils an idea of the sort of luxury enjoyed by 1st class passengers aboard the Titanic.

We headed for Inverclyde to the Greenock Ocean Terminal, docking site for cruise ships in the west of Scotland. We could see the Caribbean Princess rising high above the terminal as we drove along from Port Glasgow, and couldn’t believe how tall it was! On arrival we were greeted by Terminal Manager, Craig Collins, who introduced us to the lovely Bruce and Fraser, our guides for the morning.

As you’ll see from the photos, we had a wonderful tour and couldn’t believe the size of this floating town. One or two of us even suffered a little bit of vertigo from the height! We had brought along our SDS Careers Adviser, Ruth Robertson, who answered pupils’ numerous questions about how they could live and work aboard one of these beauties.

This proved to be a wonderful opportunity for our pupils, who certainly left with their eyes opened to different possibilities available to them in the future. Our thanks to Princess Cruises for allowing us aboard, to Greenock Ocean Terminal manager, Craig Collins, for arranging everything on our behalf, and especially to Bruce and Fraser for being such excellent hosts, providing so much information and answering so many questions from so many enthusiastic teenagers.

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Titanic Project Week 1

Our Titanic Project pupils spent a week investigating facts about the ship and ship-building. They worked with storyteller, Allison Galbraith, to learn what makes a decent story, and visited the Titan Crane at Clydebank and the Denny Tank at Dumbarton, part of the Scottish Maritime Museum. The Science Department demonstrated buoyancy and helped pupils investigate floating (see below) and then pupils built a copy of the Titanic with Social Subjects.

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From Mr Law

The Science Department asked pupils to design a ship so that it wouldn’t sink.

The Groups did very well.  There were some excellent designs and some nervous and excited participants during the second phase of the challenge when designers add mass to the boats to see when they sink.

Results :

  • Johann & Harry: 1,200g
  • Nicole & Natalie: 2,000g
  • Gary & Dean: 2,000g
  • Zac, Shannon & Sammi:  2,800g

Forfeit for the others is that they have to refer to the winners as Captain for the rest of the day.

Day of the Dead – Quiz, Prizewinners and Thanks

The penultimate task of our Day of the Dead event was a multiple choice quiz covering Dia de los Muertos and Hallowe’en. The teams had learned about Day of the Dead over the previous weeks through the departments involved.

The prizewinners were announced by DHT, Mr McQuillan, before Fr Martin closed the afternoon by reminding everyone that this afternoon had been a way of remembering family and friends who had died.

Congratulations to all of S2 whose behaviour was excellent, and thanks to all of the departments involved for another successful Day of the Dead.

Here’s to 2016!

Our grateful thanks to:

all the staff of the Departments involvedArt and Design, Library Resource Centre, Modern Languages, Religious Education;

our Caritas helpersMonica Allan, Louise Black, Rebecca Cairney, Nicole Cassidy, Beth Cunningham, Emma Graham, Megan Green, Gary Harbinson, James Kelly, Sherri Lonie, Sophie Lloyd, Lisa Mackie, Olivia McMahon, Emily Tougher Mitchell, Sophie Tougher Mitchell, Rachael Moore, Roseanne Plunkett, Claire Ross, Keryn Shearer, Beth Knight Townsley;

our Mariachi Band: Mrs Glover, Mr Kerr, Konner Miller-Brookbanks, Paul Hawthorne;

our judges: Father Martin, Mr McQuillan and volunteer, Scott Price;

everyone who helped out the event go aheadSMT, janitors, admin, all the staff who covered classes, and all the staff who popped in to help.

Day of the Dead 2015 – Hats

While the cakes were being judged, Mr Pegard introduced our second activity of the afternoon: designing hats for La Calavera Catrina. Pupils had brought in a variety of decorating materials as part of their homework over the past couple of weeks.

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Day of the Dead 2015 – Cakes!

Our Mariachi Band played Mexican classics as pupils arrived and were welcomed to their tables by S6 Caritas pupils. Mr Pégard welcomed pupils to the Día de los Muertos celebrations and Fr Martin Delaney opened with prayers before our first activity which was cake decorating.

Each table was provided with bowls full of fairy cakes, decorations, icing, food colourings and squares of fondant icing. Their task was to shape and decorate fondant skulls to sit on top of their cakes with the help of our 6th year helpers.

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Day of the Dead 2015 – Altar

An important part of Day of the Dead celebrations is the altar containing memories dedicated to loved ones.

Our altar was filled with skulls created by Art and Design classes and memories of family and friends and well loved famous people created by Religious Education classes as well as a statue of Our Lady.

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Day of the Dead 2015 – Decorating

Our Day of the Dead celebrations took place on the afternoon of Friday 6th November, a fabulous interdisciplinary project involving Art and Design, Modern Languages, RE and the Library Resource Centre.

Art and Design worked with S2 to create posters and decorations to liven up our Kamwokya Room. The posters showed traditional Day of the Dead skulls on illustrated black paper backgrounds, with more skulls appeared on top of tissue paper, strung together and hung across the room.

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Finally, we also had some living skeletons as the Caritas class painted their faces as Calavera Catrina, or Elegant Skull.

Lanarkshire Local and Family History Show 2015

Many thanks to all of the staff and pupils who helped dismantle our Titanic exhibition and rebuild it at Motherwell Civic Centre for the Lanarkshire Local and Family History Show on Saturday 22nd August.

Our Titanic materials drew many interested exhibition-goers as well as people with connections to Our Lady’s HS.

Titanic Project – Shipboard Lunch

The Titanic class organised a lunch for staff, with 1st, 2nd and 3rd class menus. Staff were asked to select a ticket at random, at which point our Titanic stewards appeared and asked to see their ticket, then escorted them to their seats (1st class), showed them the way (2nd) or pointed in the general direction of the right table (3rd).

The entire group also provided a welcome to staff, and explained that profits from the lunch would be donated to the RNLI.

Many thanks to Mrs Stemplis and Miss Carnegy from the Home Economics.

Titanic Project – Titan Crane visit

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As part of our interdiscplinary project on Titanic, ten 4th years accompanied by Mrs Mulholland and Mrs Macfadyen, headed for the Titan Crane at Clydebank, to learn more about shipbuilding processes and working conditions. We were worried that the winds would prevent us being able to climb up the crane, but it was much calmer in Clydebank, and after a safety warning, we headed up in the lift.

The first thing that caught everyone’s eyes was the fantastic views from the crane. Despite the weather, we could see for miles in all directions, including downwards as the solid mesh provides excellent and somewhat stomach churning glimpses of the concrete below. However, the views of the Rivers Clyde and Cart, the Erskine Bridge, Glasgow and Lanarkshire were far more interesting, as were the constant planes flying into Glasgow airport.

Not surprisingly, some of the group were a little nervous; others were more fascinated by how the original crane drivers managed to work without any of the essential safety equipment used nowadays. Staff explained that the drivers would often climb up the structure for speed and wandered around on the girders quite fearlessly. The drivers had to climb carrying their lunch and a bucket because they couldn’t come back down until the end of their shift.

The safety discussion started questions about how many people had died from the crane; perhaps surprisingly there are no records of any deaths at all, although, the guide added, that may be because they weren’t recorded. Then the group remembered that people go bungee jumping off the crane and begged for details. Bungee jumpers squeeze through a small door in the mesh fence around the platform and walk around to the end of the crane, a thought which turned most of our group off immediately.

The view allowed the pupils to see how large John Brown’s shipyard had been before it closed, a closure which hit Clydebank as badly as Motherwell was affected by the closure of Ravenscraig. The Titan Crane is the last remaining part of the yard, but was originally only one of several.

Back on land, Titan staff provided some background on the crane. It was built by William Arrol and Co, who also built the giant gantry for Titanic at Harland and Wolff. They showed us a photo of some of the men and boys who built the crane. Like the Titanic, the Titan was held together by rivets. Rivet squads were paid as a team: the heater passed white hot rivets to the boy, who would catch the rivets in a bucket of sand or leather gloves, or even long tongs, and pass them onto the holder-up; the holder-up passed the rivet through a hole in the steel plate for the riveter to batter.

Inside the visitor centre, the staff provided some history of the yard, discussing some of ships built there: the Lusitania, the Queen Mary, and the QE2. The following day was the centenary of the sinking of the Lusitania by U-boat during World War I, a reminder that the Titanic wasn’t the only disaster at sea. The team also noted that the shipyards mainly escaped the Clydebank Blitz during World War II, possibly because the bombers mistook rain shining on the long winding Dumbarton Road as the River Clyde.

It was a fascinating visit: we discovered a great deal about the life of a shipbuilder, made some further unexpected ties to Titanic, and found out a lot more about Scottish industry.

Our thanks to the team at the Titan Crane for their warm welcome and for sharing their knowledge.

Titanic Project – Scottish Maritime Museum – Denny Tank Visit

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Following the visit to the Titan Crane, the Titanic group headed for the Denny Experimental Tank at Dumbarton, part of the Scottish Maritime Museum.

The experimental tank was built by the Denny Brothers, the shipbuilding company famous for the Cutty Sark. The tank allowed the company to test hull designs before building the full size versions, giving them competitive advantage over other businesses. There’s even a direct connection with Titanic as the collapsible lifeboats were designed and tested at Dennys!

Museum staff explained how the tank worked, and demonstrated the towing equipment. The tank itself is 100m long and extremely deep. Emptying the tank took over a week! Pupils tried out the minitank which demonstrates how differently shaped hulls travel at slightly different speeds and are affected differently by waves.

Pupils learned how the paraffin wax hulls were created, before having a go at carving for themselves, although we had a bit of a weird moment when a certain nameless pupil compared the wax shavings to skin! You known who you are.

Heading upstairs, the group explored the drawing office, a wee treasure trove of tools used by the designers, equipment, including the graph paper making machine, and box after box of records, all beautifully handwritten. The 1887 advert for apprentices was quite someting, requiring applicants to sit exams for Maths, Theoretical Mechanics, Practical Plane and Solid Geometry and Mechanical Drawing.

We also learned some of the social history of the shipbuilders, including the fact that their wages were docked for spending too long in the toilet, or even for having too much tea! They had football teams and company events, and were a major part of life in Dumbarton. Their closure affected the town in the same way as the closure of Ravenscraig affected Motherwell.

Perhaps weirdest of all, we discovered that the company emblem was a blue elephant, which comes from Dumbarton’s coat of arms. Apparently, Dumbarton’s coat of arms features an elephant because Dumbarton Rock looks like an elephant. Apparently.

The Titanic Project

On Tuesday 4th May, a group of 4th year pupils will begin working on a three week interdisciplinary project about the RMS Titanic. Pupils will explore the story of the ship through online adventures, quizzes, educational visits, artwork, DVDs, visiting speakers and research, covering topics from ship-building to lunches aboard to the discovery of the wreck. They will investigate the people affected by TItanic’s story and debate ideas raised before creating an exhibition of everything they’ve discovered.

Departments from across OLHS have volunteered their expertise and assistance, including Art, Science, Social Subjects, Home Economics, RE, English, Modern Languages, the Library and our Careers Advisor.

The project is being managed by PT, Mrs Zambonini, DHT, Mrs Mulholland and LRC Manager, Mrs Macfadyen. Please contact any of them if you would like further information.

Mary the Tweeter

S2 IDL classes have been working on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. Pupils watched a documentary about her whole life before splitting into different groups to research different time periods. With this information, they tried to get inside Mary’s head, and create Tweets as if Mary was expressing her own opinions to the world. Finally we distressed the Tweets to make them look more 16th century.

Pupils are rotating around Art, Modern Languages and Social Subjects, all with a connection to Mary Queen of Scots,