December only – Chocolate Fun (duration: 45 minutes)
Love chocolate? Find out all about its history, from the bitter Mayan drink to the sweet treat of today. Engage your senses by experiencing the tropical environment where cocoa thrives, and tasting and smelling our different samples. (Please ensure that chocolate (and other relevant) allergies are known in advance of chocolate sample tasting and are included on your booking form – see our Risk Assessment.) Indoor session.
New for 2019 – Sensational Science (duration: 1 hour)
Have your students ever seen plant DNA? Have they ever used a potato to tell the time? What’s special about cabbage? Are leaves really green? Here at the Gardens, we obviously think plants are amazing. So, have your students don their lab coat and safety glasses (provided), and investigate for themselves just how amazing in our new practical, laboratory-style teaching session – Risk Assessment. Indoor session.
(Our thanks go to the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Millennium Point Trust for their support with this session.)
Rainforest Fun (duration: 75 minutes – with live animal presentation / 45 minutes – without live animals. Please specify which on booking form.)
Discover our rainforest seeds, tribal artefacts and preserved creepy crawlies to better understand this fascinating environment. Learn about where tropical rainforests are situated, the animals that inhabit them and why they are so endangered. Find out how rainforest plants grow and adapt to their unique environment. Also, discover which rainforest plants we eat and which we wear, as well as a whole host of others that are part of our everyday lives, in this fun and interactive, fact-based session! (Please see the Animal Handling description below for the selection of animals that will be chosen from – if there are any animals you would prefer to see or not see, then please state on your booking form (we cannot guarantee the availability of any animal). Animal Risk Assessment. Please note that, if chosen, the live animal presentation is an addition to this session and so does not form the basis of it. Therefore, only a selection of animals will be shown and some children may not have the opportunity to handle them.) Indoor session.
Animal Handling (duration: 1 hour)
Take a look at our exciting and unique animal collection! You will have the opportunity to `get up close` with a range of exotic animals chosen from the following selection: Corn Snake, Panther Chameleon, Gargoyle Gecko, Bearded Dragon, Lesser Madagascan Tenrec, Fire Salamander, Giant Land Snail, Poisonous Dart Frog, Giant Millipede and Stick Insect! Learn about the special adaptations that these creatures have developed and what habitat they live in, through close observation, together with the chance to handle them too! (Please see our Risk Assessment.) Indoor session.
Growth (duration: 1 hour)
In this session, we will ask your pupils to identify plant parts (stem, root, leaf etc.) and find out about the roles they play, before learning about the purpose of flowers in plants and the role that insects play in pollination and seed production. We then act this out as a class role-play, where everyone has a `job` to do, and one of your pupils will dress up as the all-important `buzzy bee` in our special costume! Finally, we investigate seed dispersal and why it is so important for plant survival. Indoor session.
Rainforest Challenge (duration: 75 minutes)
In small teams (maximum 6 groups per class), your pupils will have fun acting as rainforest detectives to follow the clues to discover our secret rainforest plants. Using the clues hidden in their backpacks to help them, your pupils will find out the names and information about some of our key rainforest plants. A plenary ends the session where your pupils will have the opportunity to investigate various rainforest seeds and products from the plants that they have discovered. Can your pupils work out the secret codeword? We recommend bringing plenty of drinking water for this session in the summer months. Indoor & Glasshouse session.
Gardens Tour (duration: 1 hour)
Explore all four corners of the Earth, without leaving Birmingham. Experience tranquillity in our Japanese Garden, admire the tallest tree species in the world in our Pinetum and wonder at the otherworldly plants found on the tundra. You can also marvel at our birds of the world collection in the beautiful Lawn Aviary and maybe bump into our free-roaming peacocks. (We can tailor your tour to any topic/theme.) Outdoor session.
Glasshouse Tour (duration: 1 hour)
Take a trip through our four stunning Glasshouses, from the arid extreme to the vibrant tropical rainforest. Explore ways that our plants have adapted to survive and thrive in different climates and learn exciting facts from our expert guides! (We can tailor your tour to any topic/theme.) (Glasshouse Tours are conducted for 15 to 20 pupils at a time because of restricted space.) Glasshouse session.
Natural Art (duration: 1 hour)
We will encourage your pupils to create natural pieces of artwork in the style of Andy Goldsworthy. We will give you plenty of ideas before venturing out to create your own natural masterpieces in our outdoor ‘gallery’, so don’t forget your camera! Finish the session by making a natural postcard to take home as a memento of your visit to the beautiful Gardens. Outdoor session.
Food Chains (duration: 1 hour)
Understand that all organisms within a habitat interact with each other and have relevance in food chains. Can your pupils organise a food chain? What is a food web and can we make a group web? We utilise relevant terminology and discover how energy is lost between trophic levels in a fun outdoor watery game (pupils playing this game may get wet)! Indoor & Outdoor session.
Japanese Challenge (duration: 50 minutes)
Learn all about the tradition and history behind the Japanese garden culture in this practical session. First, have your pupils develop their teamwork and communication skills to recreate and translate Japanese characters. Then, hunt for challenge answers whilst exploring our ornate and tranquil Japanese Garden and National Bonsai Collection. 知識は力である！ Indoor & Outdoor session.
Pond and Land Minibeast Explorers (available spring to autumn) (duration: 1 hour)
Give your pupils the opportunity to compare two different habitats. Half of your class will have a go at pond-dipping to discover what monsters live in the watery depths whilst the other half will explore the Gardens for land minibeasts, before swapping over half-way through the session. Outdoor session.
Butterfly Lifecycle with Live Butterflies (available from late May to early September only) (duration: 50 minutes)
Join us to learn all about beautiful butterflies; where in our live butterfly house, teaching comes alive. We first use our giant Velcro kit to understand the butterfly lifecycle and have children dress up as a caterpillar and a butterfly to reinforce their learning in an exciting and practical way. We then venture into the butterfly house to see them flying, drinking and maybe even hatching! Our friendly butterflies may even land on you! Finish the session by making your own colourful butterfly collage to take away with you as a memento of your visit to the beautiful gardens. Indoor & Outdoor session.