The Eden Project has launched Paradise Pastures, a free science programme for teachers designed to bring Eden’s story-inspired learning approach into their schools.
Suitable for upper KS2 pupils (aged nine to 11), the series of lessons goes beyond the classroom and inspires children to connect with the biodiversity discoverable on their own school grounds, whilst deepening their understanding of scientific enquiry.
Students are introduced to the ‘Whatifs’, fictional characters who make Paradise Pastures their home. They begin their work learning about ‘The Invisible Overworld’ by completing a microhike outside and investigating the vegetation and creatures found on the ground of their Paradise Pasture. ‘The Invisible Underworld’ will then explore the world of soil by collecting samples and examining this using hand lenses and microscopes.
Robbie Kirkman, Education Team lead at the Eden Project, designed the Paradise Pastures resource and said: “At Eden we use stories as starting points – hooks – and play on children’s natural curiosity to engage our learners. The human brain is hardwired for storytelling and Paradise Pastures is a great example of how we take a narrative-led approach and apply this to scientific enquiry.
“Launching this new in-school programme is especially timely since children have recently marked a full year back in the classroom since disruptions caused by the pandemic.”
Paradise Pastures has been created to seamlessly link with the curriculum of KS2 Science, Geography, English and Maths and is comprised of three 1.5-hour lessons with the option to extend this with ‘Writing Across the Curriculum’ and ‘Developing an Authentic Scientific Enquiry.’
The tried-and-tested programme was developed with the help of Roche Community Primary School, based near St Austell, whose Year 5 class took part in the early stages of the programme in summer 2021.
The resources are available for schools to access online now and a free webinar, taking place on Wednesday 27 April at 15.45, will allow education professionals to find out more about the lesson series.
“We know from research that deepening our connection with nature encourages pro-environmental behaviours,” said Robbie. “This programme aims to support the development of this understanding while linking with key curriculum requirements.
“Our educational programmes and resources mirror the Department for Education’s plans, announced at COP26, to introduce new measures that will deliver enhanced climate change education to children.”
As well as exploring an existing Paradise Pasture already on the school grounds, schools will have the option of building on the programme by taking part in the Pollinator Pathmaker project and planting their own pollinator-friendly garden.
Pollinator Pathmaker is a 55-metre-long climate positive living artwork at the Eden Project that was created by artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg. Designed to showcase the vital role that pollinators play, the artwork aims to encourage individuals, communities and schools to create their own Pollinator Pathmaker garden – no matter the size of area available – by visiting pollinator.art and inputting their dimensions.
As an education charity and social enterprise, Eden provides learning programmes, experiences and resources for students and teachers onsite and in the classroom, from early learning all the way through to degree level and professional development.
The impact of the pandemic has seen Eden expand its learning programmes to include virtual learning, providing an even more global and accessible approach to vital environmental education. This year, Eden Project Learning is expected to reach 40,000 people on site, in the classroom and online.
For more information, to access the lesson plans and sign-up to the webinar visit: www.edenproject.com/learn/schools/school-lesson-plans/paradise-pastures.