Trash to Teaching Treasure

In an effort to promote an earth-friendly attitude, Union’s teachers are turning trash to teaching treasure in very interesting ways.

The learners in the Grade 8 Arts and Culture class, for instance, were recently tasked with creating outrageous hats from waste material, such as newspapers, bits of cardboard, foil and the like.

After the 1½ hour time limit, it was very interesting to note the learners’ individual interpretations of the theme.  Seen here are some of the learners showing off their one of kind, handmade hats.


Amazing Race

Union High School’s Eco-Amazing Race is exactly one month away! Remember to secure your entry to stand a chance of winning one of the amazing prizes that will be up for grabs. All teams will walk away with a prize!

We invite families of 4 to enter this fun-filled event (no more than 2 adults on a team).  The entry fee per team is R100. There are only 10 spots available, so first come, first serve.

For further information, or to request an entry form, please contact Mrs. Burger on 049 891 0262 or e-mail

Eco Club Members Attend to Local Nursery

The members of Union High School’s Eco Club recently paid a visit to the Camdeboo National Park.  During the visit, the learners only had one goal in mind – to clean and revamp the small plant nursery located in the park.

Upon arrival, the learners were divided into three teams – one cleaned the garden shed while the other two each cleaned a seedling structure.  This involved weeding, raking, sorting litter and organic materials for discarding or re-use, cleaning, dusting and a lot of organising.  The groups worked hard and laughed a lot while getting down and dirty – giving new life to the nursery.

The group will return to the park soon to start planting new plants.

• This activity formed part of the Biodiversity theme of Union’s Eco-Schools project.

Don’t Bin It, Bottle It

The ongoing EcoBrick project is one of Union High School’s constant endeavours to reduce litter by recycling.  EcoBricks are constructed out of recycled 2-litre plastic bottles that are filled with all sorts of non-biodegradable waste.

Suitable materials to fill EcoBricks with include plastic bags, laminated paper, polystyrene trays, plastic fruit punnets, silvery packets from chips and chocolates, wax paper and dog-food bags.

The litter must be stuffed inside the bottles in such a compact manner, that the bottles are rock-solid and resistant to breaking and denting.  Once filled, these bottles can then be used as a “brick” from which even school buildings and houses can be built. The compressed plastic waste does not disintegrate and provides hardy support, similar to normal building bricks, but at almost no cost.  Apart from reducing the amount of trash that reaches the oceans, eco-bricks are also highly insulating and water- and fire-proof.

Each classroom at Union High School has again been tasked with creating an EcoBrick this year.  The learners are encouraged to participate, and in so doing, take personal responsibility for their plastic waste.


What sets an excellent learning experience apart from a mediocre one?

The ability to solve problems in creative ways!

Geography learners at Union High School were recently tasked with planning a commercial farm on a specified landscape provided to them.

The lesson was simulation-based and required learners to plan the lay-out of their ideal farm by applying content recently covered in class with regards to valley climates, river management systems and factors to take into account when making decisions on establishing a settlement.

They could then present their effort to their respective groups and negotiate the best possible solution. Each group then made a final presentation to the rest of the class.

The young geographers had loads of fun applying their newly acquired knowledge.

Fun With Structures

Union’s Grade 7s are learning about natural and man-made structures in Technology this term.

Earlier this week, using spaghetti and marshmallows, students experimented with different structures to determine which ones are able to handle the greatest amount of load. This experiment helped them to further understand the effects that compression and tension forces have with respect to the strength of structures. Spaghetti cannot hold much tension or compression; therefore, it breaks very easily. Marshmallows handle compression well but do not hold up to tension.

At the Union schools, we are thankful for small class sizes that allow teachers the opportunity to successfully conduct these experiments. Teachers are able to be actively involved with everything the learners do, resulting in increased participation and better communication between the teacher and the learners.

2nd Term Blood Drive

Learners and teachers each waited their turn to donate blood to the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) at Union High School on Tuesday morning, 9 April.

The regular blood drives at the school are aimed at fostering a culture of blood donation among the young learners and increasing the amount of blood donated in South Africa.Over the years, our learners – who always support the blood drives enthusiastically – have saved thousands of lives with this valuable contribution to the community.

Today, we hope to reach our target of 60 units.

• The SANBS also hosts a blood drive in Graaff-Reinet every second Monday afternoon of the month, between 14:00 and 18:00, at the Te Water Hall in Bourke Street. Those who are able, are encouraged to give blood and in so doing, save a life.

Anyone who is over 16, weighs over 50kg and who practices a healthy lifestyle can donate. When you donate one unit of blood you can save up to three lives, as blood is separated into red blood cells, plasma and platelets.

Juggling to Concentrate

Mention juggling in schools and most people probably think of balancing tasks and commitments, not of tossing balls into the air.

Research, however, has shown that juggling real objects increases a learners’ ability to concentrate, enhances their eye-hand coordination, and builds self-confidence.

On Monday morning, 8 April, an English Instruction Task, “Juggling”, saw the school’s Grade 5s practicing this skill on the school’s sports grounds and having a lot of fun while doing so.

Striving for Eco-Schools Excellence

Since partnering with the WESSA Eco-Schools initiative in 2014, Union High School has worked with perseverance and determination to shape the future generation to think and act green.

The Eco-Schools programme is an international programme that was developed to support environmental learning in the classroom and is aimed at creating awareness and action around environmental sustainability in schools and their surrounding communities.

Now in its sixth year as a part of this programme, Union is proud to say that through our continued endeavours in this regard, we have instilled a deep sense of responsibility within all of the leaners at the school, equipping them with the readiness to do more.

To get the ball rolling for this year, the Eco-School Committee for 2019 has been established and consists of: (back) Ms Jenny Street (co-ordinator of the WESSA Eco-Schools Programme and the Eco-Club at Union High School), Mr William Pringle (Headmaster) and Mrs Mariëtte Burger (PR and Marketing). Middle: Mrs Christina Nell, Ms Rosemary Scheepers (SANParks), Mrs Danelle Botes and Mrs Marsha Bouwer (parent). Front: Thokozani Mpanza (Grade 7), Liyema Sanjani (Grade 11) and Tsireletso Tsolo (Grade 11). Absent: Ann-Noleen Koeberg (Grade 7).

This initiative is sure to leave its green footprint upon the face of the Earth. We hope to continue doing this good work and paving the path for a sustainable future.

 • To find out more about our activities in this regard, visit and like our UHS Eco-life Facebook page.

Eco-Wise Day

Thursday, 14 April was Eco-wise day at Union and each grade spent time engaged in activities based on the theme of conservation of water and recycling. Our campus was abuzz with children filling up recycled bottles with rainwater for those in need; posters were made; desks refurbished; there was a trip to the dam where water and wetlands were discussed; the grade 7s walked to Mackie’s pit where our water comes from; stationery was upcycled; water filters made and a few even danced a happy holiday dance! We wish all our staff and learners a happy, restful holiday and please remember to save water wherever you can.