There are few topics as fascinating and fun for young minds than rainforests, but it is also a topic that you want to see firsthand to truly get to grips with. Fortunately, you do not have to whisk your class halfway around the world to the Amazon to do this thanks to the fantastic Eden Project in Cornwall. This is one of the best places for educational visits in the UK and is suitable for both primary school and secondary school students. |
Inside the iconic biomes, pupils can find an astonishing variety of plants collected from a wide range of environments and climates. In addition to this, the Eden Project is also well-known for its excellent learning opportunities, which is what makes it such a great choice for teachers looking to ignite their class’s passion for science or geography.
Primary School Pupils
Primary school students tend to find the entire site exciting, but it is the unique Rainforest Rangers workshop which proves time and again to be the highlight as it gives the group the ability to see, touch and smell the rainforest.
The two-hour workshop invites eager minds on a journey of discovery through the rain-forest biome where they will learn how to survive in this environment. Armed with plant samples, survival equipment and maps, the group will go through basic training in role play to learn how plant specimens could be useful for surviving in a rainforest. This in-formation is used to complete the Rangers’ notebook which will prove to be a useful tool back in the classroom.
This intriguing workshop educates students on our dependence on plants, and encou-rages them to think about conservation and how indigenous people adapt to survive. It can be useful for both science and geography.
Secondary School Students
The Eden Project can also be of great interest for developing minds in secondary school. The How Abund-Ant? 2-hour workshop has a focus on science and ecology and is suit-able for both KS3 and KS4. The workshop allows the class to investigate the complex ecosystem in the rainforest dome and undertake their own research to contribute to the Eden Science Team’s live dataset.
During the session, students will look at the complex relationships between the many different organisms on show in the rainforest dome. Specifically, they will be focusing on the symbiotic relationship between the ‘sap sucking' invertebrates and the white footed ants. They will use the same technique used by the Eden Scientists to calculate the size of the white footed ant population – this data is then used by the team of scientists to monitor the health of the biome.
This all proves a valuable insight into important relationships between organisms and how they are crucial to the survival of certain ecosystems.
Another reason that the Eden Project is perfect for educational visits is the fact that the class can spend the night in the comfortable Youth Hostel, which was designed for resi-dential trips. In keeping with the projects’ commitment to sustainable living, the hostel is made entirely from shipping containers and features 58 ensuite bedrooms with 174 beds in total. It is a great base for walking to Eden and you can also easily venture further afield to discover the dramatic beauty of Cornwall.
In order to make the most out of educational visits to Eden, consider seeking out a spe-cialist educational travel tour operator to organise the visit for you. Let them take the lo-gistical strain while you concentrate on preparing your class for a journey in the rainfor-est!
John Gardiner is the Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specialising in educational visits for school and youth groups to the UK, Europe and beyond. As a father and avid traveller, John is very passionate about providing students with valuable and engaging learning experiences outside of the classroom. By sharing his expert advice with teachers, he allows them to inspire their students and bring their studies to life.
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