Skye Commercial Photography At The Science Skills Academy

Skye Commercial Photography At The Science Skills Academy

I come from an era where learning was not fun, it was endured. In fact the line between education and punishment was pretty thin. This is all changed by the Science Skills Academy Isle of Skye visit.

This made a recent photographic assignment all the more special. It was educational… and fun… at the same time!

I was tasked by HIE to record primary 6 and 7 pupils learning about science, robotics, programming, geometry and fun stuff like that using Lego Technic robots when the Science Skills Academy visited the Isle of Skye.

Science Skills Academy (SSA) is an initiative provided by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) – Enterprise organisations and quangos love their TLAs  which are three letter abbreviations and are not to be confused with TLAs, which are obviously two letter abbreviations… anyway the SSA is as a way of encouraging young folk to become more interested and adept at STEM (science, technology, electronics and maths and yes, I am fully aware of trying to be funny about two and three letter abbreviations then leaping straight into a four letter abbreviation).



I have to admit to being jealous of the fun the children had while actually learning stuff. No one was threatened with a punishment exercise or told to sit down the front, instead there was encouragement, patience and inclusion. Everybody split up into pairs to use arithmetic, maths and computing skills to create a scenario where a robot charged down a street then stopped just in time to prevent the demise of a Lego figure. The closest won.



At first the pupils  seemed a little bored, though this was probably a cover for not being too sure about what was going on, but there was a suspicion it might involve “work.” It took mere moments for them to become fully engaged and soon the room was filled with noise and movement as measurements were taken and plans formulated. A happy creative chaos ensued with me wandering in, among and around it all happily taking photographs.  Nobody paid me the blindest bit of attention.



Once the street scene mat was laid out and the figure was placed at the end of the road things took a serious turn. There was a competition in the offing. There would be winners and losers. Each team would have three goes at getting to within millimetres of the poor Lego bloke/RTA victim. Each attempt was a learning experience and adjustments were made. Competitors had been encouraged by reports of results from rival schools. If the numpties from those schools could get that close it stands to reason we will get closer. Cheers and jeers rose and fell as robots dashed down the road (unwise as speed sacrificed accuracy in direction) then trundled ( much more accurate but rather boring…) closer and closer to the target. Laughter erupted if the figure was swept under an overshooting robot, oohhs and aahhs if the robot got close. An embarrassed or uninterested silence if someone got in really wrong and the robot stopped nowhere near. Unless it was piloted by someone who had been bragging about how well they were going to do. They got pelters.



I captured so much enthusiasm and animation. It was one of those shoots where I could sit quietly and unobtrusively with a long lens on and take interesting pictures unnoticed. I even popped some speedlight on the action and nobody cared. usually that attracts a certain amount of attention, not this time. Everybody was focused. This was good as as per usual I wanted more dynamic, in and a bout the action pictures and that i=means crawling about and lying on the floor. The best shots are always the ones that involve the least amount of dignity…

It’s days like this that recharge the spirit. To see children having such a good time while gaining life skills is wonderful. Well done to all who took created this endeavour and took part.


Science Skills Academy

Highland and Island Enterprise

An Crubh

Highland Council

Newton Room


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