Industrial and Scientific Art Classes at Galston and St Sophia’s Primary Schools

One of the most popular activities we offer schools is the art clubs in Astronomical  Art, led by Isabelle Grogg, and Industrial Heritage Art, led by Jim Porter.Both Isabelle and Jim are local artists of renown, see the links art1

These art clubs allow pupils who have more of a flare for art to get directly involved in our STEM Outreach programme for school. In addition to the young artists who perform the work, the opportunity is also taken by the teachers to encourage other pupils to get involved by contributing to the themes of the artwork.

This year Isabelle took a group of pupils at St Sophia’s Primary School to work on a theme of Astronomical  Art whereupon they developed a story and told it through words and art.

Down the road at Galston Primary School, Jim introduced the pupils to the rich industrial heritage of the  Galston area and then supervised a group of young artists in producing artwork to reflect this industrial heritage.

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The artwork is now exhibited in the respective schools for parents and friends to see and we have plans to exhibit the work locally in the near future.


Galston Community Science Day – Saturday 17th March 2018 

As part of British Science Week 2018 celebrations, the Society organised a Community Science Day at Galston Primary School on Saturday 17th of March 2018. The event was hosted by Galston Primary School and St Sophia’s Primary School and funded by the Institute of Physics and the British Science Association. Around 250 people of all age groups attended the event. The central attraction was the portable planetarium from the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory with resident astronomer David Warrington. Other contributors were a team from the Ayrshire Astronomical Society with their vast array of telescopes and Tuopeek showing the visitors some of the wonders of electricity and magnetism. The event was also an opportunity for the pupils of both schools to showcase their work and achievements in science during the year under the help and guidance of STEM Ambassadors from the ranks of the Society. Galson and St Sophia’s Primary Schools are the two “adopted” school of the Society for 2017-18.


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Science Fair at Willowbank on Monday 12th March 2018

Pupils from Willowbank Special School celebrated and explored science in all its forms at a Science Fair held to mark British Science Week.

Organised in partnership with the Kilmarnock Engineering and Science Society (KESS), the Science Fair was supported by the team from the Morphy Richards Engineering Centre of The Great Steward of Scotland's Dumfries House, the Ayrshire Astronomical Society, pupils from St Joseph’s Academy and the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory who brought along and deployed their mobile planetarium.

The pupils loved the Fair which was packed with fun and interactive science experiments. They explored rockets, bubbles, astronomy, electricity, mechanics and materials. The Fair was attended by Alan Brown, MP, Willie Coffey, MSP, Depute Provost Claire Leitch, Councillor Fiona Campbell, Cabinet Member for Skills and Learning and local elected member Councillor Jon Herd.

KESS President Graham Short said: “Kilmarnock Engineering and Science Society was delighted to support Willowbank School during British Science Week. For the last four years we have worked with the school to create a Science Fair that is fun, informative and accessible for pupils. This year was a great success. The pupils thoroughly enjoyed all the experiments on offer and through our experience of working with the school; we created an event which suited the needs of the young people while at the same time allowing them to explore the world around them through science.”

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Community Science Fair at Grange Campus on the 9th  March 2018 

Grange Academy’s cluster primary schools, Park School, parents, volunteers and staff gathered recently for the most hotly anticipated transition day of the year – the Science Community Fair at Grange Campus. More than 260  people enjoyed their first exciting experiences of biology, chemistry and physics when they took part in interactive experiments.

With support from the British Science Association, Kilmarnock Engineering and Science Society, the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory, Ayrshire Astronomical Society, the Glasgow Science Centre and St Andrew’s Geobus, topics explored included energy, living things and matter, where budding young scientists explored questions posed by the greatest scientific minds of our time. 

Youngsters carried out scientific tasks in challenging and enjoyable workshops – including rockets, Flubber, Geobus, the Van der  Graaff generator, Astronomy and Body Works.

The youngsters also found out about the huge range of interesting careers they could pursue in science, around the world – everything from being a volcanologist, to a forensic scientist or oceanographer. Science teacher Morag Ferguson said: “For some pupils, this was their very first visit to the science department - and we hope that it was a memorable and positive experience for all of them.”

Science Academies at St Sophia’s and Galston Primary Schools

Between January and March 2018 we are busy running Science Academies for both of our 2017-18 Adopted Schools; St Sophia’s and Galston Primary Schools.

Each of the schools selected 15 pupils whom they believe would benefit from the Academy which take the form of 6 sessions where the pupils are given special instruction and activities towards further developing their enthusiasm for, and understanding of, the subject.

The sessions cover aspects of forces, electricity and magnetism, earth science, chemistry and materials.

The Society has successfully offered Science Academies to all our past Adopted School going back to our first which was Muirkirk PS in 2014.

Galson and St Sophia's Academies ended in March 2018 when all the pupils were taken to Dumfries House for a very special graduation event.

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Introduction to Astronomy at St Sophia’s Primary School, Galston.

St Sophia’s Primary School, Galston is one of our Adopted Schools for 2017-18 (the other one being Galston Primary School). A major activity we have planned with St Sophia’s is to create an art exhibition along the theme of Astronomy. 

Isabelle Grogg of KESS and the Ayrshire Astronomical Society recently visited the school to give all senior pupils an introduction to astronomy and telescopes. She discussed with the pupils planets, stars, comets and galaxies and demonstrated her own special telescope which tracks and records activities on our Sun.

Follow the link to see pictures of the event.


Annual physics and engineering lecture at St Joseph’s Academy

The sixth annual Physics and Engineering Lecture was held at St Joseph’s Academy on Thursday 8th June 2017. It was once again organised by physics teacher Colin Barbour through the Kilmarnock Engineering and Science Society (KESS).

The audience was Advanced Higher Physics students from St Joseph’s, Stewarton, Grange, James Hamilton and Auchinleck Academies.

The speaker this year was Professor Martin Hendry MBE, Professor of Gravitation Astrophysics and Cosmology at Glasgow University and his lecture was entitled “Listening to Einstein’s Universe: The hunt for Gravitational Waves”. Professor Hendry began by giving the students a detailed insight into Einstein’s development of Space Time and the origins of gravitational waves. He then proceeded to outline the background and activities of The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the first detection of gravitational waves on the 14th of September 2015 and the third one detected in January 2017. In his lecture, Professor Hendry emphasised the great engineering challenge associated with the LIGO Project. This presentation by Professor Hendy captivated the students and demonstrated that although it is downstream applied physics and engineering which has direct effect on national economies, it is however big upstream international science projects such as LIGO which attract young people into careers in science and engineering.