Our Lady’s visit to Liberty Steel

Special Report by Ciaran Hendry S2

On the 25th of January 2017, two Our Lady’s High school Go4SET teams visited, “Liberty Steel”, a steel processing plant in Motherwell.  We walked from school to the site where we were greeted by our mentor, Chris Gourley. We listened to an interesting talk about the health and safety aspects of the workplace and then had a fun quiz. One of the best parts was when we played games that taught us the importance of organisation, efficiency and specification in the workplace. After all our briefings we enjoyed an excellent lunch provided by our hosts.  We then got ready to go on the highly anticipated tour of the plant.


Team Elite

Wearing high visibility vests, hard hats and earplugs, we witnessed steel being heated to 1000°C.  Our guide showed us the famous water tower and of course inside the steelworks. He showed us the interesting process from when the steel is delivered by train to when it’s heated in gas pits, then flattened out between huge rollers before finally having water thrown over the steel plates, giving off a magnificent amount of water vapour. We saw red and even yellow hot slabs of steel carried by large cranes to different parts of the plant.  Even after cooling, the flattened metal plate was incredibly hot.   We also spent time in the control room where the operators made sure the plate was the right size with the help of computers.

Team Enigma

After a question and answer session it was time to return to school. We were all given memory cards encased in steel as a keepsake of our visit.  Overall the experience was informative and very enjoyable and, will aid our learning in so many ways.

Thanks go to Chris and all the staff at Liberty Steel for their help and advice.

Go4SET Launch Day 2016

On Wednesday 23rd November at Almada Hall, University of the West of Scotland (Hamilton) a group of pupils attended the Go4SET launch. This is a project organised by EDT (Engineering Development Trust) and involves engineering challenges over 10 weeks.  Participants must produce a written report, a presentation to the judges and then build a model of their project.

Launch day involved an introduction, some advice on how to proceed, meeting with industrial mentors  and 2 engineering challenges: building a marble rollercoaster – which we named Thunder – from cardboard and sellotape, as well as building a chair made from balloons. Our Chair of Air lasted well until someone had to sit on it. We had a wonderful time, and can’t wait for the next challenge.

Team: Blair Cook, Ciaran Hendry, Holly Irving, Erin Keating, Olek Kyc, Ethan Law, Paul Murphy

Go4SET 2016

Report by Mr Law

After ten weeks of effort, the Our Lady’s High School S2 Go4SET team presented their findings to a panel of judges at the Banqueting Hall, Almada Street in Hamilton. Researching, report writing and model building completed, the 5 members of the team displayed and explained their findings in an enthusiastic and professional manner.

Thanks to John McIntyre of the competition organisers (EDT) we were able to have a “Launch Day” at the school. He presented them with a choice of options. They decided to progress an investigation into an environmentally friendly railway station. Roles assigned, they each took on responsibility to enable a full report to be completed, detailing any visits and research conducted in order to arrive at recommendations. A trip to Glasgow Central Station proved extremely difficult to organise. Although staff appeared enthusiastic, no arrangements could be provided to enable information or a tour and in the end we decided to visit on our own. One afternoon the students collected footfall data in order to determine potential energy gains from power mats at entrances, exits and escalators/stairs. A visit to the New Lanark World Heritage site was arranged by our industrial sponsor, Mr. Stephen McCann of Morrison Construction. This proved to be an excellent introduction to the generation of electricity via water power. His advice also proved very beneficial with regard to life skills such as meeting deadlines, organisation and delegation of tasks.

These students gave up a great deal of their own time in order to fully engage in the tasks. Breaktimes and after school, especially with the final deadline looming, resulted in a very rewarding mix of effort, enthusiasm and co-operation in order to complete the challenge. They finished 4th out of 11 teams, losing by only 3 points. Well done to all the students participating, including the 3 members of the team that couldn’t make the finals day. Thanks go to Morrison Construction and the competition organisers, EDT (Engineering Development Trust) for their much appreciated contributions.

Go4SET 2015

Report from Mr Law

After ten weeks of effort, the S2 Our Lady’s High School Go4SET team successfully delivered their presentation to the judges. Although the feedback was extremely positive, they missed out on the winners’ podium by the proverbial whisker.

From the initial project choice of an eco-hotel, they extensively researched the concept, including a visit to their sponsor from industry, (TATA Steel). Visits to two Edinburgh eco friendly hotels, the “Radisson Blu”, and the “Apex International”, provided more specific information about the challenges associated with balancing environmentally friendly policies with making a profit.

They produced a 35 pages long report, built a model of their hotel and, presented their project to the judges. Along the way they have learned to work as a team, each with specific responsibility for an area of the task, learned about the importance of deadlines and learned about the satisfaction of a job well done. If we consider that most of the time spent on this project was their own, they merit a well deserved pat on the back.

Consistently a credit to the school their behaviour has been exemplary and their learning journey well worthwhile. Congratulations to Alexandra, Michael, Holly, Amy, Gemma, Robbie, Elle and TATA Steel mentor, Craig. Thanks are also due to, “The Howard”, for its information and the various staff of OLHS for advice.

Go4SET Challenge

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Report by Alexandra and Elle (S2)

On Wednesday the 3rd of December, 7 pupils from Our Lady’s High School in Motherwell along with their teacher, visited the Hamilton campus of the University of the West of Scotland.  Gemma, Amy, Holly, Elle, Alexandra, Michael and Robbie from second year took part in different activities of the Go4SET challenge launch day.  These included a competition to draw the best engineer and to build a helipad tower.  Go4SET is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programme secondary pupils from across the country can take part in.

Wednesday was an introduction day to let the pupils see what the project will include.  Everybody had a wonderful time.  In the morning the group met at Airbles station to travel into Hamilton and although we were excited about the day, Alexandra was more excited about the fact she was going on a train. Once we arrived in Hamilton we had a short walk to the university.  After we were in the building we had time for a short discussion with our industry mentor from Tata Steel.  Craig is going to help and guide us with our project.  We introduced ourselves to Craig but when it came to Gemma she accidentally said that her name was Robbie which made us all laugh.

As part of the activities our team competed against many other high schools in a team building challenge. We were given instructions to construct a helipad tower from 12 sheets of paper, sellotape and a paper plate but the tower had to be able to support a solid wooden block which was representing a helicopter.  The students who produced the tallest tower would win the challenge.  As a team we decided on the design and how to construct it to make it stable enough for the weight of the wooden block.  We were given an hour to complete the assignment but also had to draw an engineer. The drawings had to include clothes and equipment that an engineer would need to wear to work to protect themselves.  We completed both tasks on time but sadly did not win the highest tower challenge or the competition for the best drawing of an engineer.  Everybody enjoyed it anyway and the group worked well together.

Once we had eaten our free lunch we were giving a talk on how to conduct the project and how to use our time wisely which we found interesting.  Afterwards the team had to decide on which roles people would take on during the process and we reached agreement that Alexandra would be Team leader, Michael would be Project manager, Holly would take on the role of Note taker, Robbie would be Model manager, Amy the Editor for the report, Elle would be Media manager and last but not least Gemma would be in charge of the presentation that the group has to give at the competition final in March.

After our decision making the day came to a close so we started to walk back to the train station.  On the way there Alexandra somehow walked into a lamp post while talking and laughing with the rest of us. She was okay and everyone laughed for a while afterwards.  Whilst waiting for the train to arrive we discussed our day and each student agreed that it was really fun and not what we expected from the activities. Everyone joked about what happened throughout the day and we all agreed that we were happy to continue with Go4SET.  We can’t wait to get started on our Eco Hotel.

Go4SET results

Report by Mr Law

Our Go4SET team successfully completed and presented their water project and we have the certificate to prove it! Although the group didn’t win one of the major prizes at the Almada Street Banqueting Hall, the feedback was extremely favourable, commenting that their research, their report and their presentation reflected the high quality of teamwork and communication they exhibited throughout the process.

Patrick, Erin, John Joe, Saoirse, Dearbhla, Damian and Heather were exemplary throughout and great representatives for Our Lady’s High School. Unfortunately the model of their water recycling idea for the school was the weak area of their submission, not being the most stable structure. To make matters worse, adverse weather conditions during transport severely compromised the already limited structural integrity of the model. A flurry of duct tape, bubble wrap and conflicting opinions later and the model was at least presentable although one of the team was nearly thrown in the bin due to the difficulty in distinguishing him from the sticky tape and plastic.

It was a rewarding experience for everyone involved and they gained a great deal from it. We choose to believe that we were pipped for the bronze medal position by a fraction of a judging point.

A big thank you to all staff that helped out with this challenge. Mr Johnstone’s advice regarding tubing and toilet flushing, Mrs Henderson’s support, and Mr Moir’s negotiation skills as a supplier, were all a particularly beneficial experience for the group. Particular thanks to Mrs Macfadyen and Mr McKendrick for logistical support.

Thanks also for the paint, office help and to all staff that released them from class to complete tasks … English department most recently. It was much appreciated.

Go4SET visit Tata Steel

Report from Mr Law

The Our Lady’s High School engineering Go4SET team visited the Tata Steel facilities in Motherwell in order to better inform themselves of the industrial process.  Our link staff member, Craig Welsh, from the team at Tata, organised a presentation about the importance of Health and Safety in the workplace before further discussions concerning the water usage project our S2 pupils are engaged upon in the Go4SET challenge.

2014_0121_tata2 Soft drinks and snacks helped fuel their intellectual endeavours prior to being kitted out in the appropriate safety equipment necessary for a tour of the factory.  Willie, a colleague of Craigs from the Health and Safety division, helped out as we eperienced the journey of the slabs of metal from initial heating and cutting, all the way through to the heating, rolling and cooling process determining the nature and dimensions of the end product.  Pictures don’t do justice to the reality of the tank heavy red and white hot blocks of metal, the vast amounts of steam generated, or the droplets of superheated water skimming along the flat sizzling rectangles of geometrically adjusted metal.  The control rooms, the safe pathways, the noise and the pleasant and helpful informative staff completely outweighed the potential to fail of some of the enormous electromagnets carrying the slabs of extremely heavy metal.  Although some of the finished product appears visually cooled, from the heat given off as we passed by at a safe distance, superman could easily fry up breakfast for the whole school (were we not healthy eating conscious) and still have enough heat left over in the metal for defrosting and heating up a couple of arctic swimming pools.
2014_0121_tata1Our students asked plenty of appropriate questions and interacted politely and enthusiastically.  They were a credit to the school.  Congratulations to Craig and the staff at Tata for a thoroughly enjoyable and educational visit.