Eden's wildlife helpers

Meet the bugs, birds and more who help control pests in our garden.

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Workshop overview

What happens: Students begin by unravelling the complex relationships between different organisms present in Eden’s Rainforest Biome. They then focus more specifically on an investigation into one of the important symbiotic relationships present in our biome between the white footed ant population and the ‘sap sucking’ invertebrates.

In the Rainforest Biome the students are responsible for surveying the size of the White Footed Ant population as well as other invertebrates. The students use the same method and techniques as the Eden Scientists use on a monthly basis.

On returning to the classroom the students use their data together with secondary data and graphs compiled by the Eden Scientists in order to calculate the number of White Footed Ants in the Rainforest Biome. They use scientific ideas to discuss the relationship they have discovered between the ant population and the other invertebrates. We pass their data onto the Science Team at Eden who will add it to the live database that they use to help monitor the health of the Rainforest Biome and link their study to its wider applications.

Read one school's experience of the workshop.

Location: This takes place in a workshop room inside our purpose built education centre, the Core, as well as in the Rainforest Biome. It does not explore the other Biome or the rest of the site, so please allow extra time at the end of your workshop in order to do this. It works perfectly as one element of a longer residential visit, staying at YHA Eden Project.

Skills and curriculum links

This workshop enables students to:

  • Describe examples of the complex interactions between organisms in an ecosystem.
  • Work scientifically to collect a unique data set and apply mathematical functions in order to calculate the abundance of white footed ants.
  • Formulate explanations for their findings using scientific ideas.

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

KS3 Science

Pupils should be taught about working scientifically. This includes components such as experimental skills and investigations, analysis and evaluation and measurement.

KS3 Biology

Pupils should be taught about relationships in an ecosystem. This includes the interdependence of organisms in an ecosystem, including food webs and how organisms affect, and are affected by, their environment.

KS4 Science

Pupils should be taught about working scientifically. This includes components including the development of scientific thinking, experimental skills and strategies, analysis and evaluation, and developing scientific vocabulary.

KS4 Biology

Pupils should be taught about evolution. This includes levels of organisation within an ecosystem, interactions between organisms in a community, how materials cycle through components of ecosystems, interdependence, adaptation, the importance of biodiversity, methods of identifying species and measuring distribution, frequency and abundance of species within a habitat.

Practical information

The workshop costs £6.20 per student, with a minimum charge of £124 per group (includes VAT). Maximum group size is 35. The cost includes:

  • a facilitated workshop with our Education Team
  • free access to the Eden site for the day
  • all equipment needed for the workshop
  • free teaching resources enabling your class to prepare for the workshop and to follow up on the activity (download a sample copy)
  • a personal welcome from the Education Team at the entrance
  • a base for your bags in our purpose-built education centre, The Core
  • a space to eat your own lunch 
  • free entry for accompanying adult helpers, whose participation is essential to the success of the day (please note our suggested adult/pupil ratios are as follows: Early Years Foundation Stage, 1:3; Key Stage 1, 1:6; Key Stage 2 and 3, 1:10; Key Stage 4, 1:15; Key Stage 5, 1:20). You’re welcome to bring more helpers if you’d like; for a charge of £15 per adult
  • a free preparatory visit to Eden for teachers wanting to plan their school trip, which should be booked in advance

This workshop is accredited under the British Science Association’s CREST Awards scheme and goes towards a Discovery Award. In order to gain the award it is also necessary for the students to have completed some of the suggested pre and post visit activities provided upon booking.