Activity details

The Eden Project is all about connecting people with the natural world; our plant collection includes plants for food, medicine and materials. This lesson is designed to help students to appreciate the links they have with the natural world through everyday objects and then to present their understanding creatively as a TV report, potentially using video.

Objectives and curriculum links

This lesson enables students to:

  • investigate a particular plant to find out the product that we can get from it.
  • develop an awareness of the value plants have to us.
  • work together to create a film/report to educate their peers

We've designed the lesson to help teachers cover the following subject areas:

KS3 Geography: human and physical geography

  • human geography relating to: …international development; economic activity in the primary, secondary, tertiary…sectors; and the use of natural resources
  • understand how human and physical processes interact to influence, and change landscapes, environments and the climate; and how human activity relies on effective functioning of natural systems

Resources

To set up the lesson you will need:

  • Roving Reporters PowerPoint presentation (see Downloads section on this page)
  • research material in the classroom for each group (could be paper-based or online) to help them write their scripts. A good starting point is the Eden Project's online A-Z of Plant Profiles
  • example of a TV script and scaffolding questions for interviewees (see Downloads section on this page)

Each group will need:

Lesson plan

Starter (0-5 minutes)

Start by showing pupils the 'Do you know where things come from?' slide (in the PowerPoint presentation provided in the Download section of this page) showing pictures of everyday products such as chocolate, coffee, cotton etc. You could have some of the items as props to pass around.

Ask the pupils to talk to each other in pairs about the products and their origins and then choose a pair to feedback to class for each item. There will probably be some understanding of the products’ origins but emphasise the point that for a lot of the things we use every day people do not really know where it comes from or how it gets to us.

Setting the challenge (5-15 minutes)

Arrange the pupils into groups of four where possible (there can be five in a group by doubling up on one of the roles). Explain that they are now a news team, given the task of making a news report for TV. They must make a short film/presentation on the ‘story’ behind where an everyday item comes from, for example: 'Where does chocolate come from?' They can choose the item they want to research or it can be allocated.

The following are all on Eden’s A-Z of Plant Profiles:

  • chocolate/cocoa
  • coffee
  • cork
  • cotton
  • grapes
  • olives
  • tea
  • vanilla

Each person in the group will take one of the following roles:

  • news presenter (in the studio)
  • outside reporter (interviewer)
  • plant scientist (botanist) (a person who knows all about the plant)
  • local person (someone who is involved somewhere in the process of creating the product)

Explain how they will all use the same simple news report format which breaks down into the following parts:

  • Part 1 (Introduction) – the news presenter introduces the story and locates where it is taking place on a map.
  • Part 2 (Interview 1) – the outside reporter interviews the plant scientist about the plant, eg how the plant is grown or harvested. 
  • Part 3 (Interview 2) – the outside reporter interviews the local person about their involvement in creating the product. This could be as a farmer, picker, transporter, factory worker or seller.
  • Part 4 (Summary) – the news presenter summarises the main points of the story and then ends the show.

Research (15-35/45 minutes)

Pupils then have to decide who is going to take each of the roles and then research and plan their presentations. The information for their chosen plant can be found using web-based research if they have access to ICT or give out paper copies of information taken from the internet.

They should each write their own scripts for what they are going to say. You could use a script scaffold (see sample script provided in the Download section of this page) to help pupils access their roles and who may find writing a script from scratch more challenging. Question prompts are provided on the PowerPoint presentation (provided in the Download section of this page) to support pupils in gathering relevant information.

The challenge (35/45-65/75 minutes)

Depending on the availability of ICT equipment for filming, the pupils now have time to film or just rehearse their news reports. 

The first and last part of the report takes place in the studio (use a TV studio backdrop). The outside reporter interviews will take place in the relevant country/environment. This could be done by actually filming outside the classroom if appropriate or simply using a backdrop of a suitable image or location.

Screening of the film/presentations (timing depends on number of groups)

Each film is then shown to the whole class or each group presents their news report to the class. The pupils watching must evaluate each group, giving a score for each group, a positive comment and something that could be improved. This could be made into a competition with prizes for the highest score if the required. 

A nice idea is to then have an ‘Oscar’ ceremony where the teacher allocates prizes to certain groups using criteria such as: 

  • Most informative film
  • Best acting
  • Best production
  • Best script
  • Best comedy moment!

Plenary (final 5 minutes)

Go back to the initial slide and ask pupils the same question 'Do you know where these things come from?' and this time in pairs they should be able to explain lots of them.

Finish by reminding pupils that we depend absolutely on plants, but that having evolved millions of years before us, plants can do very nicely without humans!

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