‘The enthusiasm shown by the teaching staff had a very positive effect on our pupils. A positive experience for the pupils on the day leading onto good quality follow-up work.’ Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr

All our programmes are specially designed by us to support and enhance STEM learning, the skills framework, ESDGC,  Welsh Baccalaureate, Healthy Schools and/or Eco Schools through active learning experiences.


If you would like to find out news of what we’re doing this term, have a look at the Secondary Newsletter Autumn 2013

Here are regular programmes for Key Stage 4.

Lifecycle of Flowering Plants

Using microscopy and flower dissection explore the main stages in the lifecycle of flowering plants to include all aspects of pollination, fertilisation and germination. Follow the growth of the seedling plant, through vegetative stages to maturity, flower production, seed formation and dispersal

Available all year round

Life in Ponds – Studying Freshwater Habitats

Investigate the interdependence of organisms by exploring our freshwater ecosystems. By collecting and identifying fresh water animals from our dipping pools, pupils will discover how different animals move, breath and feed. The information pupils collect, together with support material provided by us, will enable classes to return to school where they can construct food chains and webs, build up ecological pyramids and simple energy flow diagrams.

Available April – October

Pollution Indicators

This double programme uses a combination of abiotic and biotic factors to investigate air and water pollution. Pupils will measure water quality by taking pH, temperature, conductivity and 02 readings. They will learn about lichens and freshwater invertebrates as pollution indicators.

Available all year round

Ecological Field Studies

Using field study techniques such as random quadrat sampling and transects, pupils will use our Waun Las National Nature Reserve, to investigate the differences in diversity of organic wildflower pastures compared with intensively farmed eutrophic meadows. This could include a comparison between terrestrial and fresh water ecosystems if required. The information they gather on the day will be backed up with support material for you to use back in the classroom at your school.

Available April – September

Field Safari

Why do carnivores have eyes at the front of their heads?

How does temperature and day/night length affect flowering?

What role do mushrooms play in the ecosystem? Who did that poo?

Based in one of our classrooms and on our Waun Las National Nature Reserve, an organic working farm, pupils will be introduced to key ecological words, shown how to sample and measure plants in the wild, and how to find and identify animal signs. Pupils will also look at how different animals feed and how all living things are interdependent through food chain and food webs.

Plant Adaptations

How have plants evolved to cope with different climates across the planet? Why do some have hairy leaves or bright red undersides or smell like rotting flesh? What is convergent evolution?

Explore our Great Glasshouse, Tropical House and ornamental gardens to find out how Mediterranean, tropical and temperate climates have affected plant adaptations over millenia

Available all year round

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Plants and Medicine Through Time

Find out about the history of medicine and the important role that plants have played in this. Pupils will discover the major cultural and scientific breakthroughs, from medieval times to modern day, that have led to cures for disease and a better understanding for the need to promote good health. Using the Physicians of Myddfai exhibition and Apothecary’s Hall and Garden, explore the development of medicine through time.

Available all year round

What On Earth is Sustainability?

What makes an active citizen?

This challenging workshop explores the different aspects of sustainability, the issues we need to engage with and how we can all make a difference to our sustainable future. It emphasises with pupils that their decisions count.

Available all year round

Green Technology Trail

How do we use plants to heat our Great Glass House and to clean our water?

Our trail explores how the Garden has made choices to ensure we minimise our environmental impact on planet Earth, and describes our role in the Global Plant Conservation Programme.  We challenge pupils to consider what everyday choices they can make in school and at home to join us in trying to live more sustainably.

Available all year round

Fair Trade

What is it and why should we engage with it? Using the plant collections of the Garden, this challenging workshop links the producer with the consumer and deals with  issues such as inequality, global markets and consumer power. This actively explores the concept of ‘Think Global, Act Local’.

Available all year round

Food and Food Miles

What is the environmental impact of a typical weekly shop? This programme will raise pupil awareness of the local and global issues, both human and environmental, that affect the food we buy. Using the Garden’s economic plant collections, pupils will find out where and how their food is produced and will be provoked to think about the ethical and environmental choices open to them.

Available all year round

Applied Science

What do the jobs of Botanical Scientists, Horticulturists, and Teachers entail?

What Health and Safety considerations need to be made for the wellbeing of workers and the public?

At the National Botanic Garden we have a range of jobs that people do that involve the applying of science.  We can arrange a workshop where pupils can meet with different professionals and undertake a Health and Safety review of our 160 acre site.

Available all year round

Grape Escape

Design and build a raft using only natural materials found at the Garden that will carry a grape down the 200 metre rill and save it from being juiced. This hands-on activity is great for problem solving and skills development. It can be used as part of a Design and Technology course or as a fun add on to any of the other programmes on offer.

Available all year round

Environmental Art

Pupils can come and create transient pieces of environmental art that help them think about the natural world and their place within it. Inspired by the work of artists such as Tim Pugh and Andy Goldsworthy, pupils will have the opportunity to design and construct a piece of art using natural found materials from around the Garden. We encourage pupils and teachers to bring cameras to take pictures of these pieces and of other artwork around the Garden.

Available all year round

Leisure and Tourism

As a major tourist attraction for South Wales, the Garden is a important factor in the economy of the region.  Pupils will have the opportunity to research visitor services, corporate hospitality, health and safety, maintenance, education, volunteer co-ordination retail sales and marketing. They will do this by talking to key members of our staff team.

Available all year round

Self-Led Group Visits

The Garden has become a highly popular venue for art projects and for creative writing and poetry. The beauty of the Garden and the global significance of our conservation work provides a stimulating and authentic environment for pupils to engage in creative interpretation of the Garden.

Schools can come as self-led group for a variety of activities, some of which might be inspired by our Art exhibitions, seasonal visitor trails linked to our plant collections or arrange a tour under our Great Glasshouse to discover how this iconic and sustainable building operates.