7 ways geodesic domes inspire learning

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There can be no question that a diverse curriculum is now a must for schools.

And as outdoor learning boosts pupil engagement, social skills and wellbeing in 9 out of 10 cases1, it’s no wonder this area is high on the agenda among education leaders.

From small PODs to state-of-the-art architectural buildings – and everything in between – geodesic domes provide the complete outdoor classroom for your school.

In this article, we explore the seven ways your outdoor learning programme will be enhanced through Solardome® outdoor classrooms.

Making more of your grounds

Sanctuary dome at Springhead Primary SchoolWhy have huts when you can have a dome?

Let’s be honest, kids are now looking for more than just temporary structures. We all remember those cabins at the edge of the school grounds with creaky flooring and wobbly desks that were once used in flagship buildings!

Solardome® outdoor classrooms are not only the modern alternative to maximise those underused spaces, but are worthy of being a focal point at your school as they evoke excitement and wonder from the minute the children walk through the gates. Check out our education case studies to see how we’ve revitalised school fields, courtyards and rooftops in the UK and abroad.

Being at one with nature

As well as the academic benefits to your school, outdoor learning brings a whole new appreciation of nature.

Pupils in PRO dome at The Arbor School DubaiWhen lessons are held outside, pupils can revel in the natural world, while other structures – although not as attuned with the outdoors – at least provide protection from the elements, but, with geodesic domes, you can have both.

Solardome® outdoor classrooms are made with clear toughened glass, allowing for 360-degree views of the natural environment, while the ambience created by the angles and light reflections might leave the kids wanting to stay there all day!

And when it rains, your class can relax to the sounds of the raindrops while staying safe and dry.

Nature is not only calming and plentiful but, if exposed to it from an early age, the long-term benefits can be immense – not to mention the platform it provides to excel in the STEM subjects.

Enrichment through horticulture

Why not bring nature inside too?

Horticultural initiatives are among the most popular uses for glass geodesic domes as they present an accessible way for children to develop confidence and skills in the natural world.

BBC Gardener Chris Collins inside dome with pupilsThe domes enable practical, hands-on sessions, in which students can have a break from computer screens and the pressures of the curriculum. Meanwhile, as the domes are designed for growing, with optimal solar gain and efficient ventilation, their flower beds and tropical forests will soon be flourishing!

Solardome® glasshouses have been endorsed by leading horticulturists, including Alan Titchmarsh in ITV’s Love Your Garden, while BBC Gardener Chris Collins (pictured) called them ‘mini rainforests’ during a visit to Endeavour Primary School’s Solardome® Retreat.

Maximal interactivity

As well as their strength and striking appearance, the distinctive shape of geodesic domes also promotes an enriched and interactive classroom.

Circle time inside a SolardomeThe spherical nature of Solardome® glasshouses take circle time to a whole new level. With these open plan, versatile spaces that are ready-made for fulfilling sessions, the days of lifting chairs and shifting tables before a lesson are a thing of the past!

We regularly receive feedback from customers saying how stimulating the domes are for their pupils, often citing class participation as the main benefit. This is exemplified by Seal Primary Academy in Sussex, whose teachers soon reported “how much more receptive and engaged the children are inside the domes.” To maximise their investment, the team at Seal also use their dome for afterschool clubs and community meetings, while Springhead Primary School have made their Solardome® Sanctuary into their own ‘Shakespearian globe’ for drama lessons, as well as a breakaway study space.

Improved mental health and wellbeing

According to Schools Week, 1 in 8 school children has a mental health disorder2, so finding ways to combat this trend has to be high priority.

Solardome® geodesic domes bring all the key elements together for enhanced wellbeing, including:

  • A structure that promotes a calming atmosphere.
  • An inspirational and stimulating space to help children focus.
  • A safe, enclosed space, which can also be used for bubble groups, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kids enjoying their new Solardome

From playtime groups to hands-on art classes, outdoor learning sessions can go a long way to boosting morale at your school.

A worthy reward

And finally, we all need a reward for our hard work from time to time – not least the school children!

Teachers are always looking for ways to encourage young people – and sometimes gold stars just don’t cut it! As we’ve outlined in this article, from the versatility of the space for fun sessions to their calming nature, Solardome® glasshouses provide the perfect environment to motivate and inspire the next generation.

For even more ideas for your school, why not check out our outdoor learning support resources.

[1] Natural Connections Project funded by Defra, Natural England and Historic England, and delivered by Plymouth University (2016). Transforming Outdoor Learning in Schools: Lessons from the Natural Connections Project (p. 8). (Full report)

[2] Whittaker, F, Schools Week (2016). NHS: 1 in 8 pupils has a mental health disorder (View article)

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