About Mrs.Binnie

Support for Learning/Chemistry Teacher at Preston Lodge High School

Discovering our ancestors in ELP ICT…

In ELP ICT this term, the pupils have been investigating their family lineage and undertaking a project that is allowing them to develop and use a wide range of computing skills whilst finding out a little more about where they come from.

We began the initial work by watching a clip from a BBC iPlayer episode of Who Do You Think You Are? In this episode famous childrens’ author, JK Rowling, explored her own family background and allowed our young people to have a simple discussion around the topic and disclose to the group what they already knew about family trees.

Our next task was to make a start on our own family tree building! Each pupil was given a basic template to take home and get parental support in completing the basic building blocks of their own ancestral line. Each family group completed a skeleton tree with details on grandparents name and dates of birth – and great grandparents if this information was to hand. Some families were also able to provide information about a further generation back.

This information was going to be used by each pupil to input data into an online family tree generator. Each student created their own online account using their school email address. Those who needed support to do this were assisted by an adult. Then data was entered into their respective trees and saved for use later on in this process.

Our next task was to find out more about our names. First of all we used online heraldry and ancestry sites to search for each of our respective surnames. We found out –

  • what our surname meant
  • where it came from
  • what its distribution in the UK was in 1880
  • whether it had a coat of arms, a clan, a tartan or a motto

Each pupil generated a MS Word document to record this information.

We then moved on to looking at first names. Each pupil was set homework to find out why they were given the name they have. They were to pay particular attention to –

  • whether they were named after a relative
  • whether they were named after someone famous
  • whether they were simply given the name because it was nice
  • whether they were given the name for any other pertinent reason

We soon discovered that our youngsters have a wide range of reasons for their first names being what they are! Two were named after someone famous, two were named after relatives and one got their name because their mum just liked it.

We also spent time using online resources to find out about the origin of each of the names. We looked for

  • country of origin
  • whether it has different forms in different languages
  • whether there was any other information about the evolution of the name
  • what the name means

Again, pupils used MS Word to create a document containing all of this important information. We had lots of fun finding out about the origins of our names – one of us has a name meaning “lion”, another has a name meaning “king” and someone else has a name meaning “stretch of water”. We also discovered the name Fiona means “ogre from Shrek”…or something like that 😉

Our next task was to look at family coats of arms in a little more detail. Each pupil was asked to find out what components there were in their respective coat of arms. They were then asked to use this information in conjunction with information about their own interests and background to create a more modern coat of arms for themselves! Using an online software template to build our own coat of arms, each pupil came up with a colourful and meaningful emblem for themselves. They included

  • a coat of arms with a Tardis, Darth Vader, Irish emblems and green flashes
  • a coat of arms with a Playstation, a cat, Hearts badge and a hill
  • a coat of arms with X Factor symbols, musical connotations and a meadow
  • a coat of arms with a hammer, a Playstation and a television

Each coat of arms was then transformed using appropriate colours – if the name had Irish origins, for example, the pupils opted for green chevrons or flashes. We then stored them for inclusion in our final family tree…

This week the pupils are going to start digging a little deeper into their family histories. Using information we have about great grandparents and other relatives born or alive before 1911, we will be using the online resource www.ancestry.co.uk to look further back into our family history. We will be trying to use birth records, census records, marriage records and death records to establish

  • where our ancestors lived
  • who they lived with
  • what they did for a living
  • what they were called

We will use this information to extend our current trees and create a better picture of where we came from… 


CSI ELP Science…coming to a classroom near you soon!

ELP Science will be entering the realm of the forensic detective in the coming weeks and months – thanks to Inspector Ben of Scotland Yard showing an insatiable appetite for all things CSI!

We will be differentiating the current mainstream S3 Forensic Options course and introducing our Senior ELP Scientists to the world of finger prints, foot prints and deduction.

Whether it is generating our own finger prints and looking for incriminating whorls or measuring tyre treads in the mud, our intrepid investigators will be learning a range of important life skills and scientific competencies. It should even make watching CSI even more fun for them!

Aiming to ELP on Friday with Red Nose Day Bake Sale…

On Friday 15th March, the ELP pupils will be selling Red Nose baking to raise money for Comic Relief. We will be coming round classes during Period 2 and hoping to sell lots of goodies in aid of the charity. Having a Bake Sale is one of the 7 activities you can do to raise money. Why not check out the Comic Relief website for more information about how to do something funny for money?


We hope you will ELP our efforts by buying something from us on Friday – please bring lots of change to school!

In the meantime, here’s One Direction to help explain a little more!


Senior ELP Science finding out how to make pictures using only 3 colours of light…

Have you ever wondered how your television screen shows such wonderful pictures? Did you realise that these pictures are made using only three colours of light in the first place?


Here is a close up of a television screen. You can clearly see the three colours it uses to generate other colours – and therefore pictures. The 3 main colours are

  • red
  • blue
  • green

By mixing red and green you can make yellow light. By mixing red and blue you can make magenta light (pinky colour). By mixing blue and green you can make cyan (turquoisy colour). By mixing red, green and blue light all together at the same time you can make white light!

This is the basis for making coloured pictures on the television screen.

The process for making colour described above is known as additive colour mixing. Additive mixing happens when coloured light is superimposed to make new colours. This can happen by projecting different coloured lights on top of one another, by flashing the lights so quickly we can’t see the individual colours, or by making adjacent patches of the colours so small that they blur together in our eyes. It is this last technique (small dots of light) that is most often used in colour televisions. There are other important parts of making colour television work. These include breaking the picture up into small spots of light, called pixels.

Senior ELP Science pupils tune in to television and radio…

 Episode One – “How do televisions and radios work?”

As part of the Senior ELP Science programme we have been learning about how televisions and radios work. This is part of an Intermediate I Physics unit we are undertaking but we are also just very interested in what goes on “inside the box”.



We have been discovering that radios have 6 important parts. They are shown here

The aerial collects signals sent from far away. The tuner helps you choose the right frequency/station. The decoder helps change that into a signal that is sent to the amplifier to be made stronger. The loudspeaker turns that signal into sound. All of this needs a power supply to make it work.


A television is a lot like a radio but it has two jobs to do – it has to produce pictures as well as sound. This means it has more important parts. They are shown below:

Just like the radio, it has an aerial to collect signal from far away. It also has a tuner to select the correct frequency/channel. However, the television has two decoders – one for sound and one for pictures. It also has two amplifiers – one for sound and one for pictures. The television has only one loudspeaker to turn the signal into soundwaves we can hear. It also has a tv tube which turns the vision signal into pictures on a screen. The television needs mains electricity to work. This is different to the radio which can be run on batteries.

 Tune in next time for…

“Episode Two – How do we make pictures using only 3 colours of light?”


Script  David Tracey

Director  Rachael Baillie

Producer Mrs Binnie

With thanks to Dr Voge

ELP Burns Blog report by Ben and David…

The ELPs have been finding out about Robert Burns.

Robert Burns was born in 1759 on January 25th. He is Scotland’s most famous poet. He wrote famous poems such as “To a mouse” and “My love is like a red red rose”. His most famous song is “Auld Lang Syne” which is sung at New Year.

Here is a link to a short film about Burns. It only takes 3 minutes to watch so why not spend a little time learning something new about our most famous poet?


Ben and David

ELP effort for Children In Need Friday November 16th 2012

ELP Cooking on Friday will become ELP Pudsey Cooking – for one Friday only! The pupils will be making Pudsey Spotty Cakes during Period 1 and then will look to sell them to other people during Period 2, as our contribution towards Children in Need.The kids will bring some cakes home as usual but half of what they make will go to the charity.Please can everyone also remember to bring their cooking money with them in addition to the £1 donation all pupils are being asked for on the day.




Many thanks!


The website is up and running again…

Apologies for the non publication of ELP diaries on the school website. As so many users will be aware, the school website has been out of commission for many months. However, now that the gremlins have been banished, we are back in business as of today and ELP diaries will reappear again in the coming weeks and months.

We know many of the parents have missed this valuable insight into their youngster’s daily routine and learning and will be busy bringing you fun and games, starting with this week’s Children in Need Effort!


ELP Whole School Project contribution boxes clever…

The ELP pupils will, as always be contributing to the work being done to make our annual Open Day the success it always is through our Whole School Project, London 2012.

We will be using a number of curricular areas to celebrate the success of our former pupil, Josh Taylor, in qualifying to represent Team GB at the London Olympics. Our plans include:

  • building “Josh’s Gym” – a 3D lifesize version of a boxing gym kitted out with suitable equipment thanks to collaboration with our excellent PE teachers
  • using boxing vocabulary in English to create written pieces about Josh’s participation at the Olympics for display at Open Day
  • creating a computer-based presentation to be used as our backdrop in our ICT lessons
  • learning about healthy hearts, lungs, diet and muscles in our ELP Science lessons and comparing Josh with other boxers such as David Haye – who would have the bigger reach, heart and weight? What difference would that make?
  • learning about the role sport and self defence lessons might have in boosting our mental health as well as our physical health in our ELP Health lessons.

We are certainly going to be boxing clever for this year’s Whole School Project contribution thanks to Josh and his wonderful news!


ELP RME update…

Overview of Term 1- This academic term the ELP students have been learning about several Autumn and Winter festivals as part of their RME Curriculum for Excellence course. We looked at festivals celebrated at this time of year in the local community and overseas. The students have explored why these festivals are important to people and how cultural and religious beliefs influence their actions.

We have looked at the Buddhist Chinese mid- Autumn Moon festival, the Christian Harvest festival, the Hindu Indian festival of Diwali, the Buddhist Thai festival of Loy Krathong, the Jewish festival of Hannukah and Christmas. To enhance our knowledge and communication skills we have read, role-played and retold traditional stories relating to these festivals and learnt many new words. We have played traditional Chinese and Indian Diwali games to develop our maths skills.

To develop our ICT, research and motor skills we have made paper lanterns, built krathong floats from bread and Thai orchids, written and wordprocessed pieces of writing, coloured- in and used the internet to find pictures on what we have learnt, made Diwali Diva lamps and Diwali money envelopes and some very cute Christmas Nativity finger puppets. We have felt some traditional Thai silk and eaten exotic Chinese fruits and Moon cake, it’s been really good fun!

Term 1. Harvest Festival

During the months of September and October, Preston Lodge High School’s Enhanced Provision students, as part of their RME curriculum, collected and donated toiletries, cleaning and household items to support Bethany Christian Trusts Harvest Homemaker Appeal. The students collected many items which were distributed amongst Bethany Christian Trust hostels and their services for homeless people.

Preston Lodge received a certificate of appreciation from Bethany and the students were awarded school based Curriculum for Excellence citizenship certificates

Term 1. Loy Krathong festival

During the months of November and December the ELP students learnt about the Thai festival of Loy Krathong. The students  built their own krathongs (using biodegradable materials) and floated them in the school pond. The students also established an international link with the The British International School of Phuket in Thailand. The ELPs sent emails to Thai students; introducing themselves, Scotland and their local community and outlining what they learnt about the Thai Loy Krathong festival. ELPS are global citizens!

Overview of Term 2-

From exploring religious festivals, beliefs and  practices celebrated in their local community and in other countries in term 1, succeeded by  studying rules that apply within groups, communities and in the world religion Christianity in Term 2,  the ELP students were presented for the SQA RMPS Access 2 modules; ‘Questioning Belief’ and ‘Questioning the World’.

Z Monaco