Pupils drink in disaster survival

Children learn how to produce clean water and build shelters as part of a Royal Society project. Julia Belgutay reports
6th May 2011, 1:00am


Pupils drink in disaster survival


Pupils at Murrayburn Primary in Edinburgh will be taking part in innovative challenges set by scientists and engineers in a project funded by the Royal Society. The school has been awarded a partnership grant by the society, which is the UK's national academy of science. It will enable the children to develop their understanding and knowledge of science through taking part in "Disaster Survivor".

The project aims to show the important roles scientists and engineers play in disaster situations and will involve pupils from P3-7 taking part in a variety of challenges, set by the professionals in co-operation with the school's teachers.

P3 pupils will learn how to build bio-sand filters to produce clean water, and the result will be tested by P6 pupils. P4 and P5 will attempt to build shelters and bridges, while P7 takes part in workshops on solar power. Their work will then be showcased for the whole school.

"Science and engineering are exhilarating and dynamic subjects and we hope that by giving teachers the opportunity to introduce innovative science, we can help show young people how much fun in real life these subjects can be," said Professor John Pethica, vice-president of the Royal Society.

Ana Vieira, a PhD student at Edinburgh University's school of engineering, will work on the project with Dr Andrew Firth, an engineering outreach co- ordinator at the university, and Murrayburn's depute head, Pamela Briggs.

"Our project will bring to life what pupils learn about in the classroom and help them to understand the impact of science and engineering upon their day-to-day activities," said Ms Vieira.

To apply for a partnership grant:



Exhibits A-Z


A new museum in Aberdeen will run an education programme. The Aberdeen University collection includes thousands of scientific specimens gathered during research in geology, anatomy, pathology and zoology. The opening exhibition, "100 Curiosities", takes inspiration from the "History of the World in 100 objects" run by the British Museum and the BBC.

Authors line up


The Scottish Book Trust has revealed the line-up for its latest Meet Our Authors programme. This includes Scots Makar Liz Lochhead, James Mayhew, Andy Stanton, David Almond and Kjartan Poskitt, and culminates in a live broadcast by Francesca Simon, author of the Horrid Henry series, next March.

CLD links


The new expanded community learning and development section of the Learning and Teaching Scotland website offers links to resources under three themes: young people, children and families, with advice on supporting children in their first years; building community capacity; and adult learning.

www.ltscotland.org.ukcommunity learningand development

Fossil fun


Glasgow's "Fossil Grove", in Victoria Park, has reopened with new features. There are new information panels and a tank containing live "beasties" to make connections with ancient ancestors of the carboniferous period, plus a balcony for looking down on fossil trees and roots.

NTS guide


The National Trust for Scotland has new web pages for schools. Free resources include teachers' packs for sites such as the Georgian House in Edinburgh and Bannockburn, and information on the slave trade, archaeology and warfare. Under "Plan Your Visit", teachers can download details for trips to NTS sites. www.ntslearning.org.uk.

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