Titanic Project: Liberty Steel

The Titanic crew visited Liberty Steel for a guided tour of the plant and to learn how slabs of steel are rolled and shaped into plates for ships, bridges and rigs.

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Titanic Project 2017: films and measurements

The Titanic Crew spent the morning watching the 1958 film, A Night to Remember, and compared it with the 1997 film, Titanic, that they were more familiar with. The pupils preferred the older film because it focused on the disaster. Throughout the film, our resident Titanic fanatic, PT English Mrs Millar, pointed out important events, areas of controversy and the background of various passengers.

The afternoon was spent with Miss Lees and Miss Wheeler from Maths who helped pupils to visualise the size of Titanic by comparing it with our school building. The crew took the trundle wheels around the yard for their measurements before working on their calculations. It turns out that the school could fit twice into the footprint of the Titanic!

 

Titanic Project 2017: ferry to Mount Stuart House

The Titanic Crew headed for Mount Stuart House on Bute. They were a bit nervous as it was their first time on a ferry, but got their sea-legs quickly on a beautiful calm Firth of Clyde.

Our visit to the stunning Mount Stuart House allowed pupils to get an idea of the elegant and sophisticated surroundings that 1st class passengers would have enjoyed aboard the Titanic. Our thanks to Morven and all the staff at Mount Stuart.

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Excellence and Equity Awards 2017

School awards highlight positive initiatives

Excellence and Equity Awards 2017
Productive Partnerships – Purposeful Learning
Our Lady’s High School, Motherwell
Titanic Project

 As a result of changes to SQA exams, staff at Our Lady’s High School, Motherwell, spotted an opportunity to provide an exciting programme of interdisciplinary experiences for some of our National 4 students. Our aim was to help pupils gain additional qualifications while expanding their life experiences and raising awareness of the options available to them on leaving school, all through focusing on the Titanic disaster.

We are now approaching the third year of this vibrant project which runs over three weeks of the SQA diet. The programme coordinators are PT Pupil Support, Lyn Zambonini, and Library Resource Centre Manager, Jennifer Macfadyen and involves staff from across Our Lady’s High School, local businesses, voluntary groups and national organisations.

Following an initial introduction, the programme is split into four broad areas: ship building and design; life aboard the Titanic; the disaster itself; and the rediscovery of the wreck.

We were stunned to discover that the steel plates that built Titanic had actually come from the Colville Steelworks in Motherwell, making a wonderful connection with our local heritage. Pupils were lucky to experience Tata, now Liberty Steel, in the process of rolling the steel plates with a guided tour by staff at the plant, who also provided pupils with many stories of life at the steelworks and a thorough grounding in Health and Safety routines.

Although the Titanic was built in Belfast, we were able to take advantage of the Clyde’s vast experiences in ship-building, visiting the Titan Crane at Clydebank, and the Denny Tank Museum at Dumbarton. Titan staff explained how riveting gangs worked, how the shipyards were a part of the community and how dangerous life was while the Denny Flotation Tank demonstrated the engineering expertise involved in designing and testing ships’ hulls. The group also discovered that Denny’s was even involved in testing some of Titanic’s lifeboats. This information became invaluable when learning about buoyancy with Science teachers back at OLHS, and designing their own hulls.

Pupils also learned more about some of the passengers and crew aboard and the different lives they led on a luxury liner depending on their class. English showed the films, A Night to Remember and Titanic, and compared the special effects and reliability of each. Our group were able to put their new-found knowledge into practice by working with Lifestyle Development staff to create a shipboard lunch for staff – although staff did not know until the last minute whether they would receive the 1st, 2nd or 3rd class treatment and dining experience.

To bring everything up to date we contacted Greenock Ocean Terminal who kindly arranged for us to have a tour of the Caribbean Princess. We used this experience as a focus on careers, bringing along our Careers Advisor, Miss Ruth Robertson from SDS to provide detailed advice. Seeing aboard a real cruise ship gave pupils a whole new way of looking at the world, and the numerous careers open to them. They were also keen to compare the Caribbean Princess to what they had already learned about ship design. They were definitely impressed by the safety regulations and the numbers of lifeboats.

Turning our attention to the disaster itself, Mr Walter Lee from the RNLI kindly came along to demonstrate what happened with the iceberg and graphically explain what would have happened to the Titanic’s passengers in the water, including the effects of hypothermia – he even brought along his own mini iceberg!

Other activities have included creating a map of the world demonstrating the Titanic’s route (Social Subjects); printing and poster making (Art and Design); trying out Morse code (Science); an afternoon swimming courtesy of NL Leisure (Lifestyle Development); building their own model Titanic (Social Subjects / Art); discussion of moral issues relating to women and children first and the treatment of 3rd class passengers (RE); further moral issues relating to the wreck arose following a screening of Ghosts of the Abyss: should the Titanic be raised? Should material be removed? Should the ship be left to rust to nothing? (English); and multi-lingual newspaper front pages (Modern Languages).

With so many stories being generated from the project, we wanted pupils to be able to record the aspects that were most important to them, from the ‘women and children first’ policy, to the lifeboats, to the role of the wireless operator, so we introduced the group to storyteller, Allison Galbraith, thanks to part-funding from the Scottish Book Trust. Allison demonstrated the art of storytelling, and guided the group through creating and recording their own stories, helping them to record their own voices for posterity. Allison started by introducing herself and just talking with the group, building pupils’ confidence in speaking before a stranger. As a result, although pupils were nervous about recording, they were keen to participate. Allison also demonstrated breathing exercises and vocal warm-ups before recording began, with further advice on presentation as we worked through the stories. Despite occasionally breaking into the giggles, every pupil managed to record their own work beautifully.

Discussion with pupils led to an additional trip which saw us taking the ferry to Rothesay and the stunning Mount Stuart House. This mansion was completed in 1912, the same year as the Titanic disaster and thus pupils were not only able to experience actually travelling across water – a new experience for all of them – but to see luxurious interiors similar to those of the ship they’d been learning all about.

The Titanic Project continues to develop with partnerships emerging as various individuals and groups express an interest in participating. In 2016, our pupils were even able to join with St Brendan’s Primary as part of their anniversary visit to Belfast to see the Titanic Museum for themselves.

The Titanic Project has been a huge success over the last two years. We have seen the pupils blossom, gaining in confidence, pulling together as a team, and their ideas of what’s available to them in the future have expanded rapidly. Each year pupils have created an exhibition of their experiences which have been visited by classes from across OLHS and visitors to the school, leading to further discussions and expressions of interest. Last year all of the pupils involved achieved the SQA qualifications. “Local investigations” at SCQF level 4.

Feedback from pupils themselves has been outstanding:

”I thought it would be boring, but it was brilliant!”;

“I liked how we went on adventures and explored all the museums”;

“I seemed to get a better relationship with people that I hadn’t spoken to since primary”;

”I actually wanted to come to school!”

The Project continues to explore new ground and build new partnerships. Staff coordinators continue to collect materials, ideas and contacts and we look forward to its continuing success long into the future.

 

 

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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Outward Bound

Report from Ms Moir

Some lucky S3 pupils visited Outward Bound at Loch Eil last week for an action packed week of activities. The pupils took part in many activities such as canoeing, raft building, hill walking, abseiling and scrambling. The week was great fun, despite the wet weather, and every pupil overcame challenges and pushed themselves when trying new (and sometimes terrifying) activities!

All of the pupils were a credit to the school and should be very proud of their achievements.

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Dragonflies for Dalzell

XL4 pupils have been working with the Countryside Rangers on a project to design a seating area and a pagoda for the Japanese Garden in Dalzell Estate.

Last week, the class had the opportunity to visit smith, Barry Spalding, to see their paper designs being made into cast iron. Pupils even had the chance to cut the metal into the shape of their dragonfly design.

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Outward Bound

Eighteen 4th year pupils accompanied Miss Halket and Miss McGinty to the shores of Loch Eil for a week of fun, freezing and ‘dynamic activities’.

The group was split into different clans, mixing with pupils from all of the other schools present; any initial shyness was soon forgotten in the demand to help out their clans.

Activities included raftbuilding, whole day expeditions, parajumping and the opportunity to face up to your fears, like the dauntless Miss Halket, who jumped into the loch, despite being unable to swim, and then coaxed Miss McGinty to do the same.

The instructors were highly complimentary about everyone in the OLHS group for their enthusiasm and excellent behaviour.

Willing victims:

Mark Brunton, Rebecca Cairney, Rachel Clinton, Jack Divers, Hannah Eadie, Declan Foy, Rebecca Hopkins, Louise Mancini, Emily McCafferty, Christopher McCluskey, Gabrielle McPherson, Ryan McQuade, Jordan Mooney, Emma O’Neill, Tammy Rae, Jamie Rankin, Stella Sewell, Jonathon Watt

Duke of Edinburgh Award Bronze Expedition

Report from Angela McDonald

Nine S6 pupils participated in the final assessed expedition for their Bronze Award.  They spent two days walking and hiking a total of 20K beginning at the famous West Highland Way and including a hike up to the summit of the ‘Whangie’, 375m high.

The pupils camped overnight at Auchengillan campsite and as part of their assessment had to put up tents and cook a meal.  In the evening they enjoyed a campfire.  All were successful in gaining this section of the award!

Back to Loch Eil

Report from Ms McGhee

Twenty-one S4 pupils participated in the recent Outward Bound experience at the centre in Loch Eil, near Fort William.

The week got off to a great start with everyone participating in ‘Jog and Dip’: light running from the centre to the loch, followed by plunging into the icy cold waters. Everyone from Our Lady’s braved the snow and freezing cold temperatures to give it a go – except Mr. Cavanagh, who wimped out!

Throughout the week, pupils were able to participate in a range of activities from canoeing, raft building and hill walking to overcoming fears by doing the trapeze and Jacob’s Ladder.

The week culminated with a ‘Clan Challenge’ on Friday morning, with the Stuart clan triumphing (although allegations of cheating and bribery are still rife!) All pupils had a fantastic time and found the experience challenging, enjoyable and worthwhile.

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