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Mission to Mars Has Landed at Lomond School!
Mission to Mars Has Landed at Lomond School!

Lomond School invited all Argyll and Bute primary schools to join them last Friday for a Mars themed digital learning day for P5 and P6 pupils following the success of the project with their own pupils.

The programme, designed and supported by XMA and Apple to give learners the opportunity to work with sensors, Spheros, drones and other digital content allowed pupils to be astronauts for the day and focussed on how they would adapt and survive on Mars. At a time when Mars is increasingly seen as a viable destination for colonisation as a resource rich planet and when the longevity of our own planet’s resources are questionable, this very real and inspiring topic harnesses interest and engages learners of all ages.

Pupils from Rhu and Cardross Primary Schools took part in a stimulating challenge, making use of some of exciting new technology and applications on the iPad. Children were presented with tasks encompassing the themes of numeracy, literacy, science, engineering and technology:

What if you were an astronaut stranded on Mars?

How would you design and build a suitable habitat?

How would you know what liquids would be safe to drink?

How could you use technology to rescue your fellow astronauts?

What would be in your final message home?

Pupils worked in groups led by Lomond School Digital Leaders, pupils from S3, who guided them brilliantly through a series of challenges demanding lateral thinking, creativity and problem-solving skills.

The budding mini astronauts worked together to design a blueprint for a dwelling on Mars which would withstand the harsh environment whilst providing a home and base for explorers and colonists. They were introduced to block editor code that was used to send small Sphero drones out onto nearby terrain to monitor and evaluate surroundings, and dodge obstacles. Their fellow astronauts recorded observations made about three unknown liquid solutions mined on Mars using video logs and sparkvue wireless pH sensor data. This was then safely documented in a digital Numbers activity book. Finally, as with any one-way trip to Mars, pupils pulled together a final message home using a selection of phrases that were compiled in a video message, using green screen technology, to send home

This cross-curricular digital learning event was a real success with pupils who proclaimed it was great fun and that they learned lots about Mars and technology.

Dr Alan McBeath, Head of Physics and Digital Strategy said: ‘Originally designed and developed by XMA and Apple and run as a teacher training event Lomond School Digital Leaders were invited along as the first pupils to attend and be trained, with the intention of them going on to lead the workshops themselves. We were thrilled to be the pilot project, and have since worked with over 100 pupils within Lomond School and in the local community. As one of the only 3-18 schools in Scotland that offers a 1:1 iPad program, it makes sense for Lomond School to offer such enrichment and education to the wider community’.


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