Climate Change

A few quick references to show how we know climate change is happening


The greenhouse effect is essential to life on Earth, but human-made emissions in the atmosphere are trapping and slowing heat loss to space.

Five key greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, and water vapor.

While the Sun has played a role in past climate changes, the evidence shows the current warming cannot be explained by the Sun.

This is a great infogrphic to show changes in global temperature over the last 22 000 years. I can’t upload the whole thing as it is a png file and they don’t upload. I’m working on it! For now enjoy the original.

The whole thing is shown at the bottom of this post! It was too long to have at the top but it is amazing.



Here’s some CO2 data for students to practice graph plotting

What’s our Countries temperature changes?

Now you can look at the drop in Biodiversity with climate change

Effects of different temperature rises

Videos showing the effects of different temperature increases

1-2oC warmer

2oC warmer

What happens when the global temperature rises by 1 to 2 degrees Celsius?

2-3 oC warmer

What happens when the global temperature rises by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius?

3oC warmer

3-4 oC warmer

4 oC warmer

4-6oC warmer



No point showing the bad side if I can’t show you some solutions

or sign up with the World Health Organisation (WHO) App

I’ve put this at the bottom as some of you wouldn’t make it this far. Note, this is not to scale in the last few centuries The scale increases at 1500 AD and then again at 2000. This last section should take up just a tiny space!

For the Teachers

The slides are too large to fit on here. Contact me for details of the slides


December 2023

Me and the Faulkes

I got an email today from Alison Tripp from the Faulkes Telescope saying “We wondered who had been promoting us as we’ve had a few people sign up recently” So as I’ve been promoting it, I suppose I ought to be telling people how I use it and what it’s all about.

What a 40th Birthday present!

When a group of teachers met in a outdoor centre for a weekend of snoring, laughter and resource sharing we got a talk about a project called the Faulkes Telescope. This appeared to be a great new project for Mrs Physics to try, so I signed up, found out about it and Mr and Mrs Physics did our first trial run on my 40th Birthday (no more details given!) This was my first image. Since then I’ve had a love/ hate relationship with the telescope, but I can vouch that it has a massive impact on the students astonishment about Science and the wonders of our beautiful world.

The telescope has undergone huge changes since 2004 when it opened (and before I was 40!) and the changes just keep on going. I was taken aback on Thursday 5th November 2020 when armed with my list of 6 potential targets (quite high for one session, but unusually involving lots of short exposures) I found that the telescope was no longer needing to change each filter, red green and blue, to image each part of the sky as 3 individual images but that it could take these images simultaneously. So my 6 targets and 2 back ups weren’t enough for my 1/2 hour session.
However, when processing the images it was certainly more tricky with different images not quite aligning, but the technical Mr Physics came up with the solution.

In this post I’ll go through a few of my favourite images from the last 13 years, (whoops I’ve given that away) and then over time I’ll build up some posts about how I go about preparing for a session and analysing the images. Hope you like what you see and feel free to use the pictures, although a credit would be nice!

M16- Pillars of Creation, The Eagle Nebula. I think this is taken in the H-alpha which isn’t possible now
Another M16, we spent one session just imaging M16 in different filters from O, H-alpha and RBG
My first image of the “hamburger galaxy” NGC 3268
NGC 7293


Space School 2020 Update

Update 26/6/20

This is not the official line yet, and only been verbally discussed.

In all honesty this trip is to be cancelled and you are likely to be having all your money returned apart from £150, which we will try to recover for you. We would love to run the trip at a later date and hopefully you will be able to join us then. This has only been verbally discussed today. Details will come out by the end of the week and hopefully money can be returned soon. I will be just as upset if not more than you as it was to be my last trip too. We will send details as soon as we have them and will return money as soon as possible.

Please see below for the Space School Letter that should be coming your way. I’m afraid it is the waiting game until July. We want everyone to be safe, and I will be gutted if I can’t go to what would be my last visit, but I’m not putting your children or my lives at risk.

Part 1
part 2

Do get in touch if there is anything else you’d like to discuss.

5,4,3,2,1 Lift off

More photos added.

We thought we’d be one of the first to arrive at the school and 12:20 am, 30 mins before launch but turning into the Academy was like flying into Las Vegas. Over 10 people were already there sitting in their cars, headlights illuminating the surroundings.

Everyone was on time and just two missing hats, just the same as the number of spares.

Launch was 0:56. Coach driver Mark was fully briefed and off we went. The Sanquhar students were all waiting at Abington Services in plenty of time but when the coach arrived they were nowhere to be seen. Suddenly out they spilled like the end of an old firm game. Tiredness is beginning to take hold and the younger ones are out for the count.

At the airport

Here’s hoping the two years of preparation pays off.


Although 3 am is a silly time for a check in it was perfect for us as the airport was lovely and quiet. Even the reluctant hat wearers can see the benefits of a blue head for spotting people in a crowd!

Houston Texas, USA.

We made it! My watch says 2:35 am Monday, which means most of us haven’t slept since….. oh heck we’re too tired to work it out but some of us haven’t been asleep since 7:00 am Saturday. It is 8:35 pm Houston Time and most of the people are curled up in bed.

There were a few tears at Glasgow airport for various people and some very nervous students. Several sick bags were filled up during the flights, but KLM really looked after us. Three of our students got the VIP treatment and were given lanyards to help them through the journey due to their conditions and they certainly did get the VIP treatment.

The only little panic was opening up the welcome Cornetto equivalent ice creams to find the top sprinkled with nuts, but our canny student realised and refrained from biting into it. When I spoke to the chief air steward he looked a bit surprised. As Mrs Physics bit into the ice  cream and thought they’re nuts the conversation went something like….

“Excuse me do those ice creams have nuts on the top?”

“Yes, why?” Blank look from the flight attendant.

” I told you we had a member of the group with a severe nut allergy”

“He doesn’t need to eat it!” Obviously not a great reader of UK newspapers.

Egg sandwiches for breakfast, the only slight disappointment. The rest was fantastic…

The change at Schiphol Airport was a doddle, just the same leg of the terminal, just way down the other end. A few had hoped for some shopping time but it was off one flight and straight on to the next. This would have been fine if one of the students hadn’t announced he was going to be sick just as final boarding was happening. We were all in blocked seats this time, which was great, so a few new friends have been made.

The Dreamliner we flew on, according to one parent, was new in August and it felt like it. Everyone was well sorted with films and games. Thanks to Amber I am now hooked on 2048!

We all loved the safety instructions done with Delf pottery. Despite a few panics, the range of movies and games certainly kept most people occupied as we took off from Schiphol and flew straight back over Scotland. There was a beautiful sunrise and the views of Greenland were fabulous- it really isn’t green at all!


 those by a window seat got a fabulous sunrise

This, believe it or not is Greenland. Zoom in to see the Southern tip!

We had a super journey and since our last visit it appears US immigration and customs have had some communication training. Captain America got through customs in 30 s with just two questions and the rest of us made it through with smiles. The only slight delay was the “peargate” scenario, when one student, despite being warned on numerous occasions, bought a pear into the USA. A sniffer dog detected this and he was whisked away with Mr O, who smoothed it all over. So when we say “Don’t bring food into the country” we really mean that and it is taken seriously. See the learning experiences we are already having?

We had a lovely trip by coach in an air-conditioned bus as the temperature here is 31 °C

We’ve had a great welcome and safety briefing and a hotel fire practice although some of us were actually waiting for the alarm. We’ve got lovely long sleeve visions in education t-shirts and presented our Vision’s Rep with a D&G space school T shirt, initially she was a bit insulted it was an XL, but it was a woman’s XL and fitted really quite well.

A late decision trip to the Main Event as everyone said they were sooo hungry.

Sorry need sleep I’ll correct this later if I get a chance at Space School tomorrow. I am officially beat…

Monday 15th October 2018

It is 18:03 local time and everyone is in the hotel lobby eating food from the garage and completing our homework task.

We thought students would be a little opposed to this but everyone is on their phones researching one of the topics

  • radiation,
  • oxygen,
  • power,
  • agriculture and
  • water

Jack and the teachers have been given the task of researching ALL of the above.

What an amazing day we’ve had so I had better fill you in, although this is eating into our research time!

Breakfast was from 07:00 and everyone enjoyed the pancakes, cereal and scrambled egg and bacon. Everyone but three were ready for space school at 07:45, so those three are on clean up duty.

We transferred to the Space Center via coach and were met by our Space University Teachers, Steve, Elise, Ashtyn and Big Dave. We got our welcome and orientation from Derek, who really inspired students that the future of space travel was in their hands. From there we had a group photo using the word guacamole to make us smile. I think if they’d used the word haggis we might have smiled more.

We started with a tram tour of Houston, Space Center- which was purchased by the Rice Foundation and if it had not been kept would have resorted to Rice University.  Then an amazing trip to Mission Control. We got the VIP treatment as the Apollo Mission control was being refurbished:  we got taken to the Orion Mission Control, which was a training mission control room with a full crew of people training for the ISS and Orion missions. This control room will become the Orion mission control room in 2019.


Then on to the Training Center for the full tours. It was interesting how each person noticed something different, whether it was a cosmonaut training on how to put his space suit back, to the boosters on the ISS to some of the ideas for the robots, some of which were used in Fukashima.


When we came out of the training center the skies opened. It rains in Scotland but generally not quite as heavy as this, so some got rather wet.

After the tour it was straight to the new classroom for the first task; Rocket Building. Despite the groups being a mix of students from all schools the groups had been carefully chosen and after a few minutes most groups were deeply engrossed in the rocket building challenge.


Rocket Building, sorry the photos are mainly in reverse order!

Dinner was at 11:30 am and then straight back to work. One group had finished their rocket in record time so had a chance to write something about the groups, which I have currently misplaced (sorry). There was then a chance to view the temporary Mars exhibition and find out about the challenges of life on Mars, as well as try the G-force simulator and other interactive exhibits.

Back to the classroom to complete the rockets and find out about the next challenge – the Mars habitat.

Swing testing the rockets

There was a chance to return to the Gallery for an hour after the end of Space school as we finished early. Some used the time to do more research for their Mars habitat and others just went for their first visit to the shops. Only one person wasn’t at the bus for home time. Mr O was like a kid in a sweet shop, or in these modern times – a gamer in Games Workshop. He had got engrossed in Skylab and totally lost track of time. (No I didn’t! I just misheard ’10 to’ as ’10 past’.  An easy mistake to make! – Mr O) After a 15 minute comfort break there was Dominoes Pizza and salad for tea, and now believe it or not, some characters want to go swimming!

So to sum up the day, it was a day showing potential and opportunity for bonding. We really do need to keep an eye out for Mr O, as he really is too excited to look after himself, although he is really looking after your children!

This is why we do these trips they seem such a silly idea when you’re drowning in paperwork. It is a comment from Team Odyssey- the team that finished rocket building in record time

When we were first given our teams we were a little wary as we didn’t know each other. When we all plucked up the courage to talk we soon realised that we all had contrasting personalities. However, we used this  to our advantage and assigned each team member with different tasked based on our strengths and weaknesses. We completed all the tasks with a lot of time to spare meaning the team got additional time to get to know each other [ed: and a $10M bonus]. Our amazing teamwork resulted in Dorothy the rocket. We are all excited for more fun tasks in the next few days.

Go team Odyssey, but stop embarrassing the teacher’s team!

I’ve finally sorted the teams so here they are.

Louis Marc Danny Russell Gregor Collyn Mr H
Deena Cameron Matilda Laura Halime Caelen Mrs H
Luciet Kyle Rosie Amber Mia Grace Mr O
Molly Ciara Abbi Erin Andie Karen Joyce
Robbie Graham Calvin Sandy Graeme Jack C Jack M
Ross Cairn


NASA has chosen two new astronauts to go on a one way trip out of this world!

Tuesday 17th October

After rain, fog and cold we end the day in the pool, well the teachers are sitting in coats by the pool, but around 10 are actually in swimming costumes swimming in the pool, have they no temperature sensors?

What an action-packed day we’ve had today and I’m not quite sure where the time went.

The late comers yesterday were first down for the bus today. Lessons well learned! Arriving at Space Center it was straight out to the tram for a visit to the launch area where our rockets were waiting to be launched. The weather was a lot less bright and wetter than other launches I’ve attended, and I saw the first two stage rocket, well done to Maven and Mola. To be honest the two stage rocket was the only one I saw the others were a grey sky with hissing.  I don’t know if my eye sight is failing or everyone was kidding me that they could see the rockets! There were some pretty impressive heights reached. As expected the teachers’ rockets failed to perform as the design manager anticipated, but did provide some useful information for exam questions. We put the poor performance down to the weather.


A bit of trigonometry to compare the measured height with the altimeter (for those who got their rocket back!)

Despite the weather we called at Rocket Park after the rocket launch, where we’d seen a beautiful stag with an amazing pair of antlers.

We had a group photo of us all at the Saturn V rocket in t-shirts and then went back to the school room where we were straight on to the Martian Habitat, the task for the day. The teachers tried the “reduce, reuse, recycle technique” and only purchase 2 button cells and 2 LEDs to make their base, so as the teams set about their purchases, the teachers team were engrossed in making a totally free base using materials from this throw away society. Mrs Physics even missed out on yummy ravioli so she could have a salad bowl as the human habitat. It is a bit embarrassing to say that some of the teachers actually had no idea as to what the students Martian bases looked like as they were so deeply engrossed in making their own base. Not only this, but each team had been given one task to research, but the teachers had been tasked with finding out about all aspects of the base. Mr Physics, aka Dr Hargreaves was in his element and had researched all areas and produced a schematic that NASA would be proud of. We’re just waiting for the call to join their work force.

Unfortunately as the habitat was nearing completion there was an announcement that contraband materials would be charged at $10M per item! Now it appears that some of the other teams were for once paying attention to the teachers and were actually emulating their recycling techniques but most were able to pay the original cost and were relieved of their fine. However, some imaginative accounting [thanks to our account manager- Jack, and his underling- Mrs Physics] and we appeared to make a profit out of our Martian Base, and managed to persuade the NASA bosses to sign off our accounts!

The straw, which cost us a fine of $10M could be purchased from the store for $1M for two! As you can see we charged NASA for the weeding of the flower beds, to collect samples of plant and algal growth, saved them £40M on saving resources for Space University by recycling our rubbish from our 11:30 am lunch! Reduced landfill costs by $60M and saved $40M on the cleaning bills. This gave a gross profit of $10M but with costs for 2 LEDs and 2 button cells we were $4M in profit- I believe that is a Space University Record!

Did you know the teachers even came up with the ingenious solution of using water to protect from the cosmic radiation but as the base become colonised this is replaced with human waste, which, did you know, is more protective against damage from radiation. Apparently all this had been discussed with the teachers’ team last night when I was doing some pastoral care of the young people.

I was pleasantly surprised on seeing the students final bases, they looked fantastic and all worthy of a place in the Museum to be displayed for a week. What an amazing job they’d done and actually it made the teacher model look like a pile of junk (which it was). So on to the group photos which went well apart from the Viking Team, who were unhappy sharing the limelight with Marmite, the group mascot.

Be impressed Space Cadet’s this is team Opportunity a.k.a The Teachers and Jack’s Martian Base schematic!

No time to waste, it was straight across the road to Luby’s for a buffet tea. We don’t think anyone who designed the pedestrian crossings had ever tried to use them for as soon as you stepped off the pavement a big red hand flashed up demanding you no longer start to cross. It was at least a rocket launch away from turning green again. After a great tea, with especially lovely puddings we all bused across to the Cinema for the screening of First Man.

Now sitting in $7 seats, with the equivalent leg room for three UK cinema rows was pretty cool, but watching First Man on the day we’d seen the Saturn V rocket, in the place where Neil Armstrong lived and worked and seeing the buildings we’d seen on our tour on Monday somehow made us feel part of the whole thing.

Before students had walked back to the hotel they were demanding a swim in the pool. Do your children never stop?

The students are really working well as a whole group and our Visions in Education Rep, Joyce, can’t even tell from which group [school] each student comes from. They are all doing you proud.

Time for bed, it is 04:47 your time! Goodnight……

I’ll try to compress some pictures of the martian bases and upload them here and I’ve still some to add from yesterday…. but not now.

This is Houston out……

Wednesday 17/10/2018

I’m afraid I can’t update you on space school today, apart from there was a lot of pressure and angst at the robotics challenge. If you want to hear about how the medical systems in USA work and doesn’t work then I can share some of that.  The patient and I have walked miles locating Doctors, hospitals etc. The patient just needed to see a Dr so they’re safe to fly but it’s been quite an adventure. We couldn’t have got this far without Joyce, our Visions Rep, who’s been fantastic. I’ll find a guest editor for today.

Sorry very little tonight but hopefully I can catch up tomorrow. Here are some pictures. Do remind me to tell you about the two near misses from getting run over as a pedestrians. I must add that to the risk assessment as pedestrians are obviously rarer than the deer, so drivers aren’t looking out for them.

Also remind me to tell you the funny story of the sample bottle.

Here are the pictures I took before having a detailed peek into US healthcare.


Robotics Challenge



OK I’m refreshed and ready to update you on Wednesday 17th October. First I’ll go through the lesson we learned and then I’ll share the funny stories along the way. Mr Physics has agreed to forego the challenges today to update you on the students’ adventures yesterday and  shrink some of the photos so that you can see what your child’s been up to. I have tried to get everyone in, but if you feel we’re missing someone out let me know and I’ll post a special picture of them with Marmite the monkey, this doesn’t include one Moffat student who refuses to have anything to do with Marmite!

Lesson’s learned in relation to Dr’s-hospital visit, (not a nag but a warning for anyone running future trips- we’re working on Mr O):

  1. It is vital that your medical record sheets contain as much information as possible about your medical conditions, even if you have to go on to a separate page. We’ve dealt with three or more minor medical incidents and on each occasion details have been left off the sheet of known medical conditions.
  2. Do fill in the “permission for group leaders to take your child sheet”. We had to present passports (I’ve been on my first Uber ride to fetch mine and the students), and the letter saying we are in loco parentis. Without this treatment wouldn’t have been possible.
  3. Pack any medication that you occasionally use, or might have reason to use, including paracetamol which isn’t available over here. The bill for the medications was over three hundred dollars yesterday and some of this medication could have been brought with us.
  4. Try to make it clear to your child what medicines you are happy they take if required and which you would not. We’re not popping pills over here, but it would be great to know if you’re happy with us dishing out a couple of painkillers if required.
  5. Don’t walk on the sidewalk (pavement to you and I) unless you have a bright fluorescent working jacket, people in the USA don’t look out for pedestrians; so I was nearly a casualty, not once, but twice on the hospital journey), both times when I was crossing at a pedestrian man crossing, no wonder the image has a man with curvature of the spine). The first time a car was across the “zebra” crossing and the light was green, but he decided to set off anyway. I managed a great thump on his hood (bonnet to you and I) which obviously alerted him to my presence. The look he gave me was equivalent to you and I seeing a herd of elephants walking down Lockerbie High Street, combined with- will I get sued. I think I might have been the first pedestrian he had ever seen. The second time I was stepping off whilst the curved man was on and a car hurled around the corner horn on full. I will check the USA equivalent to the Highway code, but it looks like it is “cross when the curved man is lit, except if a car wants to turn right). Also don’t try to cross a highway. You can push the button, but they aint letting you cross if there are cars on the road- it would be easier  “for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a pedestrian cross a highway in the USA!”
  6. Take good team members with you. My colleagues, including our ViE rep were amazing last night.
  7. If possible try to encourage your child to come and speak to us first rather than going through parents. We are having several emails from parents asking us to check up on this item or that as the young people have been in touch with home before coming and speaking to us. It is only when we get the whole picture that we can put things together- for example, we had a student who was feeling sick, which we could deal with, but the reason was relayed to the parents at home and not to us. It was when we got all the bits of the jigsaw that it all made sense and we’ve easily solved the problem.
  8. Please encourage students not to take too many risks (this is the wrong word so you can help me out here with the right one). The incidents that we’ve been dealing with have mainly been self-inflicted, and the students know that they are doing things that could make any injury worse. This doesn’t mean we are falling apart over here, we are not. The students are great and having a ball, but taking risks does have implications for the whole group and not just the student involved.

BTW- the groups are integrating so well and some great friendships have been formed. There is no barrier between schools, it is more of an age thing, with the older ones going around as a herd and the younger ones hanging out together.

The word for yesterday was “selflessness” we wanted the students to think of others, some of your precious bundles have been really amazing, sharing and considerate. Others need to look outwards more.

Houston Methodist Hospital- the unscheduled stop!

Now for what I thought was the funny hospital story, but it might not translate well. We walked into the hospital but got the wrong entrance as we’d apparently gone around the back. None of this instructions on how to get to where we needed to be, the lady put a sign up at reception, warned a colleague and accompanied us herself. Shame we were taking to the wrong place first, so we got a double escort. We finally arrived at the most calm A&E department I’ve every seen. There was definitely a tranquil feeling about the place. I asked if they could estimate the waiting time and they said that they were full but they’d try to fit us in as we were the walking wounded. Now this waiting room had two ladies sitting in it! We got all the paperwork out and handed over our passports which were copied at the copier behind another receptionist, who at this time was being passed a large urine sample in a massive cup (why do we have those tiddly things instead of a large cup for easy collection) anyway I don’t know quite what happened but I clocked a receptionist coming towards me to hand me the urine sample, so I stepped back in shear terror wondering what I was going to do with this. It was actually the woman behind returning our copied passports. Now I really don’t know what happened but both the donor, me and the two receptionists spotted what it looked like. Luckily I broke the ice with “No thank you, I don’t think that would be allowed on the plane, it has to be under 100 ml total fluids”. Are you allowed to laugh in an American hospital? I wish the donor of the sample a safe recovery for whatever her ailment. It looked a nice colour IMHO!

There’s none of this “behind the curtain” lark in the USA and obs were done in full view of the seats and behind the reception, so it was a good job it was very quiet. After a while we were shown to another passageway with two gaming chairs, well that is what they looked like to me. On the computer screen was a list of all the patients who had been connected up to whatever machine that was that day- so much for personal data. We were very impressed with the Dr who correctly diagnosed the problem and commented on something that apparently many Dr’s who have treated this patient miss.

I then had to sign about 10 x that the hospital would keep the details safe and private (hmm). I asked why they needed to keep the data safe to be told “I’ve never been asked that question”. I said they could keep the data for 5 years but it must be destroyed after that time. It’s on the medical notes.

The poor receptionist had obviously had a bad experience at school as her fingers went to jelly when she heard I was a teacher. She said “I’m nervous in front of a teacher”, worried that I might pick up on spelling. I made it clear that she was very safe as I was a Physics teacher and we are not known for our spelling abilities. I did type in our own details as these jelly fingers didn’t work on the keyboard. All forms and a copy of the insurance policy and case notes were taken, or so we thought. As we were leaving, jelly fingers came rushing down the corridor saying that she had forgotten to copy the policy. I would like to apologize to that woman on behalf of all teachers that she obviously had been traumatized by one in the past. Can I suggest that as you work in Houston Methodist Hospital, St John’s you see if your medical insurance will cover a bit of CBT to get to the root of this issue.

Whoops sorry that was a bit long winded, with not many pictures, I could add a link to the hospital website but I’ve now gone through our day.

I can’t have anymore incidents my £30 safety buffer on my phone is just about gone and this is day 4!

Maybe I get a few minutes more kip before the exciting Thursday begins. It has been so full on all week, I can’t believe we’ve passed the mid-point already.

Addendum: Ha, when I got to bed there was 4 mins until the alarm went off

Wednesday 17th October

with Guest Presenter Mr Hargreaves, who gave up the Sphero challenge to bring you this update.

The day began with a talk about her career  by Kristi Duplichen who came into NASA via a Physics degree, Masters in Business Administration  and a period with contractors working for NASA.

Since joining NASA she has worked in a variety of roles including ISS Mission Control and now is a Contracting Officer’s Representative and contracts for work aboard the ISS.

Her message was that NASA requires a vast range of skills in order to function, not just the high profile astronauts, and that hard work and application to tasks will help you to succeed whatever your chosen role.

We then moved back to the lab and the day’s tasks were construction of a Mars Rover to collect a selection of rock samples and a computer coding exercise to control a robot over a track and end up parked in a garage.

For the Rover most groups opted for a push/pull along the ground approach with just two (check)? groups going for the crane/grabber arrangement. Almost all the rovers were up to the basic task with the only failure being Mr O/Mr H’s attempt. Despite an adventurous approach to the design of the grabber (elastic bands  – please note those doubters amongst the teams these were legitimate parts so to be accused of cheating was rather hurtful!) they failed miserably to connect it to the rest of the robot and didn’t even put a finished version into the contest. They both blame Mrs H’s absence for their failure!

The course was quite challenging with rocks in ditches and on top of mountains. More than one Rover fell victim to the sand trap and in their efforts to escape shed vital parts at an alarming rate. A few rebuilds were required before the team photos could be taken!

Sorry again in reverse order!

Some boys just don’t grow up- they become Physics Teachers!

Team Mola

Team Orion

Team Viking

Team Maven

Team Odyssey

Team Curiosity

Winner of the Rover competition was  when we find the correct book we’ll add this in!, with as previous and previous second and third respectively.


The coding competition proved quite challenging with the eventual winner Team Odyssey demonstrating a perfect reverse in to the garage on the first run and a major off-road experience on the second. A perfect demonstration of the “butterfly effect” at work.

second time running the programme and the rover went off the course. So a tiny difference at the beginning showed up as a massive difference at the end- the Butterfly Effect.

First time running the programme a perfect dock

After another 45 minutes free to visit the museum we headed back to the hotel to drop bags off then to Fuddrucker’s for burgers then to Baybrook Mall for a shopping experience.

The boys version of shopping at Baybrook Mall

 Thursday 18th October

I’ll update this asap. Another action packed and full on day…….

The very happy team Opportunity of Jack M, teachers and Vision’s Staff are all so happy being in this team that we,ve shared all our note books. We know that the one without the cover is Mr O’s as he was going to use it for a little advantage during the thermal heat challenge, but we’ve all written in each others books and Mr O’s happens to be the one I wrote all the results in and got details from today.

It was presentations today of some of the challenges, including the Mars Habitat, which obviously ought to be the teachers, but we were robbed!


Thursday 19th October

I’ll fill you in about Thursday when I’ve done Friday.

This was the thermal and cryogenics day. On the bus as usual for 08:00 and straight into the challenge. Last time we came these challenges were completed over two sessions but this time they had combined them into one 45 minute session. So in 45 minutes people were expected to choose a maximum of 4 materials from a range for each challenge, purchase them from the shop and build firstly a thermal shield to protect an eggstranaut from from re-entry from the atmosphere, and secondly protect a marshmallonaut from the coldness of space. The heat was provided by a blow torch at about 5 inches and the cold was provided by a pan of liquid nitrogen.


Now Mr and Mrs Physics knew we did the thermal shield well last time but couldn’t for the life of us remember what we used and anyway Mr Physics had opted out to update some photos for you. So we were a bit stuffed. The cryogenics we took an excellent engineering marvel from 2016 and totally messed it up. Joyce joined the group and started cutting our cork. Which meant that why no one was looking Mr O managed to remove his metal cover from his notebook and squeezed it into his heat shield. However, as honest and safe Science teachers we owned up to the misdemeanour before the blow torch did something we might regret.

All the heat shields functioned to some extent, most of them holding up well with only a few degrees temperature difference, not bad when a blow torch is on them for two minutes. One failed partially at the centre and warmed the shell of the eggstronaut, but only two eggs were required for the full challenge, a great improvement on space school 1.

Safety was a paramount and the students are taking their safety seriously, even Marmalade and Marmite were provided with a ring side seat and safety googles.

Even Marmite is kitted up in safety specs

One student literally had egg on her face, as you can see in all the photos.

The cryogenics challenge wasn’t as successful and most students forgot that the Nitrogen was liquid, so any holes in their “space suit” allowed the fluid in and rapidly cooled the marshmallow. The teachers for once produced a good design (because they nicked it from students from Carluke in 2016) and made a little raft to float on the nitrogen. After an initial drop in temperature it stabilised and gave results not to be ashamed of. They were then disqualified for sticking the temperature probe into the Marshmallonaut. Now this wasn’t fair as the probe dropped out as it was placed on the table so it had to be re-inserted asap!

Everyone enjoyed the challenge and watching the temperature be relayed to an ipod by Bluetooth so we could see the progress of the –nauts during their two minute endurance test. All was going well until I stepped on an ants nest when taking photos. The scene of me stamping my feet was thought to be some ritual native American dance and only Mr P seemed a little concerned!

Team Opportunity with a very respectable temperature v time graph for the cryogenic challenge.

Lunch again at the ritual time 11 am to 11:30 am, quite a good time to eat, (this is because the food hall was quiet and we could stick to a 30 minute lunch). After food we boarded the bus for the NBL. Two astronauts were already in the pool training and there was a change over of divers, so it was quite busy. They were obviously training to work on one of the modules on the ISS. Everyone was amazed at the size of the pool and what was in it.

From the NBL it was straight on to the William’s local pool for the Sphero challenge, our replacement activity for the scuba diving. Isaak was in the pool and teams made the Sphero carry a table tennis ball half way across the pool and back, keeping the ball dry. There was a lot of redesign and eventually everyone went for the floating model. Students had been allowed to pick their own teams for this activity and the youngest group made great progress until the Sphero started misbehaving and switching on and off. Delighted that they continued and finished the task, well done to them.

Rodin’s Thinker

Marmite and Marmalade looking on


Back to the hotel for some chill time and many headed for the pool, which I actually dunked myself in, and it was cold! Why do people do that. After a good soak, chill and refresh it was off to the Main Event for 2 hours of bowling and food. After the bowling a few looked around the arcade but by 20:30 everyone wanted to go home to bed, although I think some did watch TV. Everyone really is shattered.

Friday 20th October

This is the first day we’ve had to chase anyone out of bed. A group of girls had about 20 mins before leaving to get up and out. Amazingly they made it and looked great for graduation.

We thanked Nigel for his transportation during the week and gave him his tip; “keep wearing the hat Nigel, and as the song goes…..

We’re only making plans for Nigel
We only want what’s best for him
We’re only making plans for Nigel
Nigel just needs that helping hand

And if young Nigel says he’s happy
He must be happy
He must be happy
He must be happy in his work

We’re only making plans for Nigel
He has his future in a British steel
We’re only making plans for Nigel
Nigel’s whole future is as good as sealed, yeah

And if young Nigel says he’s happy
He must be happy
He must be happy
He must be happy in his work

Nigel is not outspoken
But he likes to speak
And loves to be spoken to (in his world)
Nigel is happy in his work (in his world)
Nigel is happy in his work (in his world)

We’re only making plans for Nigel
We only want what’s best for him
We’re only making plans for Nigel
Nigel just needs this helping hand

And if young Nigel says he’s happy
He must be happy
He must be happy
He must be happy in his work

We’re only making plans for Nigel
We only want what’s best for him
We’re only making plans for Nigel
Nigel just needs this helping hand

We’re only making plans for Nigel
He has his future in a British steel
Steel, steel, steel, steel, steel, yeah yeah

We’re only making plans for Nigel
Nigel, Nigel, Nigel, Nigel
Nigel, Nigel, Nigel, Nigel
Nigel, Nigel, Nigel, Nigel
Nigel, Nigel, Nigel, Nigel

Nigel our bus driver taking us to the Airport Saturday, gutted he did never wore his black leather cap today!

One of our students was introduced to a family friend who works in Mission Control.

Brunch with Astronaut Rick Hieb


And the winners were


Starship Gallery

Command Module from Apollo 17

Out first port of call wasn’t the  Education building today but  a tour of Starship Gallery. Steve, one of the tutors gave some inside information on Apollo, Gemini (pronounced Jimmine- as in cricket  over here).  He explained why there were no stars in the sky on the Apollo pictures of the moon landings- it was daytime and Space U Graduation, tears as last day I’ll ever be at Space School. Tour of Starship Gallery, then brunch with astronaut, Rick Hieb. Independence Plaza, questionnaire. Free time. Saw Rick Hieb again. Tour. Keemah boardwalk, Bubba Gumps.

Saturday 20th October

Hooray for a long lie, breakfast not until 8:30 am this morning and it was Texan waffles. By that I mean about the largest waffle you can imagine in the shape of Texas. Mind you, to make your waffle you had to queue for a good while. Button Boy was very patient and said it was worth the wait. At 10 am Texan time we meet for write up of the trip

The students left this on the paint board of the hotel before we left. It says it all. Someone is a pretty good artist.

On Saturday 20th October 2018:

Coach to airport.

Amber I could have been working to update the Higher notes but look what I got doing on the plane! I blame you…. do you think there is a phone app?

KL662, 15:05 Houston to Schiphol (arrive 07:15 on 21st)

KL1475, 12:05 Schiphol to Glasgow  (arrive 12:40).

On Sunday 21st October

Arrive Glasgow Airport at 12:40 Houston’s coach back to Lockerbie dropping off at Abington Services, Moffat High Street and Lockerbie Academy.

Someone is a chancer and managed to get a seat in the cockpit when landing at Schiphol, if you don’t ask you wont get!


I think everyone is shattered. We are all crashed out near gate D6. Unfortunately this is also by two moving walkways, so every time someone stands on the thing we get a “mind your step” announcement. It is becoming quite irksome!

It’s been a tough week for the teachers too. I’m on watch whilst the others get some shut eye!


Sunday 21st October

The Eagle has landed. We’re on the bus home. Passport Control and baggage pick up were much smoother than last time. Everyone is shattered so don’t judge the trip by the faces you see today, judge it by the changes you see in them.

P.S. To the wonderful lady who asked on our return “Are you vegetarian?” and handed over a carrier bag. Your kindness was amazing and so thoughtful. The idea of cooking just didn’t appeal and we are still having chicken sandwiches. Many many thanks

P.P.S. To all the parents who handed over gifts at the end of the trip, thank you so much. Preparing the trip was so much hard work, but the benefits of seeing 33 students grow in confidence and skills was so worth it. Thanks to Jack M who kept us teachers on task- I hope it wasn’t too traumatic in our group and to the rest of you, pass the message on so that we can grow D&G Space School. If you’re in 5th Year don’t forget you can apply for the   Scottish Space School

I’ll be closing this post soon, although I will try to finish my corrections and add some photos. Do pass on all of your photos and maybe we can have a reunion and do some scuba diving and photo checking.

Well done to Space Cadets 2018! You did yourselves proud! Let it be the start of something wonderful! I’m now off to plan 2020- and I said I wasn’t going!

It’s the Final Countdown

Don’t forget to pack a jumper. In America they turn the air conditioning units onto “fridge”

Tomorrow is our last bake sale.

The passports are all in and labelled, student help cards are ready and laminated , our travel lists are organized and all paperwork is up to date phew! It’s just a pity the staff are now so exhausted that they can’t begin to think of the midnight start.

One of the parents sent me this gif file and I think it fits perfectly! It’s just how I feel.

Only AH and H tests to complete and mark and the October break is upon us.

I will post on here giving you an daily update where possible. Find instant messages on Lockerbie Academy’s FB page.

As on our previous trip, I will note everything in one long post so that it reads in chronological order.  I’m afraid, for avid readers, you will need to scroll through to the bottom on a daily basis.

Don’t be late between Saturday night and Sunday morning: kick off 00:50 that’s ten to one in our time. (For the older ones that is in our non-inertial frame of reference).

Hope you parents have planned an exciting break and Higher students, don’t forget your revision!

2018 Itinerary

Hi Folks, Well here it is- the Itinerary for Space School 2018 as put together by Bill Wellington from Visions in Education in USA.

D&G Regional Space School Texas STEM –

  • Itinerary for the 14th to 21st October 2018
  • STEM Mission to Mars / Springhill Suites, Houston

DAY ONE03:05Check-in at Glasgow International Airport for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Flight # 1470
14-Oct-1806:05Departure of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Flight # 1470 for Amsterdam Schiphol
Sun08:45Arrive Amsterdam
09:50Departure of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Flight # 661 for Houston, Texas
13:10Arrive George Bush Houston Intercontinental Airport; Houston, Texas
<---->Gather luggage & prepare for departure
14:10Transfer to Springhill Suites NASA/Webster
15:10Arrive at Springhill Suites, meet your Ambassador and check-in
17:00Visions Welcome & Safety Meeting
<---->Dinner on own
DAY TWO07:00Breakfast at Hotel
15-Oct-1807:45Transfer to Johnson Space Center
Mon08:00Check-in at Space Center Houston
08:10Space Center Welcome
08:30Johnson Space Center Tram Tour
10:00Room Orientation Binder
10:30Rocketry Overview
11:00Lunch at NASA
11:30Rocketry Build
14:15Mars Habitat & Planet Pioneers Research for Mars Habitat
15:15Swing Test & Safety
16:00Debrief & Dismiss
16:00Free time in Space Center
17:00Transfer to hotel
19:00Pizza Night at Hotel in the Orion Room
DAY THREE07:00Breakfast at Hotel
16-Oct-1807:45Transfer to Johnson Space Center
Tues08:00Check-in at Space center Houston
08:15Rocket Safety & Launch
09:15Rocket Park Tour
09:45Habitat Overview
10:30(Begin work on) Martian Habitat Design & Build
11:00Lunch at NASA
11:30(Continue work on) Martian Habitat Design & Build
15:00Habitat Presentations
16:00Debrief & Dismiss
16:15Free time in Space Center
17:00Walk to Luby's
17:15Dinner at Luby's
18:15Transfer to Cinemark 18 for Movie Night
<----> Movies at Cinemark 18
<---->Walk to hotel
DAY FOUR07:00Breakfast at Hotel
17-Oct-1807:45Transfer to Johnson Space Center
Wed08:00Check-in at Space Center
08:15Guest Speaker in Mission Briefing Center
09:00VEX Robotics Overview
09:30(Begin work on) VEX End Defector Build Challenge
11:00Lunch at NASA
11:30(Continue work on) VEX End Effector Build
12:00Coding Overview
12:30End Effector Build Coding & Competition
15:00Mars Yard End Effector Competition
16:00Debrief & dismiss
16:15Transfer to hotel
17:15Transfer to Fuddruckers 2040 NASA Road 1, Houston
17:30Dinner at Fuddruckers Burgers
18:30Transfer to Baybrook Mall
18:45Free Time at Baybrook Mall
21:00Transfer to hotel
DAY FIVE07:00Breakfast at Hotel
18-Oct-1807:45Transfer to Johnson Space Center
Thurs08:00Check in at Space Center
08:15Thermal Tile & Cryogenics Challenge
09:15Communication Tower
09:45Thermal Tile & Cryogenics Testing
11:00Lunch at NASA
11:30Depart Space Center for Neutral Buoyancy Lab
12:00Neutral Buoyancy Lab Tour
13:15Transfer to Williams Pool
13:45Water Robotics Activity
15:45Debrief & Dismiss
16:00Transfer to hotel
17:45Walk to Main Event
18:00Dinner & Bowling (2 hrs) at Main Event Entertainment Center
DAY SIX07:00Breakfast at Hotel
19-Oct-1807:45Transfer to Johnson Space Center
Fri08:00Starship Gallery Tour
08:45Prepare for Graduation Brunch
09:00Graduation Brunch Festivities Begin
10:00NASA Astronaut Presentation
11:00Independence Plaza Tour
12:00Wrap-up Surveys; Graduation Concludes
Free Time to Explore Exhibits at Johnson Space Center
16:30 Transfer to the Kemah Boardwalk
<--->Free Time to Explore Kemah Boardwalk / Attractions are 'On Own'
19:30Dinner at Bubba Gump / Kemah Boardwalk
20:30Transfer to hotel
DAY SEVEN6:30 - 9:30Breakfast at Leisure
20-Oct-1810:00Check-out of hotel
Sat10:30Load coach and prepare for departure
11:05Transfer to IAH- George Bush Intercontinental Airport for Departure
12:05Arrive at IAH & check in for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight 662
15:05Departure of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Flight 662 for Amsterdam Schiphol
21-Oct-1807:15Arrive Amsterdam
12:05Departure of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Flight 1475 for Glasgow
12:40Arrive Glasgow

Please note that the above itinerary is given as a sample for guidance.  While Visions in Education will endeavour to adhere to this programme as closely as possible, it may be necessary for operational reasons to make modifications in resort.

All flight times shown are local and may be subject to schedule changes at the discretion of the airline / coach company.



Regional Space School 2018

The timer below has been running for nearly two years and was based on an estimated departure time. Now we’re really close I’ve added a timer above with the true start time. So if in doubt when to drop off your students then check out the first clock. If it goes to a negative, we’ve gone without you!

The second D&G Space School 2018 is currently being planned. If you live in Dumfries & Galloway, will be in S4- S6 at school in October 2018 and will be studying at least one science then you should be eligible for the trip. There is a lot of fundraising to do before this time, so sign up, and join in. Speak to your School SCIENCE TEACHER for details.

Although the cost is approximately £2,000 we hope to raise a large portion of this, and you can try to raise it all. So don’t let this stop you.

Last time the trip was to cost over £2,000 but each student paid a maximum of £1,621 and we had loads less time to raise funds. One student could not afford the trip so got funding from various sources to cover the whole trip.



Have you missed it?

Below are copies of the materials shown at the Parents’ Evening on 11th June 2018.

Do look over it to remind you what a great time you are likely to have.


Student D&G Scottish Space School






11 June Meeting


Here is the Itinerary which may or may not change.


Have you lost it?

Here are the forms that you ought to have filled in! Further forms will be added as and when required.

Image-Release-Form-Space-Center-U-9-21-16 This form is required so that photos of students can be taken and uploaded to the NASA Space School Site


Scuba-Release-Form-Space-Center-U-9-29-16 Don’t hold your breath we might not need this one!

Consent & Medical Form (June 2017) pdf version. This will need to be filled in for NASA and then with 2 weeks to go to the trip to allow for updated medication.

Consent & Medical Form (June 2017) word version of the above

Please email Mr or Mrs Hargreaves or Mr Ormrod if you need the permission to take your child out of the country form.