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Malaysian house in the Eden Project Rainforest Biome

The Invisible Rainforest for schools

There’s a lot more to the rainforest than meets the eye! A whole world lies beyond our senses. Using the power of augmented reality, 360° camera views and interactive infographics, we bring rainforest ecology to life, enabling pupils to see the invisible relationships, systems and processes at play.

To get the most out of the experience, we recommend reading through the resources below first. 

Invisible Rainforest

A summary of the experiences

We have developed two experiences, which can be used by teachers in different ways: ‘Living Lens’ and ‘Weather Maker’.

The Living Lens

Living Lens experience

Using their ‘Super Senses’, animals can see parts of the world that are invisible to us. The adaptations that they possess help them to locate their food and survive in the rainforest.

Mosquitos sense heat and carbon dioxide (CO₂), helping them track their food: warm-blooded animals. Bats hear ultrasound and navigate in the dark using echolocation. Bees can see ultraviolet (UV) light. UV patterns on flowers guide them to their food.

The Living Lens experience helps pupils to understand the relationships between plants and their animal partners, understanding how plants signal to animals and the ‘Super Senses’ that animals use to detect them.

The Weather Maker

Weather maker AR experience

Trees have their feet in the ground and heads in the sky. The Weather Maker experience shows pupils the role that trees and forests play in global cycles. 

As part of the water cycle, trees literally pull water up their internal plumbing systems (xylem) as it evaporates out of the leaves as water vapour. This forms vast, white, sun-reflecting clouds that help cool the climate and make rain that waters lands near and far. Hence the name – ‘rain’ forests.

As part of the carbon cycle, trees capture CO₂ from the air and turn it into sugar (by adding sunlight and water). This process, called photosynthesis, releases oxygen as a by-product ‒ handy! Microscopic fungi called ‘mycorrhiza’ form a symbiotic relationship with the plant root systems, receiving sugars from the plants and in return helping the plants to absorb water and nutrients from the soil. The forest trees, soil life and soil compost (dead stuff) are massive carbon stores. The more solid carbon compounds in the forest, the less CO₂ in the air- helping us to fight climate change.

The Rainforest Dashboard interactive infographic helps pupils to see the role that rainforests have in the creation of weather and the regulation of the global climate. The ‘environmental conditions’ graph allows pupils to observe how various parameters change in the rainforest over a 24-hour period and is filterable so that pupils can investigate different parameters. 

How to use this resource

There are a multitude of ways in which these experiences can be used depending on the area of the curriculum you wish to cover and the age of your students.

Below we outline the key opportunities as we see them for different age groups:

Key stages

Project Background and partners

The Invisible Rainforest for Schools was developed in partnership with Marshmallow Laser Feast, META Camera and network provider aql.  

The school’s experience was originally developed as part of The Invisible Rainforest strand of the Eden Universe research project. Eden Universe was one of nine projects that won a Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) bid to explore how 5G networks could enhance people’s lives.

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