Science: Fiction: Make: Believe

Recently the school entered a Scotland-wide creative writing competition for S2 pupils, organised by St Andrew’s University, called Science: Fiction: Make: Believe. Pupils were to write a 750 word creative piece about any Scottish scientist, alive or dead, or the impact of their discoveries or inventions. Through the collaboration of the English Department, Science Department and Library Resource Centre, all of our S2 pupils participatedwith staff selecting the work of Morgan Mackie (Alexander Fleming) and Andrew Ross (Dr Knox) as the two entries from Our Lady’s High School.

The judges have awarded Certificates of Commendation to both Morgan and Andrew, and they are invited to attend the award ceremony on the 4th March, at St. Andrews University School of Physics & Astronomy. A representative from the Royal Society of Edinburgh will present the prizes before an audience of pupils and their families who are warmly invited to the all-day event.

Well done, Andrew and Morgan! You can read their essays on our school website shortly.

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Engineering the Future

We continue to stress the importance of females in STEM careers by calling attention to the 2017 Engineering the Future for Girls summer school which will be held at the University of Strathclyde from 19-23 June 2017 – applications are now being invited via the online application system.

Now in its second year at the University, the summer school is aimed at S3 pupils who are studying any range of subject choices at National 5.

Engineering the Future for Girls is designed to engage girls in a wide range of engineering challenges that will inspire them to become the next generation of engineers.

There are 100, fully-funded by BP and BAM Nutall, places for this year’s summer school. This is a non- residential summer school and travel to and from the University of Strathclyde campus (Glasgow city centre) is required.

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.

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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.

Literacy across learning

S2 are working hard on a writing competition organised by St Andrew’s University. The aim of the competition is to put Art into STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Pupils have to link their Science and English learning by researching their favourite Scottish scientist and using the information to write a creative piece.

So far, we have been entertained by essays on Alexander Graham Bell, Alexander Fleming and John Logie Baird. Mrs Millar, Mrs Sinclair, Mrs Macfadyen and Mr McKendrick will judge the essays and choose the best two to represent the school. The overall winner will receive a voucher for £50 and the four runners-up £25. Good luck everyone!

Meanwhile, all of S1 were presented with their Pocket Literacy Guide, kindly bought for them by the PTA. These handy books contain rules for punctuation, grammar and spelling, as well as hints for writing in different subject areas. We know that S1 will put these guides to good use in all their subjects.

STEM

Special Report by Saoirse Higham and Emma Torrance S5

On Thursday 8th September, a group of S5/6 pupils was given the opportunity to visit the University of Glasgow in order to take part in a project that introduces female students to STEM subjects- Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. During the course of the day, we took part in many enjoyable activities, such as speed mentoring, CV writing, help with presentational skills as well as listening to inspirational speeches from women who have had great success in the exciting world of STEM.

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We were astonished to discover that only 14% of those working in STEM industries are female- a figure which, up to recent years, was even lower. Clearly, STEM industries are very much male dominated- but we feel that this must change. We learned that although women applying to these industries are just as well qualified as men, they tended to be much less confident, and therefore were often overlooked for positions. Women also tend to lose out to men when it comes to equal pay- and equality in the work place in general.

Throughout our day we learned many important and useful skills to take with us on our journey through life: how to present ourselves in the workplace, prepare an effective CV and how to have a successful interview. We also learned that by following your heart and doing what you love you will find success in your own way.

Thursday was made possible through the amazing work of the STEMettes and their sponsor, “Monster Confidence” who work with STEM industries to encourage more women to join their workforces. Thanks for their most important lesson for us: Never let anyone stand in your way- Girl Power!

STEM Workshop

Report by Miss McGinty

On Tuesday 4th November, ten girls from S2 were invited to take part in a workshop organised by EDF Energy. The girls has a busy morning building and testing a variety of circuits and used what they had learned to design and build a product they would like to invent for their bedrooms. The girls made use of laser cutting and modern technology to build, promote and present their products. A fantastic day was had by all!

Queensferry Crossing Trip

Day trip to the Forth Replacement Crossing Education Centre in South Queensferry on Tuesday 10th March by Ms Mc Shane

Our Higher Design and Manufacture and Higher Graphic Communication pupils were invited to the Forth Replacement Crossing Education Centre, the biggest transport infrastructure project in Scotland, to learn more about the project and the construction of the new bridge taking shape across the Forth, the Queensferry Crossing. Pupils were able to participate and enjoy interactive and inspiring educational activities related to bridge construction, science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

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The centre’s trained and knowledgeable staff hosted the educational visits in their stunning exhibition area and viewing gallery providing a real life insight into the engineering and construction of the 21st century Queensferry Crossing along with information about the 20th century Forth Road Bridge and 19th century Forth Bridge.

The Exhibition Area provided an excellent learning environment with bridges models, information boards, audio visual resources, interactive activity resources and spectacular panoramic views across the Forth.

Please support our competition bid!!!

Report from Mr Law

Our Lady’s High School is competing for
Free LEGO® Education STEM Resources and we need your Support

Our Lady’s High School have applied to be chosen to receive LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 STEM resources, free as part of a pilot of the Elite Engineering Programme (EEP). They need local support to become one of only 25 schools that will be chosen to receive the resources.

The Elite Engineering Programme is a privately funded education initiative set up to reignite the UK’s status as a world leader in engineering.   The programme was created in response to research published last year by the Royal Academy of Engineering which found that the UK needs to increase (by around 50% per year) the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths graduates.

LEGO Education is offering 25 sets of LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 resources, worth £3,000, to schools for secondary school students.  Chosen schools will also receive free training for teachers, which will explain how to use the materials to deliver the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) curriculum.

Gareth Boldsworth, Director, LEGO Education Europe explained,

“We’re keen to make MINDSTORMS Education EV3 available to young people who might not otherwise get the opportunity to discover that they have a real flair for engineering.   We’re looking for schools that show real enthusiasm for being part of the pilot and we will be taking account of support that they get from the local community.”

Paul McKendrick, Principal Teacher of Science at Our Lady’s, states,

“We are a relatively small school with limited resources.  Kits like these are a wonderful means of engaging our students in a way that lets them see a direct link to real world applications of their classwork.  They’re not only cross-curricular but also a lot of fun.  A very useful way of bringing the STEM subjects together.”

The partners behind the Elite Engineering Programme initiative are:

  • Graham Sharp’s Helsington Foundation
  • LEGO Education and
  • Professor Anthony Purnell.

EEP is also supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering, and a number of celebrities who have all donated their time to help promote the initiative.

Students at the chosen schools will have the chance to use the LEGO® resources to build sophisticated programmable robots to compete against others, at regional and national contests. Schools simply had to apply to be part of the pilot.  The 25 schools will then be chosen on merit.

To see and support the Our Lady’s High school application go to
http://youtu.be/HtJ54rvCFss.  Comments on the application video will be taken into account when judging, so make sure you have your say.

For more information on EEP go to www.eep-schools.org.uk.