Learning outdoors – the Garden of Eden

Outdoor Learning at the garden of Eden

Whilst staying in Cornwall, we felt compelled to visit one of the top visitor attractions, an eco park with a strong educational bias: the Eden project. Most people we know that have been there give rave reviews and recommendations so it was a must-see on our list of places to go to. Interestingly, the name led to an impromptu discussion about the religious associations even before we got there; a brief Google search compiled with own knowledge of the story of Eden evolved into a lesson in itself.

Nestled in a huge crater that was once a chalk quarry, this paradise for plants welcomes visitors from around the world through its doors and into its artificial biomes to explore an indoor rainforest, a Mediterranean world and exhibitions that focus on plant life. Both Amy and Ella have studied the rainforest before and have an understanding of plants and their reproduction but immersing themselves in a world of plants literally brought their learning to life and appealed to their senses; they were able to smell the perfumes of exotic flowers, appreciate the vibrant colours of unusual plant species and gain an understanding of how and where certain foods that they eat grow around the world. We wandered around for a few hours, reading the information presented to us, asking and answering questions and talking at length about what we were learning.

One day isn’t long enough to fully explore what the Eden Project has to offer so, making the most of the annual passes, we returned another day.

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On our second visit, we returned with a focus of learning about climate change and water from the exhibition in the Core building. After watching videos about the impact of the deforestation and reading nuggets of information about what plants do for us, the girls then split up and each focussed on one area. This meant that they could study something in detail that was appropriate and of interest to them rather than attempt to take in all the information that was there. The plan was to then share what they had found out with the rest of the us and learn from each other. Each of them diligently wrote notes which became the basis for their mini presentations in the van on the way home. Talking through their notes allowed them to consolidate what they had learnt and commit it to memory as well as practise presentation skills.