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School Garden Achieves Level 5 RHS Award

St Joseph’s have been members of the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society – the leading gardening charity) Campaign for School Gardening for a number of years. As we have developed our garden we have shared our progress with the RHS and achieved award levels as we progress.

Level 5 is the highest award level and we have successfully met all the criteria which included sharing our knowledge outwith school which we did in our work creating a garden area at Northcote Lodge. We have been presented with a certificate, plaque, vouchers and the right to use the logo on our school publications.
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Less than 2% of schools in the school garden campaign have achieved level 5 so this is a great achievement for our school and a testament to the hard work of our pupils and how well they look after our grounds.

Well done and thank you to you all!

Our visit to Aberdeen Science Centre was Out of this World!

Thirty pupils from across the senior classes visited Aberdeen Science Centre and met 2 representatives from NASA – Dr Sue Lederer, who works with scientists looking at space and stars and discovering new planets, IMG_2894and Rick Heib, an astronaut who has flown in 3 missions into space.



They talked to to us about finding a new solar system -Trappist 1 with planets orbiting the star that are comparable in size to earth and in the habitable zone of the solar system! We learned that a year only lasts a few days on some of the planets!IMG_2896We also learned what it is really like to work in space ; about the cramped conditions, having to use liquid salt and pepper and even having to wear a nappy on space walks!IMG_2902

We heard about the experiments they carry out in space – investigating how other creatures from earth like insects and goldfish survive and adapt to living in space.

We also built some electronic circuits in teams – one team had to describe what to put where and the other team had to build it – but they could not see what each other had so it was a bit like a game of Battleships!IMG_2888

A visit to the Planetarium saw us learn about the conditions required on planets to find life and that that life may well be micro organisms – is there life out there?

On the spot Science showed us how hovercraft work with a cushion of air IMG_2909and we even got to fire our own rocket!

It was a great visit and we all really enjoyed it and as the visitors from NASA said -they never thought they would one day work for NASA so what is to stop any of us ? Among us we may have the scientists of the future finding new planets and solar systems or engineers helping us get there or even intrepid astronauts – boldly going where no one has gone before!!


Prize Winners at Oil and Gas Centre


St Joseph’s pupils in P7 entered a competition run as part of the opening of the new Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) on Queens Road. Their remit was to create an innovative design using technology to extract the pockets of oil and Gas in the hydrocarbon fields around the UK and North Sea.

Finalists were selected from the four schools which took part and those shortlisted were invited to attend the opening day at which the winners would be decided.

Our finalists were Zuzanna and Caroline ( they worked together on their project), Katy and Mahdeen.

Sir Ian Wood and other senior figures in the oil and gas industry made up the panel of judges who spoke to each of the finalists and invited them to explain their project design. IMG_2770

Mahdeen’s design involved the use of Virtual Reality and remote sensing to sight and control drilling robots alongside conventional rigs to drill extract and transport oil to the refinery. These robots are programmed to float back automatically and there would be no need for decommissioning so saving more money.

IMG_2767 Zuzanna and Caroline worked together on a project design that uses 2 drones, each controlling a drill and remotely controlled by iPad, from onshore or another rig, to drill and extract the Oil and Gas and then can be moved by remote control also.

IMG_2765Katy used lasers powered by electricity generated by the waves to reach the pockets of oil and Gas and robots to help extract the reserves. The notion of free electricity would appeal to the oil industry as it would drastically reduce costs.

IMG_2791IMG_2792While the judges deliberated over the short listed projects the pupils were interviewed by STV News and also had the opportunity to experience and try out some of the new technology in use currently such as 3D printers, VR, and robotics!

Mahdeen’s design won a Highly Commended prize and Katy’s project was awarded First Prize! As part of the prize Katy received a trophy printed on a 3 D printer and the school was presented with a cheque for £500 to be spent on Science within the school!


The judges certainly felt that we have some budding Oil and Gas experts of the future!









P6 watched a live science lesson from the BBC in their classroom. hacker T Dog helped to demonstrate how electricity works and how it makes things work, through experiments, fascinating facts and questions. We tweeted in our answers to the programme!

It was really interesting!

We saw how to build circuits, the difference between conductors and insulators.  We saw how to make human circuits, passing sound through people to a speaker. We learnt that humans resist electricity and are not good conductors. They also told us about the importance of questioning, observing and recording our science work. website has lots of information on more lessons; starting in January with how our body tastes things. P6 are looking forward to taking part.


Google expedition visited St Joseph’s and we went on virtual trips to the Moon, Mount Everest, Rio, underwater expeditions, to name but a few. IMG_2474 IMG_2475

Expeditions is a new product that allows teachers to take their classes on virtual field trips, immersing students in experiences that bring abstract concepts to life and giving students a deeper understanding of the world beyond the classroom.
A box arrives with everything you need to travel: a tablet for the teacher, and Cardboard viewers and phones for every student. Next, the teacher selects a destination, and the entire classroom jumps there automatically.
The Wildlife Conservation Society, PBS, the American Museum of Natural History, the Planetary Society, and the Palace of Versailles contributed to developing the curriculum for students.
These trips are collections of virtual reality panoramas — 360° photo spheres, 3D images and video, ambient sounds — annotated with details, points of interest, and questions that make them easy to integrate into curriculum already used in schools.
While nothing replaces hopping on the bus for a field trip, Expeditions provide an unparalleled opportunity for supplemental learning.
Google Cardboard is a virtual reality viewer made almost entirely of actual cardboard. Cardboard allows anyone with a modern smartphone to experience virtual reality. There have been more than 5 million Cardboard viewers shipped since we announced them in 2014.


What did you think of Google Expedition? Make sure you let us know by leaving a comment.

Engineer ‘n’ Our Lives


We enjoyed our visit from Engineering professionals from Chevron who spent a week showing us how engineering influences so many areas in our lives.

Material + Engineer = Product

We took part in 4 workshops looking at process, properties, prototype and design. We built tables, a baby bear’s house and a chimney! Everyone worked in small groups and everyone was engaged and took part in the activity and the discussion of ideas and finding answers.IMG_2392

Industry experts came in to our class and shared their experience as engineers. We never realised there were so many different areas of engineering!

Visit to St Margaret’s

IMG_2331Primary 6 girls visited St Margaret’s to take part in a Science morning. The girls were split into small groups and senior St Margaret’s pupils assisted with 6 experiments that were completed over the course of the morning. The focus was on living things and we looked at how a butterfly drinks, how snails move, how we see things, looking at our sense of smell, how colour affects what we see…..IMG_2318

It was a very busy morning and all the experiments helped the P6 girls understand the objectives of the experiments. It was lovely to be invited to another school and have the opportunity to share in their learning.

St Margaret’s have a lovely little garden area and a Garden Club and are taking part in the RHS Campaign for School Gardening. We have invited St Margaret’s to pay a visit to our school garden so we may share our gardening experiences with them and discuss new ideas.IMG_2334

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