Tarbolton Primary School, South Ayrshire
Project: Don't Go with the Flow
Our primary school is located in a small rural village overlooking the Firth of Clyde in South Ayrshire. We have been a Green Flag school for 15 years and boast outstanding practice in outdoor learning where we use every space in our village to teach and learn about our natural environment.
The whole community is closely knitted around our learning campus and our inter-generational collaboration benefits every individual. Our village is surrounded by agricultural fields but also shelters a beautiful woodland where pupils go to play and learn about biodiversity, life cycles, and conservation. A small river crosses the woods and also offers abundant STEM learning opportunities.
In recent years, local residents and pupils have noticed an increase in the amount of litter alongside our roads and riverbanks. The Eco Group has always been heavily involved in addressing the issues of litter around the village. When offered to participate in this STEM the Flow competition, our pupils did not hesitate in wanting to delve deeper into learning about, and take action towards, the issue of litter in our village.
We started by doing an extensive litter pick around the campus and village and identified the source of the litter and its final destination. We concluded that most of the village litter came from purchased goods in the food and recreational categories.
So we decided to genuinely address the issue at source and engaged in discussions around how we are the source.
With this in mind, pupils voiced their wanting to cooperate with the rest of villagers to raise awareness on reducing our consumption of certain goods in shops. Our young people created awareness posters giving information on how to reduce their purchase of some goods and reuse some others. They then went around the different shop keepers in the village and collaboratively worked to expand their understanding of the impact of single-use plastic goods.
Ultimately, our pupils also understand some litter will inevitably end up in the sea, so they have also worked to find a solution to recycling effectively. They researched the implications of litter in waterways, here and around the world, and looked at the current technologies and groups in place to tackle whilst becoming future scientists and engineers themselves.
Primary 5 and 6 planned their own competition and all participated, in teams, to come up with the best model of litter disposal they could think of with regards to our specific issue in Tarbolton: litter in the drains. The best design was voted by teachers and pupils and our young winner engineers got to present their design to the rest of the classes and happy it will be part of this STEM the Flow challenge.
The Eco Group has always been heavily involved in addressing the issues of litter around the village. When offered to participate in this STEM the Flow competition, our pupils did not hesitate in wanting to delve deeper into learning about, and take action towards, the issue of litter in our village.
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