The final week of the 2019-2020 school session began with Alternative Projects. Over 900 senior pupils signed up for a choice of over 25 activities which they can participate in on Monday through to Wednesday.

Mrs Watson, Deputy Head, Extracurricular shared: “We created a programme for senior pupils to participate in project based activities with outcomes similar to those experienced on a typical projects week. These include developing teamwork, resilience, creativity, communication and leadership skills through activities based around outdoor, creative, life skills and charity options. 

“There are also various fundraising activities taking place on Wednesday to support Mental Health Aberdeen. Henry J (S3) is playing piano live from 8.30am to 3.30, some pupils are taking on cycling and running challenges and there is a fundraising quiz, to name just a few of the activities planned by pupils. If you would like to show your support for these pupil challenges, please donate via Justgiving.”

Activities include making a pizza BBQ for a family lunch or dinner, building a bivouac to sleep in overnight, learning how to turn a drinks can into a mini cooker, making an annual financial plan for student life and many more. There is also a day dedicated to researching, learning and supporting charities on Wednesday.

Mr Montgomery said: “79 pupils signed up for the ‘Build a Bivvy’ task and many showed great imagination in constructing shelters while watching the darkening skies and increasing winds as the day progressed. Congratulations to all who spent considerable time designing and building the shelters and we look forward to hearing how they performed overnight!”

One of the most popular activities was Escape Rooms. Dr Kennedy shared: “Pupils from across the senior school worked together to solve abstract puzzles. The puzzles were based on themes such as drug development, hazardous chemical spills, Star Trek and Toy Story. A group of older pupils found it particularly challenging. A group of S2 pupils found it fun and said they would like to try a real escape room after lock down. One group of S3 pupils completed all four challenges.”

Mrs MacLean highlighted: “I have been working with pupils on day 1 on Land Art where pupils have the opportunity to use the nature around them to inspire their creativity.” Christina B (S5) found inspiration from rock piles, “I was inspired by Joanna Jinton on YouTube, who does some very impressive rock balancing. I collected stones from my garden and created a ’prototype’ indoors. I balanced three different stacks with varying shapes, heights, number of rocks and colours. Unfortunately due to their small size when I tried to stack them outside the wind kept knocking them over. When I was done I returned all the stones to their correct place in the garden. I hope to one day balance rocks and make natural art outside of my own garden like Joanna Jinton does.”

Pupils have also been challenged to cook a two course meal for four with a budget of £20. Mrs Wood commented: “I have really enjoyed seeing the photographs that pupils are submitting to us of the meals that they have cooked. It has been lovely to see the hard work and effort that our pupils are putting into feeding their family. Several pupils have shared lovely stories of being taught family recipes which are now being handed down to the next generation while others admitted that this was their very first attempt at cooking. With over 150 pupils across S1-S5 signed up to take part in this activity we look forward to seeing what else our pupils can cook up today.”

Using their creative and practical skills, pupils made rain collectors for their gardens. Miss Howie shared: “Pupils found that some of the simplest water bottle and tape techniques were the most effective in comparison to the more complex which had a harder time finding results.”

Preparing a budget for a family of 5 to go on a cycling holiday, a pupil shared: “I think being able to budget yourself is an important skill for later life. This task was surprisingly hard, finding accommodation at each stop and then factoring in all the other things you need to plan.”

Mr Horne added: “Pupils within the World Wildlife Fund project took the opportunity to look at the world differently by discovering nature in their garden, park or on a walk.“

Using nature and technology to create music, Miss Cook said: “Pupils had the opportunity to spend some time outside, listening to nature around them. They captured the sounds they heard, and then were able to use these creatively to create a soundscape or piece of music.” Finlay K (S1) created a piece inspired by a place he'd like to visit, “Throughout this task I had to think about what kind of soundtrack that I was going to be putting together so I thought about one of the places I would like to go, Japan. This soundtrack is inspired by Japan and I wanted to make it sound like you are walking through a zen garden in Japan.”