Secondary Schools

We welcome secondary school groups to Perivale Wood. At the reserve, we deliver environmental education sessions and forest school sessions. The sessions are delivered by our environmental science teachers and forest school practitioners.

We deliver environmental education sessions based on the national curriculum for science and major exam board specifications (AQA, Edexcel and OCR). Perivale Wood is the ideal location for your class to learn field work techniques and to take part in citizen science surveys.

The KS3 sessions are two hours long and cost £150 a session. KS4 and A level sessions usually take a full day and cost £300.

During your visit, you have use of our Bluebell Centre, which includes a classroom for 30 children, a boot room to store any belongings and toilets. Perivale Wood has a diversity of habitats, so depending on the session chosen we may be in the oak woodland, one of the wildflower meadows or at one of the ponds.

We also cater for SEN groups and can adapt the session plans to suit your needs.

Summaries for each session can be found below as well as our booking form.

KS3 – Years 7, 8 and 9

Water Survey

During this session pupils will carry out an OPAL investigation into the health of one of the ponds found within the Perivale Wood Local Nature Reserve. Pupils will sample the pond, using appropriate field techniques and equipment, to discover the invertebrates that live in this habitat. The data collected will be used to calculate a Pond Health Score. The nature of the areas surrounding the reserve will be discussed in relation to potential sources of pollution that could affect the water quality of the ponds. The data will be evaluated and sources of error discussed. This OPAL investigation provides an opportunity for pupils to carry out a scientific survey where the outcome is not known (it is not a ‘fair test’ style of science practical). It is an opportunity to be part of a groundbreaking national survey that makes a real contribution to our wider knowledge of pond health.

Soil Survey

During this sessions, pupils will carry out an OPAL investigation into the species of earthworm found in Perivale Wood Local Nature Reserve. This will provide an opportunity for pupils to develop their fieldwork and classification skills. They will learn about how organisms are affected by their environment by investigating whether there is a relationship between the number and type of earthworm found and the soil type and habitat the worms are found in. This OPAL investigation provides an opportunity for pupils to carry out a scientific survey where the outcome is not known (it is not a ‘fair test’ style of science practical). It highlights how science works in the real world. The data collected has real value as it will become part of a national survey that will help scientists learn more about the distribution of earthworms in Britain.

Pollination

This session will start with revision of flower structure and pollination. During the main part of this session pupils will learn how to identify the most common species of bumblebee. They will observe bumblebee behaviour in their natural environment and carry out an investigation to determine which species of flower the different bumblebee species prefer. Pupils will develop an awareness of the environmental importance of bumblebees in pollination. Results will be presented in a bar chart and suitable conclusions drawn. The investigation and its limitations will be discussed.

The importance of nature reserves

At this session students will learn about the importance of nature reserves. They will investigate the biodiversity found in the different habitats (e.g. woodland and meadows), learn about the importance of trees with regards to limiting climate change, and find out about how the reserve is managed to maximise biodiversity.
We have a KS3 poster competition to win a day at Perivale Wood learning about the importance of woodlands. Entry by March 31st 2017. Please see the blog for more details.

GCSE

Edexcel Biology and Combined Science, AQA Biology, Combinded Science Trilogy and Combined Science Synergy, OCR Gateway Science and Twenty First Century Science
Students can come to Perivale Wood to complete their mandatory core practicals. After an introduction into different field-work techniques and the biotic and abiotic factors that affect communities, students can use field-work techniques to carry out an investigation into the population size of meadow buttercups using random sampling and quadrats. This can be followed by an investigation into the relationship between light intensity and plant distribution in our wild flower meadows.

We have several ponds in the nature reserve and students can learn about indicator species and then carry out the OPAL investigation into the health of the pond. Students will sample the pond, using appropriate field techniques and equipment, to discover the invertebrates that live in this habitat. The data collected will be used to calculate a Pond Health Score. The nature of the areas surrounding the reserve will be discussed in relation to potential sources of pollution that could affect the water quality of the ponds. The data will be evaluated and sources of error discussed.

In addition, a visit to Perivale Wood can illustrate the importance of maintaining local biodiversity, the threat of introduction of non-indigenous species (e.g. the Spanish bluebell and oak processionary moth) and the role of nature reserves in the carbon cycle and limiting climate change.

A level session plans for AQA

Investigating populations in ecosystems

This is a full day session for A level students (not AS)

During the first part of the session, students will begin to investigate plant populations in a meadow habitat. They will carry out an
investigation to compare the population size of meadow buttercups in two meadows which are grazed in different ways. They will use a random sampling method and quadrats to estimate the percentage cover of buttercups. Once they have mastered these fieldwork techniques they will plan and carry out the AQA Required Practical 12 investigating the effect of a named environmental factor on the distribution of a given species. There are a variety of different investigations they can choose between. They will use appropriate instrumentation to record quantitative measurements. For example, they will learn how to use a belt transect and may use data loggers, such as light meters or moisture meters.

Mark-release-recapture

This activity is best carried out over 2 days. A level students only (not AS)

The theory of the mark-release-recapture method will be covered and put into practice with students estimating the population of woodlice in an area of Perivale Wood. It is best if this practical is carried out over two days. Students will learn to safely and ethically handle woodlice as a way of measuring their distribution.

Succession and biodiversity

This is a full day session for A level students only (not AS)

During this session, students will learn the theory of succession and will then carry out an investigation into the biodiversity of plants found in different areas of the reserve which are at different stages of succession. Students will calculate species richness in each area and will use the index of diversity to calculate biodiversity. Students will use random sampling methods to determine where to sample and quadrats to record quantitative measurements. They will use light meters to record the light levels in each area. The students will also learn about how the reserve is managed in order to maximise biodiversity and diversity of habitats.

Biodiversty

This is a full day session for A level students only (not AS)

During this session students will learn the theory of succession and will then carry out an investigation into the biodiversity of plants found in different areas of the reserve which are at different stages of succession. Students will calculate species richness in each area and will use the index of diversity to calculate biodiversity. Students will use random sampling methods to determine where to sample and quadrats to record quantitative measurements. They will use light meters to record the light levels in each area. The students will also learn about how the reserve is managed in order to maximise biodiversity and diversity of habitats.

A level session plans for Edexcel

Biodiversity

This is a full day session for AS students.

During this session students will learn how to calculate an index of diversity. They will carry out an investigation into the biodiversity of plants found in two different meadows, which having different grazing regimes. Students will use random sampling methods to determine where to sample and quadrats to record quantitative measurements. The students will learn about how the meadows are managed in order to maximise biodiversity and diversity of habitats.

Succession and Biodiversity

This is a full day session for A level students.

During this session students will learn the theory of succession and will then carry out an investigation into the biodiversity of plants found in different areas of the reserve which are at different stages of succession. Students will calculate species richness in each area and will use the index of diversity to calculate biodiversity. Students will use random sampling methods to determine where to sample and quadrats to record quantitative measurements. They will use light meters to record the light levels in each area. The students will also learn about how the reserve is managed in order to maximise biodiversity and diversity of habitats. The ethical and economic reasons (ecosystem services) for the maintenance of biodiversity will be discussed.

Core practical 15

During this full day session, students will carry out the Edexcel core practical 15. They will investigate the effect of different sampling methods on estimates of the size of a population. They will take into account the safe and ethical use of organisms.

Core practical 16

This is a full day session.

During the first part of the session, students will begin to investigate plant populations in a meadow habitat. They will carry out an
investigation to compare the population size of meadow buttercups in two meadows which are grazed in different ways. They will use a random sampling method and quadrats to estimate the percentage cover of buttercups. Once they have mastered these fieldwork techniques they will plan and carry out the Edexcel Core Practical 16 investigating the effect of a named environmental factor on the distribution of a given species. There are a variety of different investigations students can choose between. They will use appropriate instrumentation to record quantitative measurements. For example, they will learn how to use a belt transect and may use data loggers, such as light meters or moisture meters.

A Level Sessions for OCR Biology A

Biodiversity

This is a full day session for AS and A level students.

During this session students will learn the different ways to measure biodiversity in a habitat: species richness, species evenness and
Simpson’s Index of Diversity. They will carry out an investigation into the biodiversity of plants found in two different meadows, which have different grazing regimes. Students will calculate species richness in each area and will use Simpson’s Index of Diversity to calculate biodiversity. Students will use random sampling methods to determine where to sample and quadrats to record quantitative measurements. The students will learn about how the meadows are managed in order to maximise biodiversity and diversity of habitats.

Succession

This is a full day session for A level students.

This session leads on from Session 1 Biodiversity, but can also be a standalone session. During this session students will learn the theory of succession and will then carry out an investigation into the biodiversity of plants found in different areas of the reserve which are at different stages of succession. Students will calculate species richness in each area and will use Simpson’s Index of Diversity to calculate biodiversity. Students will use random sampling methods to determine where to sample and quadrats to record quantitative measurements. They will use light meters to record the light levels in each area. The students will also learn about how the reserve is managed in order to maximise biodiversity and diversity of habitats.

Investigating Populations in Ecosystems

This is a full day session for A level students.

During the first part of the session students will begin to investigate plant populations in a meadow habitat. They will carry out an
investigation to compare the population size of meadow buttercups in two meadows which are grazed in different ways. They will use a random sampling method and quadrats to estimate the percentage cover of buttercups. Once they have mastered these fieldwork techniques they will investigate whether there is a correlation between a named species and the biotic and/or abiotic factors in the environment. There are a variety of different investigations they can choose between. They will use appropriate instrumentation to record quantitative measurements. For example, they will learn how to use a belt transect and may use data loggers, such as light meters or moisture meters.

A Level Sessions for OCR Biology B
(Advancing Biology)

Succession

This is a full day session for A level students.

During this session students will learn the theory of succession and will then carry out an investigation into the biodiversity of plants found in different areas of the reserve which are at different stages of succession. Students will calculate species richness in each area and will use Simpson’s Index of Diversity to calculate biodiversity. Students will use random sampling methods to determine where to sample and quadrats to record quantitative measurements. They will use light meters to record the light levels in each area. The students will also learn about how the reserve is managed in order to maximise biodiversity and diversity of habitats. There will also be opportunities to look at the adaptations of wind pollinated and insect pollinated flowers in the meadows.