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Skye and Lochalsh schools access Newton Room STEM activities

Published: 04/11/2021

More than 500 pupils from Portree and Plockton high schools and their associated primary schools are taking part in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) sessions.

Bun Sgoil Shlèite children at the pop-up Newton Room

Between August and November 2021, the Science Skills Academy (SSA) has been delivering 36 hands-on practical STEM sessions, called Newton Modules, to P6-S2 classes during the inaugural tour of its ‘pop-up’ Newton Room. 

The final two legs of the tour will see the pop-up Newton Room hosted at An Crùbh on the Sleat Peninsula 2-4 November before returning to Portree Shinty Club 9-16 November. 

Primary pupils have taken part in the Robotics & Mathematics Newton Modules where they have investigated different ways of estimating, calculating and measuring distance and then use LEGO Mindstorms robots to assess their accuracy.

Secondary pupils have explored electricity generation and renewable energy sources via the Renewable Energy Newton Module. 

SSA is a partnership project led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) as part of the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal. It aims to inspire more young people to become interested in STEM, encourage them to study these subjects at school and beyond, and raise awareness of the wide range of STEM careers available in the Highlands and Islands. 

The Highland Newton Room Network has been created by the SSA in locations across the region including Thurso and Fort William, which both opened in 2019. A third Newton Room opened in Dingwall last year, and more recently Newton Module activities are being delivered at the interim Inverness Newton Room at An Lòchran, Inverness Campus. 

The pop-up approach replicates the experience of visiting a Newton Room, with portable furniture and equipment and a dedicated member of staff to deliver Newton Module activities. 

The pop-up Newton Room has been hosted at various locations across Skye and Lochalsh including Achmore, Dunvegan and Staffin and will then visit the Badenoch and Strathspey area later in the academic year.  

Emma Robertson, SSA project manager at HIE, said: “One of the fundamental principles of the SSA is to ensure that all young people aged 10-14 years, in every part of the region gets equal access to inspiring STEM activities. We are delighted, after a challenging 18 months, to now trial our pop-up Newton Room model with schools in the Skye and Lochalsh area.  

“We have already delivered sessions to Skye pupils at the Skye Camanachd Shinty Club in Portree, Staffin Community Hall and Dunvegan Community Hall, and to all P6-S2 pupils from Lochalsh schools when the pop-up was hosted at Stromferry and Achmore Village Hall. We have had a great response from pupils and teachers.”

Katie Wight, teacher at Bun-Sgoil Shlèite, said: “We are delighted that our pupils in Slèite have been given this learning opportunity and we hope that there will be more of it in the future. The pupils got to use the technology and experience programming as well as robotics in a combination of fun activities. Scott was fantastic with the pupils and there were enough resources for all children to actively engage in activities.”

Don Esson, Highland Council - area education and learning manager, said: “I commend the work the Science Skills Academy has achieved in bringing engaging STEM sessions to Skye and Lochalsh.  Following a challenging and restricting time, it has been rewarding for our young people to experience the Newton Room in a pop-up model. Pupils and teachers have thoroughly enjoyed the variety of STEM topics covered and it is hoped that the portable Newton Room can be developed to offer further learning opportunities and that it can continue to inspire young people and raise awareness of future STEM careers.”

The partnership project is delivered by the SSA and is led by HIE with £3m from the Scottish Government. The funding is part of the £315 million Inverness and Highlands City Region Deal, which is funded by the Scottish and UK Governments and regional partners. 

The project brings together key organisations including Highland Council, the University of the Highlands and Islands, Skills Development Scotland, High Life Highland and NHS Highland, all working together to demonstrate this model of STEM delivery in a large rural area.  

Sgoiltean an Eilein Sgitheanaich ’s Loch Aillse a’ faighinn cothrom air gnìomhachdan STEM Seòmar Newton

Tha còrr air 500 sgoilear bho àrd-sgoiltean Phort Rìgh agus a’ Phluic agus am bun-sgoiltean co-cheangailte, air a bhith a’ gabhail pàirt ann an seiseanan saidheans, teicneòlas, innleadaireachd is matamataig (STEM).

Eadar an Lùnastal agus an t-Samhain 2021, tha Acadamaidh nan Sgilean Saidheans (SSA) air a bhith a’ lìbhrigeadh 36 seiseanan practaigeach STEM, fon ainm Modalan Newton, do chlasaichean P6-ÀS2 rè an cuairt tòiseachaidh tro Sheòmar ‘sealach’ Newton. 

Chithear an dà chuairt mu dheireadh de Sheòmar sealach Newton a’ faighinn aoigheachd aig An Crùbh ann an Slèite 2-4 An t-Samhain agus an uair sin air ais gu Port Rìgh 9-16 An t-Samhain.

Tha sgoilearan bun-sgoile air pàirt a ghabhail ann am Modalan Robotaireachd is Matamataig Newton, far a bheil iad air diofar dhòighean a rannsachadh air astar a thuairmseadh, obrachadh a-mach agus a thomhas agus an uair sin ròbotan LEGO Mindstorms a chleachdadh gus am mionaideachd a mheasadh.

Tha sgoilearan àrd-sgoile air cruthachadh dealain agus tùsan cumhachd ath-nuadhachail a rannsachadh tron Mhodal Cumhachd Ath-nuadhachail aig Newton. 

Is e pròiseact com-pàirteachais a th’ ann an SSA air a stiùireadh le Iomairt na Gàidhealtachd ’s nan Eilean (HIE) mar phàirt de Aonta Inbhirnis agus Sgìre Baile-mòr na Gàidhealtachd. Tha e ag amas air barrachd dhaoine òga a bhrosnachadh gu ùidh a ghabhail ann an STEM, am brosnachadh gu na cuspairean sin a sgrùdadh san sgoil agus air a taobh a-muigh, agus mothachadh a thogail don raon fharsaing de dhreuchdan STEM a tha rim faotainn sa Ghàidhealtachd ’s na h-Eileanan.  

Tha Lìonra Seòmar Newton na Gàidhealtachd air a chruthachadh leis an SSA ann an àiteachan tarsainn na roinne, a’ gabhail a-steach Inbhir Theòrsa agus An Gearasdan, a dh’fhosgail le chèile ann an 2019. Dh’fhosgail treas Seòmar Newton ann an Inbhir Pheofharain an-uiridh agus o chionn ghoirid tha gnìomhachdan Modal Newton air a bhith gan lìbhrigeadh aig Seòmar Newton Inbhir Nis anns An Lòchran, Àrainn Inbhir Nis. 

Tha am modh-obrach sealach a’ mac-samhlachadh tadhal air Seòmar Newton, le àirneis agus uidheam gluasadach agus àireamh ainmichte de luchd-obrach airson gnìomhachdan Modalan Newton a lìbhrigeadh. 

Tha Seòmar sealach Newton air aoigheachd fhaighinn aig diofar àiteachan air feadh an Eilein Sgitheanaich ’s Loch Aillse, a’ gabhail a-steach Acha Mòr, Dùn Bheagain agus Stafainn agus an uair sin tadhal air sgìre Bhàideanach agus Shrath Spè nas fhaide air adhart sa bhliadhna acadaimigich.

Thuirt Emma Robertson, manaidsear pròiseict SSA aig HIE: “Is e aon de phrionnsapalan bunaiteach an SSA dèanamh cinnteach gum faigh daoine òga uile, aois 10-14 bliadhna anns gach pàirt den sgìre, cothrom co-ionann air gnìomhachdan brosnachail STEM, mar sin tha sinn air leth toilichte an dèidh 18 mìosan dùbhlanach, a bhith a-nis a’ deuchainneadh ar modal sealach Seòmar Newton le sgoiltean ann an sgìre an Eilein Sgitheanaich ’s Loch Aillse.   

“Tha sinn mar-thà air seiseanan a lìbhrigeadh do sgoilearan an Eilein Sgitheanaich ann an Club Iomain an Eilein Sgitheanaich ann am Port Rìgh, Talla Coimhearsnachd Stafainn agus Talla Coimhearsnachd Dhùn Bheagain, agus do sgoilearan P6-ÀS2 uile ann an sgoiltean Loch Aillse nuair a chaidh aoigheachd a thoirt dhaibh ann am Port an t-Sròim agus Talla Baile an Acha Mhòir. Tha sgoilearan is tidsearan air com-pàirteachadh gu math.

Thuirt Katie Wight, tidsear ann am Bun-Sgoil Shlèite: “Tha sinn air leth toilichte gun d’ fhuair ar sgoilearan an seo ann an Slèite an cothrom ionnsachaidh seo agus tha sinn an dòchas gum bi barrachd dheth an làthair san àm ri teachd.  Fhuair na sgoilearan cothrom air an teicneòlas a chleachdadh agus chuir iad eòlas air prògramadh cho math ri robotaireachd ann am measgachadh de ghnìomhachdan spòrsail. Bha Scott mìorbhaileach leis na sgoilearan agus bha gu leòr ghoireasan ann airson na cloinne uile a dhol an sàs gu gnìomhach sna gnìomhachdan.”

Tha am pròiseact com-pàirteachais air a lìbhrigeadh leis an SSA agus tha e air a stiùireadh le HIE agus £3m bho Riaghaltas na h-Alba. Tha am maoineachadh de £315 millean mar phàirt de Aonta Inbhir Nis is Sgìre Baile-mòr na Gàidhealtachd, a tha maoinichte le Riaghaltasan na h-Alba agus na RA agus an com-pàirtichean roinneil.

Tha am pròiseact a’ tarraing prìomh bhuidhnean còmhla a’ gabhail a-steach Comhairle na Gàidhealtachd, Oilthigh na Gàidhealtachd ’s nan Eilean, Leasachadh Sgilean na h-Alba, High Life Highland agus NHS na Gàidhealtachd, uile ag obair còmhla gus am modal seo a thaisbeanadh a thaobh lìbhrigeadh STEM ann an sgìre mhòr dhùthchail.  

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