Outdoors

As part of your visit to the Science Oxford Centre, school groups can enjoy the surrounding 15 acres of woodland, meadows, grassland and ponds. Our Science Oxford team has designed a woodland walk and pond dipping workshops for all ages to link indoor and outdoor learning. In our unique outdoor learning area, we offer children the opportunity to pose questions about their environment and look carefully for the answers. Alongside your session in the Exploration Zone, you can book two outdoor sessions if you select a woodland walk plus a pond dipping workshop for your class. The pond dipping workshops are available from September 2021.

Woodland Walks

Early Years and Years 1-6

Our Woodland Walks for school groups are designed to engage children of all ages with the woodland, ponds, meadows and grassland around the Science Oxford Centre. One of our experienced staff will lead the children and encourage them to use all of their senses to explore this inspirational and varied setting. No two visits are ever the same! There are opportunities to investigate the diverse habitats or the changing seasons and children will be encouraged to use their observations and discoveries to ask questions, share their thoughts and develop their ideas. They can search for evidence of what lives amongst the trees and plants and if they are lucky, they may even glimpse some of the animal life.

Pond Dipping Workshop: Pond Dipping Detectives

Early years & Years 1–2
Our pond dipping sessions are designed to ensure that all groups experience exciting hands-on science while working scientifically and developing important observational skills. Pond Dipping Detectives is a practical session around the ponds that will teach children about the pond habitat and the plants and animals that live there. We will consider if we can put the things we find into groups and see what is eating what to construct simple food chains. We will pose thought-provoking questions to develop greater understanding of this incredible habitat. We can photograph the things we find so that you can use them in the classroom and then we can return the plants and animals safely to the pond.

Pond Dipping Workshop: Aquatic Adventurers

Years 3–4
Our pond dipping sessions are designed to ensure that all groups experience exciting hands-on science while working scientifically and developing important observational skills. Aquatic Adventurers will involve pond dipping followed by a practical session in the classroom, looking at what we have found in more detail. We can use magnifiers and microscopes to look at what we have caught, using our observations to pick out predators, prey and producers and explore food chains. By identifying differences, we can group species in a number of different ways and consider how these fascinating groups are adapted for life in their environment. We can photograph the things we find so that you can use them in the classroom when we have returned the plants and animals safely to the pond.

Pond Dipping Workshop: Ecological Explorers

Years 5–6
Our pond dipping sessions are designed to ensure that all groups experience exciting hands-on science while working scientifically and developing important observational skills. Ecological Explorers will start by examining the pond habitat and collecting samples before returning to the classroom to identify what we’ve found using our scientific keys and equipment. We will work to classify our ecological finds, consider the scientific reasoning behind our classification and look at how different species are adapted to where they live. Our observations will be used to consider and compare the reproduction and life cycles of the different organisms. We can photograph the things we find so that you can use them in the classroom when we have returned the plants and animals safely to the pond.

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School visits

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How wonderful to have such a beautiful woodland that gives children the freedom to explore and enjoy the great outdoors

Local primary school teacher

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