Titanic Project 2017: posters, buoyancy and mapping

Start of Titanic Project week 2 and the Crew were working with Mr Weir from Art and Design creating Titanic posters in Photoshop (photos to follow). Next they learned about buoyancy and how enormous steel vessels stay afloat, making their own vessels with Mr Law in Science. Congratulations to the team of Omar and Conor whose boat was most successful.

In the afternoon, Miss Moir from Social Subjects worked with the class on a giant map showing the Titanic’s route from Belfast to disaster, adding information about each port of call and passenger nationalities.

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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

WoSPEG Final

Report from Mr Law

The Our Lady’s High School Physics Quiz team last fortnight participated in the final of the West of Scotland Physics Education Group competition, colloquially referred to as WoSPEG, after significant point margin wins in the two rounds prior.

Support for the team was considerable and a bus was arranged to transport all of the well-wishers to and from the competition – those attending included team members Jordan Mooney, David Martin and Jakub Mitas, along with reserves Gemma Grier, Hayley Stevenson, Kishan Yadh, Peter Morrison and Aidan Coates and a large portion of the 4th and 5th year physics students came to cheer on their team.

Our quiz team yet again deserve merit for an excellent all round performance.  Jordan, Jakub and David battled through rounds on current affairs, pictures of famous scientists, general knowledge and a mixture of Standard Grade and Higher Physics questions.

Unfortunately, the team met their match in the form of a particularly quick on the buzzer Royal High School team and a fiendishly tricky anagram round and were unable to seize the trophy, but the experience was valued by all involved.

There’s always next year!

Soak the Teacher


Teacher fashion : Spring Collection 2010

Class 4A organised a ‘Soak the Teacher’event to raise funds for Lenten Charities. 50p was just too good an opportunity for some pupils who spent all their pocket money and ended up borrowing more! 

Thanks to the staff who included Mrs Anderson, Miss Kane, Father Frank King, Mr Brogan, Mr MacMaster, Ms Campbell, Miss Miller and Mr Law.

How does Santa get to every house in one night?

Report by Aaron Hawthorne and Scott Price

Mr Law has given our class some strange homework. We have to find out how Santa gets around the world in one night without using magic? We have to find out a scientific reason.

  • One reason is that Santa travels at the speed of light… but then he would burn up from the speed.
  • Someone else has suggested evolution. Santa could have mutated reindeer.
  • He might also have cloned himself, so there’s a Santa for every town.

If you have suggestions, please add them to the comments .

Tinto Conquered

Bright, early and cheerful, we set out on a double decker bus to the Lanarkshire hill known as Tinto. The challenge was to raise money for St. Andrew’s Hospice. We had before us 2000m of steady incline, with several steeper bits to break up the delusions of adequacy. Separated into groups by pupil determination of how easy it would be to climb, each group set off with a member of staff accompanying them and a natural inclination to spread out. Sheepdog-like the staff kept them together and those pupils falling behind were readily integrated into the following group.

… and when they were up they were up, and when they were down they were down, and when I was only half way up I was an exhausted wreck and requiring oxygen. Fortunately our sturdy S1 pupils were mountain goat like in their cheerful enthusiasm … at least for the first few hundred metres. Then, “What ?”, “ There’s more ?”, and “Look sir, there’s clouds before we reach the top !”

Several times on the ascent, groups rested and enjoyed the scenery … or chatted about the myriad conversational topics that those of us over 16 find somewhat incomprehensible. Up into the damper mistiness we progressed, reduced chatter and steely determination becoming evident. Finally, scrabbling for breath on the gravelly slope, we reached the top!
Damp but triumphant on top of TintoReport from Mr Law
Well done Our Lady’s High, thank you St. Andrew’s Hospice for the chance to challenge ourselves.

Soak the Teacher

The yard rang with the roar of the Colosseum on Friday, as Soak the Teacher heralded the end of Lenten Charities fund-raising for this year. When a sponge or bucket hit its mark, and hit it well, there was a cry of appreciation from the crowd for the bravery of the participants and the audacity of their opponents.

Many thanks to this year’s Warriors of the Water: Mr Brogan, Ms Clements, Mr Law, Mr Macmaster, Mr Millar and Ms Miller for being very good sports and having their hairstyles ruined for the day.

Thanks also to Toni-Marie McFadden and Michael McCabe for the photographs.

Outward Bound

Report by Mr Law
Just as dawn broke on Monday 12th January, eleven intrepid S4 pupils set forth to challenge themselves and move beyond their individual comfort zones.  For a few, the early start introduced them to something known as early morning.  Several were still asleep as parents dropped off their somnambulant offspring.  Would this week of character building and co-operative working tasks actively engage them and invigorate their academic appetite ?

Upon arrival at Loch Eil, Fort William Outward Bound Centre, pupils from eight North Lanarkshire schools were whisked away by the instructors and separated/organised into clans.  Each clan was associated with the one or two instructors that had daytime responsibility for them during the week.  Rules were set out, challenges communicated, and wet weather gear collected.  School staff members were directed towards their possible schedule for the week, were encouraged to experience the activities for themselves, and all concerned were then allocated their rooms.

Benefitting from a new pair of sturdy boots, this teacher embraced the tasks with initial equanimity, until terror introduced itself like an unexpected ice cold kipper down the back of the neck while watching Daleks in an episode of Doctor Who.  Fear played a major part in many of the activities.  Fear of falling down unimaginable heights then colliding with the ground, and fear of making a fool of oneself.  However, the consummate ease with which many pupils engaged upon each activity, coupled with the professionalism and good nature of the instructors, engendered a feel good atmosphere of not letting the clan down.  The frequent and increasingly common moments of peer group encouragement and assistance clearly indicated that the ethos of Outward Bound was permeating all of us.

After a long and arduous climb up what was referred to as a steep hill, the exhilaration of abseiling down a sheer rock face was the goal.  Walking/trekking/climbing along Glen Nevis enabled snowball fights.  Kayaking along Loch Eil amidst the stunning scenery was itís own reward.  Building a raft from barrels, rope, and wood  from initial design to co-ordinated or furious paddling, displayed the communication and co-operative skills these young team members had developed.  Add to the mix a 30/40 foot Para-drop, Zip wire through a gorge, especially in the dark, tree climbing, a “trust your guide night line”, escape from a spider web, helping each other over a wall at least 10 foot tall, an obstacle/balance course, puzzle solving with crates, basketball, a music/advert quiz, Jacobs Ladder, orienteering, the clan challenge, boot cleaning – well, I think you get the picture.

Regardless of the occasional comment about food (chicken pie, lasagne, chicken curry, potatoes, vegetable bake, etc). “Why can’t we have real food sir, you know, like MacDonalds?” the feedback so far has been universally positive.  Awesome, fantastic, amazing – and one lad said that it was alright.

As a teacher, perhaps the most difficult task was not to suggest or help.  Observing them push themselves, solve problems, make friends, and grow in confidence, was such a satisfying and rewarding experience.   I watched them integrate and grow as individuals and as part of a team, as they attempted tasks they initially viewed as too difficult.  More about, “How can I?” instead of, “I can’t”.  

The instructors were excellent, participant safety paramount, benefit to pupils immeasurable.  Regardless of the weather I express resounding approval of the whole enterprise.  Thanks go to Outward Bound and also a personal thanks to the Our Lady’s High pupils.

Livewire Quiz Final

Report by Mr Law

Wednesday evening, 12th November, saw the grand final of the West of Scotland Physics Education Group (WoSPEG) Livewire quiz. Faced with a vast lecture theatre, three immense screens, 8 rounds of intense competition, and the support of plenty of family, friends, and staff, the OLHS team finished 3rd. They were an absolute credit to the school.

The team and reserves from Our Lady’s High, Motherwell had little appreciation of the Herculean task ahead when they began their journey on the 13th September. We’ve never managed to progress beyond the first round before. This is in part due to the shy and polite nature of our pupils, viewing the buzzer as somewhat unpleasant and distasteful. It is also due to many of the competition questions involving electricity and astronomy – areas not covered from our course until the tail end of S4. It was therefore a very pleasant surprise to have progressed so far and a vibrant celebration of good natured competition.

Rounds of general knowledge, Standard Grade Physics, conundrums and picture puzzles, blurred together in the hazy competitive cut and thrust of their intellectual endeavours. There were frayed nerves as only a few points separated the teams going into the final buzzer round of 20 questions. With the majority of these questions involving astronomy however, coupled with technical problems for the poor pummelled and pounded buzzers, our challenge unfortunately evaporated away like an early morning mist.

Final scores were : St Aloysius 37, Glasgow High 36, Our Lady’s High 33, Lomond 31. Congratulations to the worthy winners from St. Aloysius.

Our team consisted of S4 pupils Jennifer Rodgers and Rachael Liddell, along with S3 pupil, Ciaran, “The Buzzer”, Burns. The reserves were Shaun Nicholls, Daniel McDermott (S3), Elizabeth Low and Gerard McIntyre (S4). Their enthusiastic support was integral to the teams’ progress through the rounds. Heartfelt congratulations to all the team.

Really interesting Physics stuff – honest! – just read it!

Report by Mr Law

Many of you are probably downhearted at the technical difficulties the Large Hadron Collider is currently beset with and perhaps mistakenly associating it with the current financial crisis … well now for some good news !

Our physics quiz team has won their semi-final and are now into the final of the West of Scotland Physics Education Livewire competition ! This is a fantastic achievement as we’ve never made it past the first round before. Congratulations to the team for making it to the even more challenging final. It’ll be held in the evening and their families can attend … there’s even a buffet and the possible appearance of Heather the TV weather girl!

Jennifer Rodgers (4A1), Rachael Liddell (4A2), Ciaran Burns (3M)
Shaun Nicholls (3M), Daniel McDermott (3M), Elizabeth Low (4C), Gerard McIntyre (4A1)

Additional from Mrs Macfadyen

If you still think Physics is boring, check out the Large Hadron Rap below.

Planes, trains and automobiles

The Social Subjects trip to London, 16th-18th June 2008.

London 2008On Monday 16th June, 33 bleary-eyed S4 pupils met outside the school gates for an action-packed 3-day trip to London accompanied by four members of OLHS staff – Mrs Letham, Miss Newman, Mr Smith and Mr Law. We headed by coach to Glasgow Airport and flew to Stansted Airport, where we took the Stansted Express then the London underground to the Hotel National in London’s Russell Square area. From there we headed by the underground OLHS, London 2008 (which would become very familiar over the next few days) to Knightsbridge to view Mr Al Fayed’s expensive merchandise in the world-famous Harrods store. The group then took in some of London’s famous sights, including Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and 10 Downing Street.

London 2008Following an invigorating power-walk to the South Bank, led by our esteemed geographer Miss Newman, we enjoyed ice creams and a well-earned rest on the London Eye. Here we had the opportunity to view the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral and Nelson’s Column amongst many of London’s other sights from the air. London 2008After dining in China Town, we made our way to Piccadilly Circus and spent an hour in the Trocadero Centre. However we did have a run-in with the fashion police here after almost the whole group decked themselves out in new hats!

OLHS in London 2008On Tuesday morning we visited Covent Garden and were all impressed with the various stalls and activities to be found there. Another trip on the underground took us to the O2 Centre to visit the Tutankhamun Exhibition, where we were amazed at the artefacts on display – some of which were 3500 years old! In the evening we travelled to the West End for dinner and an evening in the Shaftesbury Theatre where we enjoyed a spectacular performance of Hairspray, starring Michael Ball.

Nice hat. OLHS London 2008An early rise on Wednesday morning allowed us time for breakfast in the hotel before we headed to Westminster to enjoy a tour around the Houses of Parliament. After visiting the Natural History Museum it was time to make the journey back to Stansted Airport for our flight back to Scotland. Exhausted, but having experienced a fantastic few days, all returned safe and well to OLHS around 9pm… still wearing the new hats!

From zeroes to heroes

From our intrepid reporter and his thesaurus.

OLHS staff team for It\'s a Knockout 2008On Saturday 31st of May, the Our Lady’s High, “It’s a Knockout” team raised money for St Andrew’s Hospice. The added bonus of improving from last year’s last place to this year’s afternoon champions was simply icing on the cake.

A series of team games awaited … involving inflatable obstacles, water and soap … painlessness and dignity went out the window.

It\'s a Knockout OLHS staff teamTalk about determination … women, small children, mountain men and bouncy castles didn’t prevent Miss Newman from providing a lead into the second leg. Even the Terminator would have second thoughts about taking on this lithe athletic exocet missile.

Mr. Smith powerhoused through the course, managing to maintain the lead and experience his annual bath at the same time … now that’s efficiency for you.

Further athletic prowess from Mr. Whiteford, Mr. Lawie, Mr. Miller, Miss Miller, Mr. OLHS staff team in actionMcDonald, and the velcro princess, Mrs. Anderson, enabled a winning start for the team. The highlight of this first game however was the mixture of gazelle-like nimbleness with raw aggression from Mr. McNaught, resulting in his hulk-like dunking of an official into the watery bubbliness of the splash pool. Coupled with Mr. Law’s unfettered enthusiasm the stage was set for Armageddon.

The, “panto horse” like dragon involved some delicate maneuvering … especially with the passing of the egg … but with excellent teamwork, Mrs Anderson’s directional skills and Miss Newman’s puzzle solving, another task was completed with joyous expediency.

Dressing up seems to be Mr. Smith’s forte … this time as a caveman dentist. Club in hand, he seemed a formidable opponent until he tried to run up the slippery slope. After considerable exertion and a near heart attack he managed to … well … considerably exert himself. Thanks to Mrs. Anderson’s liberal interpretation of the rules and some WWE forearm smashes, OLHS ended the dental game with some success, despite Mr. Smith’s toothless efforts.

Enthusiastic Mr Whiteford in actiongymnastic ability through the next obstacle course, from bar to container, served only to ensure little liquid remained in the tumblers to be collected. Changing tactics to a more sedate delivery proved a far more successful solution. Mr. Law removing his t-shirt to squeeze every last drop of water into the container may just have tipped the balance in our favour, tho’ young children and anyone with a fragile disposition would have been well advised to avert their eyes.

All in all a fun filled and good natured competition with the unexpected bonus of victory. Many thanks to all the staff that took part and collected money for St. Andrew’s Hospice.