Mackie Matters - Trips, visits and achievements

Although we are now on holiday, I thought we could share with you some information about trips, visits and achievements that did not quite make it into our end of term newsletter.

I was lucky enough to accompany the visit outlined below by some of our students and it was a great experience highlighting the important work that the Gordon Highlanders Museum does in keeping alive the history around this important institution and the momentous events it has been part of. I will let our students tell their tale:

“As part of our National 5 History course, S4 pupils study the topic ‘Scots and World War One’. To help us with our studies we were given the opportunity to visit the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen on May 7.

When we arrived we were greeted by friendly staff and were shown to a small room. We were shown a short but informative video about the Gordon Highlanders history and their contribution to the First World War. After that we split into groups to be shown different parts of the museum. The first part was a special display all about the First World War especially for the centenary year.

It had information about the battles and what happened in them with great details. Also there were different uniforms on display and information about things that soldiers did in the trenches. In the middle of the room there was a model of a trench system. In the model there was little model soldiers doing different jobs and activities. Then we went to a talk from a living historian about uniforms and weapons.

We saw the different items of the uniform and also how it was developed over the years of the war to be improved. We saw lots of different weapons and were told about how they worked and how effective they were. After that we went to see a model of a dugout which was very realistic and interesting. We were also told about different things soldiers made in the trenches out of things like scrap metal. Overall the trip was fantastic, very informative and worth the visit.”

In addition to this our new S2 students have been working on a WW1 project as part of their electives programme throughout June and July. Led by Mrs McClymont it has been a great success but I will let the students tell you more:

“2014 is the 100 year anniversary of the beginning of WW1. For the past few weeks the S2 elective classes have been helping to commemorate this event. The whole year group and many different departments have been involved. In Art we have been studying different war artists and creating our own war art.

In Modern Languages we have researched the uniform worn by German soldiers, have drawn and created our own life size soldier and labelled his uniform using German terms. In English we have been making a WW1 podcast describing life in Britain during the war, as well as building a cross section of a trench. In Computing we have used the Photostory technology to create a WW1 newsreel. In History we have been researching, writing and editing a war newspaper.

In Health and Food we have been investigating rationing, have created our own recipes and cooked some ‘delicious’ WW1 meals. Finally in Technical we have designed and made a memorial to soldiers and staff from Mackie killed in the Great War.

Once all our work has been completed it will form part of a war commemoration week. There will be a large display of our work in school, the newsreel will be played on the plasma screen at reception, the podcast will air on the school radio and we will erect the memorial in the school grounds. We hope you enjoy reading and seeing all of our hard work.”

The community will be able to view all of the work in the same week that the school play “O What a Lovely War” is performed in November 2014. We look forward to seeing you there.

A team of budding computer scientists competed in the Strathmore Challenge in June and performed to a very high standard. Ethan Samson, Rory McLellan, Meg Parkhill and Megan Grant did themselves and the school proud and a big thanks to Mrs Dykes for accompanying them and organising this opportunity.

Finally our annual Prize Giving event took place on Thursday evening. It was a great occasion and thanks to all those who made it happen. Our guest speaker was Richard Pattinson, who has participated in expeditions to the Antarctic and other far flung regions of the world. He spoke to our students about all the skills that have made him enjoy and gain experience from these expeditions and very cleverly related this to the current challenges our students face.

Thanks must also go to our two senior students – Emily Bruce and Joanna Bell – who proposed the vote of thanks and made it a memorable evening.