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February 2017

February Blog 2017


Since writing our last blog we’ve been inundated with visitors bringing a wide array of learning opportunities and inspiration to our enthusiastic pupils! The Marvellous Movers project has gathered real momentum. With the initial design phase complete, all pupils have had the opportunity to explore the recyclable and re-usable materials available to them and also examine the STEM principles behind what makes a vehicle move.


We were honoured to have had a visit from our local Mayor, Alderman Maura Hickey who commented: “I am proud to see the youth of this area getting so involved and working together in such a way”. Since its inception this project has been about partnership. We want to ensure that all primary school children in Portstewart benefit from the Rolls Royce sponsorship, and with the natural link with both primary schools and Dominican College, this has further consolidated the partnership aspect of the project. “This is a very encouraging sign for the future of our community and it is a fabulous accolade for the staff and pupils to have been shortlisted for the Rolls Royce Science prize.”


At the end of January we were pleased to welcome our Rolls Royce ambassador Mr. Tony Sweeting to Portstewart. During his visit, he shared with the children about his role in Rolls Royce and his career in engineering. He had the opportunity to meet every child and member of staff involved in the project and to view some STEM activities. The children were very keen to show their designs and discuss their progress to date. We hope that he thoroughly enjoyed his visit and look forward to seeing him again in March for our exhibition of work.


February has largely been taken up with the design aspect of the project. Primary 1-4 have agreed on their designs within their groups, collated their materials and started their make. 


Primary 5 continue to perfect their initial designs and are focusing on the use of wind to power their vehicles. Primary 6 are storming ahead as they have made their prototypes and are now testing and modifying their final designs. They have been investigating hydro power as a means of powering their vehicles. Primary 7 pupils have been exploring electrical circuits as well as investigating and learning about renewable energy sources and how these can be applied to their designs. They have even been considering the hybrid application of renewable sources to their vehicles! In addition to this Primary 7 pupils have had the opportunity to develop their ICT skills through exploring 3-D computer design with Mr. Andrew Donnelly. To further develop their STEM skills away from the design process, KS2 pupils have been involved in the creation of pupil surveys, efficiency measurements and graphical representation regarding our project.


We were privileged to have had a visit from Nigel Kane, a Royal Navy engineer at the beginning of the month. He worked with Key Stage 2 children, showing them how to make fans, how to measure their efficiency and improve upon it.


Following Mr. Kane’s visit he commented that “The enthusiasm of the children in the schools is infectious. This is obviously the age to introduce this subject to them!”


Now that we are in the throes of the messy phase of making, testing and then refining our vehicles the children are more engaged than ever. We are confident we are on track to finish in time.


We are grateful to all stakeholders in the project who continue to ferry the children between schools, source materials, and help to facilitate the smooth running of the entire project.


Our planning team has now allocated smaller working groups to spread the tasks of organising the exhibition, establishing the selection criteria for the exhibition catalogue, arranging PR, the organisation of classroom groupings, keeping control of resource spend, co-ordinating pupils and external parties to help, mentor and inspire. Mrs. Quiery and Mrs. Shaw are currently dividing up the tasks for the exhibition, sourcing support and materials required and liaising with the venue team; whilst Miss McGoldrick and Miss Gilmore maintain the grasp of the project its spend, logistics and co-ordination. Ms Murray continues to oversee the environmental aspect of our project, and along with Dr. Greene and Miss. Pillow, is organising the storyboard of the final video submission to capture and edit the mounting video footage ensuring we suitably represent everyone’s contributions.


Here are some comments about the project this month:


The best bit of the project is getting to make our mover with my new friends at St Colum’s!” (Primary 3 child)


“You can see some concrete relationships forming as the children are together every week now.” (Parent)


“There is no way an elastic band is ever going to move that boat!” (Primary 6 child)


“It was amazing to have a Royal Navy engineer visit our school!” (Primary 7 child)


Coming up next month:


Making, testing and modifying our designs!