Newmains Primary School, Renfrewshire

Project: Save The Seas

At Newmains Primary we worked with a group of 10 very enthusiastic children who worried about the environment that they live in.  We discussed the concerns that we all had and then undertook an investigation.  The children took a walk to the River Cart and conducted a survey of the litter and rubbish which they found.  They were shocked to find plastic bottles, cans, dog faeces and much more.  The results of the survey showed that over 60% of the litter was plastic.  The children decided that something had to be done and getting involved in the STEM The Flow project seemed an interesting way to do this.

The children then searched the internet for ideas of projects which already existed to try and help stop plastics and other rubbish getting to the ocean.

The information the children obtained from their research then helped to inform their planning and they spent a session creating drawings of ideas.  At this point some children decided to work in pairs while others were happier working individually. 

Discussions took place with an engineer from Jacobs who gave the children valuable advice.  The children listened to what he said and then started to build their models.  Some children chose to do this out of junk modeling materials while others chose to use Lego.

These were shared again with the engineer from Jacobs who offered further advice about adaptations which could be made.

At this point we still had a few groups and individuals working on their own models.  To be able to decide about the model being presented here today the children were then invited to present their model and their ideas to the Depute Headteacher.  She chose two children who then worked collaboratively on this finished piece.

Scientific poster


The children saw the importance of creating a model which would represent a ship which was sustainable, fit for purpose and environmentally friendly.

The model the children created represents a ship which is made from recycled materials such as tin cans.  It is also powered by solar energy. 

The ship sails along the river and has a compartment at the front where the rubbish is scooped into.  The children were worried about the fish and so have installed a sensor which will detect when fish are close, and this sensor will stop the fish from being scooped up along with any rubbish.

As well as rubbish which is easy to see on the surface of the water the children wanted to find a way to clean the water from oil pollutants.  As the ship sails along it will suck the water from the river into a compartment at the back of the ship.  While continuing to sail, the ship will clean the water, separating it from the oil.  The clean water will be spouted back into the river and the oil will be stored until the ship is at a port.   

Our hope is that this piece of environmentally friendly sailing machinery will STEM the Flow of rubbish making its way to the oceans and seas. 


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