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Sandcastle competition aims to get pupils thinking about science and engineering

02/07/14

Children from an entire class in an Aberdeen primary school found life was beachy when they look part in a sandcastle competition today [Wednesday 02 July].

Buckets of fun for, Hope Jappy , Molly Walker, Joel Jackson, Hadiza Shehu, Sam Lynch, all Mile end Primary school. About 75 pupils from P3 at Mile End School got stuck into the sand sculptures - which they had already designed in their classrooms - at the city's beach.

The event, which was organised and sponsored by specialists Sand Monitoring Services [SMS], was hailed a huge success.

The aim of the competition is to teach youngsters about sand, encourage them to think about a career in science and engineering when they are older, and also help towards building connections between education and the oil and gas industry.

As part of the competition, two staff from SMS went to the school last month and gave talks to two classes about sand. The P3s were told about the competition by SMS co-founder and field services manager Andrew Kinsler and business development executive Sarah Alexander, and they also talked about the good and bad things about sand.

A talk was also given to the two P6 classes about why sand is important for the North-east economy as it can hold reserves of oil and gas under the sea, and also how it can be so abrasive it can erode holes in heavy steel oilfield equipment. The P6 youngsters were also tasked with guessing the number of grains of sand in a bucket and the winner will be given a family pass to Deep Sea World in North Queensferry.

Leader of Aberdeen City Council Councillor Jenny Laing said: "This simple sand building competition aims to teach children in a fun way about the importance of sand and to let them see the possible careers in science and engineering that could be available to them when they are older.

"This is a great example of education working in partnership with a local oil and gas services firm, which is hugely beneficial to all involved." Budding sandcastle builders, are twins, Sara & Gregor Falconer (7 YO pr3)

Mr Kinsler said: "This is the second year we've organised the event for the P3s at Mile End and we were only too happy to do it again as it was such fun last year.

"It's good to introduce science to children at a young age and we are delighted to help the school to achieve this in an enjoyable way – we hope it may help them choose a career in it when they're older.

"Our line of work can be full of complicated terms and technical detail but it's important that this doesn't put off young people aspiring to break into the industry. We wanted to show the children that science is fun and what better way than to have a sandcastle competition at the beach."

Janet McRoberts, depute headteacher of Mile End School, added: "This is the second year of this competition and the school appreciates the opportunity to work in partnership with SMS to offer the children this unique learning experience. The children thoroughly enjoyed creating their special sand sculptures."

SMS, an engineering and consultancy company, provides sand management and monitoring tailored solutions to the oil and gas industry from its headquarters in Aberdeen and Malaysia.