Secondary Schools

Learning outside the classroom

Our Solardome® geodesic domes at secondary school level have a variety of innovative uses for learning outside the classroom. Schools have used them for science and engineering clubs, as outdoor classrooms in which to practically teach about the sciences, mathematics and technology, and even as a gallery for displaying student art.

Practical and investigative work outside the classroom is one of the most effective ways to extend and diversify the range of science teaching methods in secondary education.

Our domes enable teachers to get outside of the classroom but still have an excellent teaching environment, protected from the elements, where imaginations and practical skills can develop.

Our experience working with schools mean that we understand that budgets can be tight. However, there is a range of school funding opportunities to help support projects and initiatives. These can be general grants or specific to outdoor learning or science and maths for example, and could include the funding or part funding of a Solardome® geodesic dom

Expanding your school

As well as our standard SOLARDOME® growing schools glasshouse range of outdoor classrooms, our SOLARDOME® PRO architectural system, for fully habitable dome buildings from 7.2m – 25m. The large scale fully bespoke domes are perfect for freestanding outdoor classrooms, cafeterias and studios and can be designed to meet your schools exact requirements.

Dome uses for Secondary Schools

Horticulture

Horticulture, rainforest eco-domeAll of our domes can accommodate palm trees as they are taller than conventional glasshouses. They have excellent ventilation and good air circulation. Our SOLARDOME® Vega regularly hosts banana plants and smaller trees like citrus fruits can be positioned around the outer edge of the domes.

The dome can be used for horticulture, biology and science classes, enabling practical and theoretical classes to be held in the same place.

Find out more about horticulture on the national curriculum in our outdoor learning pages.

Science & Engineering

Practical and investigative work outside the classroom is one of the most effective ways to extend and diversify the range of science teaching methods in secondary education.

Classes can carry out experiments on rates of photosynthesis or investigate the different conditions favoured by different plants. They could also investigate the unusual acoustics in the centre of the dome.

Environmental Studies

The UK Government wants every school to be sustainable by 2020. This means embedding sustainable development into all areas of school life.

Sustainability topics that can be taught by using our dome:

Waste and recycling
Composting is recycling: the nutrients in organic waste are processed and returned to the soil to help more plants to grow. This compost can then be used on the produce in the dome to help it grow healthy and strong.

The majority of the dome is made from aluminium and glass which can be recycled at the end of its long life. Why not encourage pupils to investigate other materials used for experiments in the dome and see whether they can be recycled?

Sustainable growing techniques
Why not incorporate an aquaponic growing system – a sustainable food production system that combines aquaculture and hydroponics? You grow fish and plants together in one integrated, soilless system. The fish waste provides a food source for plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in.

Energy
Teaching about how to use green electricity efficiently aids pupils’ understanding about sustainability, recycling and pollution. Why not design and create a renewable energy watering system, using wind turbines and solar power, to power a water pump and irrigation system inside the dome?

Pupils can also investigate why the dome is the most efficient shape for retaining heat and growing plants.

Healthy living

Secondary schools growing in the domeUsing a Solardome® glasshouse as an outdoor classroom for practical learning about nutrition will instil in children a real sense of achievement, especially when they see food on their plates that they have grown themselves.

Design Technology

Design technology classes can get involved in designing and constructing raised beds in the dome for the plants to grow in. Or they could design and build seating or storage areas to go in the dome. Competitions could be held for the most original designs and finished products.

This also creates a sense of achievement as their handiwork is on display in the dome for future classes to admire.

Food Technology

Using a Solardome® glasshouse for growing salads, herbs and vegetables for the school canteen is an ideal way to help students understand where food comes from. It is also an ideal time to teach the benefits of healthy eating, nutrition and how to pursue a sustainable future.

 

Mathematics

Secondary schools maths in the domeSolardome® geodesic domes are used as an interesting learning environment for studying mathematics. The dome helps develop an interest in geometry using the geodesic symmetry of the structure. It also encourages investigation of Fibonacci numbers and examining why they appear in various “family trees” and patterns of spirals found in various leaves, petals and seeds.

Our Solardome® geodesic domes in secondary schools


Upton Hall School, Upton, Wirral solardome eco garden

Upton Hall School FCJ

A desire to deliver an outstanding level of science teaching in a stimulating educational environment led Upton Hall School to apply for a grant from The Wolfson Foundation.
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SOLARDOME Capella - additional school space - Kimberley Comprehensive School, Nottingham

The Kimberley School

The Kimberley School scooped first and runner-up positions in the Quorn Brighter Future Memory Challenge. Their prize – an innovative Solardome glasshouse - now provides much needed additional space.
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SOLARDOME Sirius at West Bridgford School

West Bridgford School

We caught up with Head of Science Dr Alastair Stutt to find out more about the thinking behind the dome, as well as the new opportunities it gives teachers and learners.
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