Interdisciplinary work – the £2.50 microscope

MarchThere is recognition among scientists and educationalists that many projects these days cross traditional discipline boundaries. For example, modern microscopy demands high level input from biologists, physicists, mathematicians and computer scientists.  We want to give pupils experience of true interdisciplinary working.  In conjunction with a Scottish Schools’ Education Research Centre (SSERC) project we have adapted pupils’ smartphones for use as microscopes – using a simple lens system from a laser pen.

This will involve S1 pupils in Craft, Design and Technology, Physics and Biology.

  • CDT: Pupils design a template and make the microscope using 5mm perspex, nuts and bolts and a 7mm collimating lens from a laser pen
  • Physics: Refraction and lenses, theory and practice
  • Biology: Filming cells and microscopic animals.

In the image here you can see red onion cells photographed on a mobile phone sitting on top of the home made microscope.

Read more about this month’s Rolls-Royce activities here.

Rolls-Royce Science Competition 2015

School news 20th March 2015

Basketball – Gairloch vs. Invergordon – On Thursday 26th February, the senior boys team beat Invergordon High School. 52 – 27.

This was Jordan Gorman’s last game for the school and he rounded it off with a buzzer-beating three-point basket. This senior boys’ team have played together since 2010 and, while we’ll miss Jordan, there’s plenty of talent coming through for the future.

Senior Basketball vs. Invergordon

As well as representing the school Jordan was part of the U15 Scotland team in 2012/13. He has also played as a member of the Highland Bears and plans to continue training.

Jordan has left school to take up a Modern Apprenticeship with the international ICT company ATOS. He will be trained initially at their centre, opened in 2013, at the Forres Enterprise Park.

Travel and tourism trip to Dundee – As part of our course we have to look at tourism in Scotland. Dundee was chosen because lots of things are happening there to encourage tourists to visit. We left on Tuesday morning and on the way down we stopped at the House of Bruar which was really interesting as we got a tour from a lady who works there. She told us loads about the place and it was so big. We would recommend a visit on the way down the A9 but bring plenty of money!

On Wednesday morning we went to Discovery Point. The RSS Discovery is a ship that was built in Dundee and went on an expedition to Antarctica that took three years. Scott and his men studied the climate, wildlife and geology of Antarctica. It was Scott’s second trip to Antarctica on the Terra Nova when he reached the South Pole only to discover that Amundsen had got there first. We got a little talk in the conference room and then we were shown around the ship. It was very interesting but not as interesting as McManus Gallery and Museum that we went to in the afternoon. It had loads to see and was very big and filled with paintings, stuffed wild animals, ancient Egyptian mummies and Roman artefacts and many more things. It was fun to look around.

Travel & Tourism Dundee Trip

Click on the photo for more images of the trip

For lunch we visited a small cafe called Madigan’s, which is a lovely place. The person who owns Madigan’s used to live in Poolewe. We were really impressed with the cafe and liked the extra details, like the menus were inside old Blue Peter books. We would definitely recommend the soup!

On Wednesday afternoon, we also went to the Visit Scotland Information Centre and got some good information. The lady who talked to us was lovely and very polite and knew lots about the whole area.

We stayed at Dundee Backpackers Hostel for the two nights. It was cheap and right in the centre of the city – perfect because all the shops were around us. We all shared a room and had our own bathroom although the shower leaked.

We would recommend Dundee as a place to visit for a long weekend because there are plenty of things to see and do, although we were told the nightlife isn’t as good as Aberdeen. We weren’t sure what to expect since one of Dundee’s nicknames is ‘Scumdee’ but would say it was a nice city to visit and we would probably go again. It was a very good trip and we would like to thank Mrs Bulmer and Mr Gibson for organising it and accompanying us.

Exploring Careers in Health Event – This event on Thursday 26th February gave five pupils from Gairloch High School the opportunity to participate in interactive health related workshops throughout the day. With the aim to raise awareness of all types of Healthcare Career options, Megan, Christie, Maia, Laura and Andrea made the most of the day by choosing to attend a range from the following workshops:

Allied Health Professions, Speech And Language Therapist, Diagnostic Radiography, Physiotherapy, Orthoptics & Optometry, Learning Disabilities Nursing, Midwifery, Dental Nurse / Therapist, Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Careers, Clinical Skills, Medicine & Medical Careers, Moving And Handling & Nhs Scientists

Our pupils came away with a much better understanding of Healthcare Career options. Thanks to Mr Milner for accompanying the girls.

Comic Relief 2015 – S6 organised a “Wear something Red” day on Friday 13th March and collected £130 for Comic Relief. You can see photos on the school website.

S1 Bring and Buy Sale – We are very grateful for the support of parents, staff, Parent Council, local businesses and everyone who helped on the day, or by providing items for the sale and prizes for the raffle. The event was a great success and the pupils worked hard to raise funds to pay for their activity week in the Cairngorms this May.

By the time you read this the total amount raised will have been announced (£2200) on the local radio and on the website. You can also see photos of the event on the website. Thanks to Dr Caley for organising the pupils in preparation for the sale and all the further work involved in making the S1 Activity Week happen each year.

S1 Bring & Buy

Click on the photo above and see other photos from the Bring and Buy

S1 Bring & Buy

School news 6th March 2015

Gairloch Pupils involved in Solar Eclipse Research – On Friday 20th March 2015, a total solar eclipse will occur across the far Northern regions of Europe and the Arctic. The longest duration of totality for this eclipse will be 2 minutes and 46 seconds as viewed off the coast of the Faroe Islands.

Observers in Gairloch will be treated to a very deep (95%) partial eclipse; while much less spectacular than the total eclipse, this is still a rare and impressive event.

The Geography department will be participating in a University of Reading/BBC project during the solar eclipse. The data will be used for a BBC Stargazing Live experiment charting how the eclipse affects weather around the UK. The recent purchase of a Kestrel Weather Meter, as a result of funding from the Rolls Royce Science Prize, has allowed Gairloch pupils to take part in this contribution to international science!

BBC Alba interview – The Gairloch Museum entry for FilmG (in which Iain Nelson, Max Conway and Sorley Street were involved) recently made the competition’s shortlist. BBC Alba was keen to cover this success and to uncover the harsh financial realities facing the museum and documented in the film. Iain Nelson was interviewed by BBC Alba with the news piece then being broadcast on Aithris na Maidne, Aithris na Feasgair and An Là.

FilmG Heritage Museum BBC Alba Interview

UKMT Intermediate Maths Challenge – Well done to Mark McLean, S4, for getting the highest score and a bronze certificate in the intermediate maths challenge. Jack Wright was second and the highest placed S3 pupil. Bronze certificates also go to Sebastien Pickering, S4, Leonie Baptist, S3, and Greogor Vickerstaff, S3. Well done to everyone who took part.

Arctic Convoy lecture – As mentioned in the last issue of the Gairloch & District Times, Dr Valentina Golysheva gave a talk to S4,5,6 pupils about the need to remember the details and importance of the Arctic Convoys. Dr Golysheva also presented the school with a copy of her book “A Flashback to the Arctic Convoys”.

Rolls-Royce Science Prize – The interesting work for this project continues in classes throughout the school. As well as allowing us to take part in the Total Eclipse project mentioned above staff and former pupils have been involved in working with other pupils and staff, not only in Gairloch, but across the UK. Each month we add a report onto the school website and the February edition is available now.

Recent Charity Fundraising – Pupils and staff raised £173.79 on Friday 13th February for non-uniform day. UNICEF will benefit from this collection.

Retiral – Mrs Nancy Macleod retired on 27th February. Mrs Macleod has worked in the school since 2000 although she worked with youngsters before that in other roles.

Mrs N Macleod

Staff had a presentation for Mrs Macleod to say thank you for her contribution in supporting staff and pupils over the years. She also received a lovely cake made by Catherine Wyatt (S6) in the shape of a rose bush. Staff and pupils alike will miss Mrs Macleod but we all wish her well as she directs her time to family and other pursuits.

Comenius trip to Spain –Beth Townsend, Eilidh Owens, Deborah Connop and Holly Morrison have returned from their Comenius visit to Spain with Ms Mackison and Miss Hunter. They travelled from Edinburgh via Barcelona visiting The Sagrada Familia en route to Seville. They also visited Gibraltar and Portugal during a hectic week of activities.

We will be arranging an evening presentation in the school to share experiences of this trip along with those to Finland and Turkey. The project will culminate in a visit by the other schools to Gairloch in April.

Girls in Spain

S1 GRAND BRING AND BUY SALE – We are currently taking donations: baking, books, DVDs & CDs, bric-a-brac, plants, electrical items in good working order, toys, clothes in good condition, jewellery, bottles and raffle prizes.

Items for the sale can be:

  • Handed to any member of the school
  • Delivered direct to the Community Hall on Friday 13th March between 3.30pm and 6pm
  • Collected by us – call the school office on 712275 and leave your details.

The sale takes place on Saturday 14th March – 10am in the Gairloch Community Hall – please support our S1 pupils!

Important Date – Thursday 12th March is the S4 Parents’ Evening. Others available on the school website.

School news 20th February 2015

GOLD Duke of Edinburgh Award – Sofie Banister has completed her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. Sofie will receive her award at an official ceremony in the summer. Meanwhile her name has been added to the Honours Board in the school hall alongside the names of other pupils that have achieved Gold. Well-done Sofie – completing this before leaving school is a major achievement requiring focus and determination! Freya Baptist and Matthew MacLean received their Silver certificates and Jack McCruden has been awarded Bronze at School Assembly.

Cross Country 2015Sofie Banister – recent recipient of her GOLD DofE Award also won the Senior Girls Cross Country Event.  Read more below.

More Badminton Success – Nadia Fenton, S1, has achieved success in the Highland Badminton Group U13 competition held at Charleston Academy on 3rd February. Nadia and her partner came first in the doubles. Nadia also got a third place in the mixed doubles and reached the quarterfinals of the singles.

U13 Badminton Success

Higher Geography involved in Local Planning – As part of their consultation process for the West Highlands and Islands Local Development plan, Lynn Clarke and Carrie Grant from the Highland Council’s planning department visited Higher Geography pupils to hear their vision for Gairloch and the surrounding area. After an introduction to what a local development plan is pupils identified what they liked about the area and how those things could be safeguarded. Pupils were then invited to start their own submissions to the consultation by using local maps to mark areas for different land uses – housing, retail, industry and open space to name a few. Some of the ideas they came up with ranged from more affordable housing in Gairloch, an expansion to the college, greater number of bus stops, large protected areas as a National Park and even a bakery. These maps will now be completed and passed along to the planning team to take to other public bodies for consideration. Pupils will be able to see these reflected in the draft plan due towards the end of 2015.

Higher Geography

The Touring Network – “Titus” by Jan SobrieThanks to Miss Mackison and West Coast Arts, the Touring Network came to our school on 3rd February to perform, but it had been kept a secret. We were about to start our English lesson, just beginning to wonder why the second years were in the class too, when a random stranger came into the room and stood on the table at the front!  We didn’t have time to figure out what was happening before “10-year-old Titus” started to tell us his life story, as if he were standing on the edge of his school roof. Gavin Wright, who played Titus and all the other characters in his story, was really funny, but some parts of the story were sad and dealt with serious things too.  Normally you expect to go to a theatre to see a play performed, but this play came right into our classroom for us – as did a fresh sardine which flew through the air (thrown by Gavin’s assistant Lou Turnbull from the corridor) to help us believe that our dreams can come true! (Nadia Fenton and Cameron Maclennan, S1)

Some pupil comments:

  • …out of the blue a man wearing bright red shoes, looking lost, stormed into our class and climbed onto the table!
  • It was a great performance, well worth watching.
  • It was so much fun instead of doing normal English!
  • It was really surprising to see a man walk into class and shout from a table.  It really grabbed everyone’s attention.
  • …the room was filled with laughter – it was great.
  • Gavin had a lot of energy.
  • At the start I was scared that a drunk had walked into the class!
  • I loved it when he just entered the room and stood on the table and started smiling!
  • I wish I could watch it again.
  • When Gavin came in I was at first like – ?  But then he got on the table and I was still like – ?  Then he told the story and I was like – oh!
  • I thought the best part of the play was when the fish fell out of the sky.  It was brilliant!
  • Of course it was a bit weird, a random guy walking into the class, but it was great!
  • Something I won’t forget!
  • I would pay to see that in a theatre.
  • The actor did a great job playing multiple emotions and roles.
  • When he first came in I thought he was checking the electricity!
  • Today a random guy walked into the classroom and proceeded to perform a one-man show!
  • It was funny and sad at the same time.
  • It was great how the actor made a school desk come to life!
  • There was a lot of suspension of disbelief.

Malawi Quiz Night – Well done to the S2/S3 Malawi Fundraising team! They raised £328 on the evening of Friday 6th February during the quiz. They did a very good job welcoming members of the community, serving teas and coffees, selling raffle tickets and of course presenting the quiz! A big thank you should go to Miss Velt for organizing the pupils and everyone who contributed and took part.

Cross Country EventOn Wednesday the 11th of February, the Gairloch High cross-country took place with 54 pupils taking part. Due to the muddy portions of the track, we were briefed to run to the conditions to avoid injury. The course was enjoyable with challenging uphill sections to go with the fast paced downhill areas on the mixed track at Flowerdale. The cold air provided good running conditions and combined with dry weather allowing the participants to push themselves to the best of their ability. (Alasdair Macdonald and James Aaron S5).

Sofie Banister (S6) was first of the Senior Girls to complete the course followed by Laura Russell and then Eilidh Johnston and Catherine Wyatt battling it out for 3rd and 4th place. The Junior Girls’ race was very competitive and all the top places went to S1 girls. The race was won by Emma MacDonald with Isabella Wiseman in 2nd place and Nadia Fenton in 3rd.

Jordan Gorman won the Senior Boys’ race followed by Alasdair ‘Buckets’ MacDonald in 2nd and Alasdair MacDonald (S5) in 3rd. The Junior Boys’ race was a tie with David MacGregor, Iain Nelson and Evan MacPhail all crossing the finish line together. Well done to all runners who completed the course and tried their best.

Thanks to Mr Bowker, Mr Johnston, Ms Newman, Miss MacAllister, Miss Smith, Mrs Hildrey and Mrs Johnston who helped with marshalling, photography and driving duties. Well done also to members of the Activity Tourism class who set out arrows round the course, marshalled, took photographs and did the scoring on the day. Thanks also to Mrs & Mrs Mackenzie for providing us with shelter, refreshments and use of the garden in front of Flowerdale House to warm-up, start and finish the races.

Photos can be seen on the website by clicking here or on the photo of Jordan Gorman winner of the Senior Boys below.

Cross Country 2015


S1 GRAND BRING AND BUY SALE – We welcome donations: baking, books, DVDs & CDs, bric-a-brac, plants, electrical items in good working order, toys, clothes in good condition, jewellery, bottles and raffle prizes.

Items for the sale can be:

  • Handed to any member of the school
  • Delivered direct to the Community Hall on Friday 13th March between 3.30pm and 6pm
  • Collected by us – call the school office on 712275 and leave your details.

The sale takes place on Saturday 14th March – 10am in the Gairloch Community Hall – please support S1 pupils!

Parent Council fund-raising – The Parent Council are selling blank cards from various locations around the area. The cards use photographs submitted by school pupils. With the help of local photographer Gordon Harrison parents selected photographs taken by Iain Nelson, Holly Morrison and Amy Tattersall. The colour photo-cards are available for £1 each of 6 for £5 if you take one of each. Cards can be viewed and purchased in the School Library and Laide Post Office

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