Kew Gardens 2016With the world’s tropical rainforests slightly too far away for a day trip, Harrow Way Community School Year 8 Geographers instead found themselves exploring Kew Gardens historic Palm House. Considered to be the most important surviving Victorian iron and glass structure in the world, the Palm House proved to be the perfect backdrop for the Harrow Way students to discover the tropical rainforest.

Kelly Campbell, Curriculum Leader for Geography said: “The students enjoyed taking part in a treasure hunt to investigate the four layers of the rainforest and to find out how we are connected to the forest as part of our everyday lives. The scientific study of the relationships between people and plants, deforestation, fair trade and sustainable farming were all explored as students experienced the climate, viewed the rainforest at ground and upper level and searched for cool plants used as ingredients in everyday items such as toothpaste”.

While at Kew the students also visited the Aquarium to see how different animals have adapted to different environments. ‘The Hive’ a unique structure, provided students with an insight into the health of bees. The sound and light intensity within the space changes as the energy levels in a beehive, kept behind the scenes at Kew, surge, giving students an insight into life inside a bee colony.

Ms Campbell concludes: “The purpose of the visit was for students to understand and experience the unique environment in the rainforest so that back in the classroom they can make a decision regarding whether or not they believe we should protect the rainforest or exploit it for the many uses we explored. Now they realise just how many products we consume purely as a result of our rainforests, this will encourage them to consider different stakeholder opinions and reasons for and against deforestation and other human impacts here – a really high level skill in the study of geography!”