An opportunity to explore the themes and contents the Botanical garden of Padua offers visitors in a dynamic, interactive way.
Different workshops are available for specific ages and school levels. The workshops take place within the temperate greenhouse in the Garden of Biodiversity (Giardino di Biodiversità), last approximately 80 minutes and include, upon request, a brief guided visit of the Botanical garden.
Infant and primary schools
Feel the Plants
Botany experiences through the senses. Leaves of various plants are given to the children, divided into small groups. With the assistance of the workshop teacher, they discover the features of the leaves through the senses (excluding taste).
Guess who this belongs to
The children have to match various types of leaves to the plants from which they come. Through a series of iconographic tests and interactive games, they learn about the types of plants present in the different areas of the greenhouse, and the workshop teacher then passes round the leaves and the children match the sample with a photograph. A dynamic workshop characterised by considerable manipulation of the biological samples.
Second cycle, primary schools
Here, we concentrate on the mechanism that characterises the life of a plant, photosynthesis and the importance of chlorophyl. Through a series of simple experiments, we learn about the anatomy of plant species and the functions of their structure: starting from the roots, we test for absorption, passing then to the stem and learning about the vascular system, and so on to the leaves where we learn about the pigments characterising them. We will then discover the importance of the association between species and environment for the characterisation of the plant’s structure.
The climate and the characteristics of our planet’s biomes are changing. Everything is subject to man’s destructive actions. But individually, we can still do something to protect planet Earth, starting with an explanation of the cycle of materials and their “humanisation” with an entertaining game. We will understand why recycling is important, what atmospheric pollution means and what its effects are: greenhouse effect, hole in the ozone layer and acid rain.
A thousand worlds
Apart from its stem and leaves, a plant reveals many tiny creatures that survive or live in symbiosis with the plant, such as insects and parasites. A journey of discovery of the “thousand worlds”: using a magnifying glass and stereo microscope, we will observe the geometric structures, various colours, forms and features of these tiny living beings. The aim is to teach the children to note details and discover what is hidden behind a leaf.
Secondary school, first level
Understanding the role of plants as primary producers is fundamental for comprehending the importance they have within an ecosystem or food chain. We will therefore concentrate on the relationship between plant species and environment via a series of role-playing games and using interactive information forms, culminating in the observation of the fundamental structures of a plant under a microscope, including the phloem, the lignified cells, stomas and plant cells.
We will discover which living beings are associated with plants through symbiosis and associations. We will understand how important the protection of all biodiversity is and what threats it suffers. We will test the phenomena of acid rain, greenhouse effect, global warming and understand what we can individually do to adopt an ecologically sustainable lifestyle.
From seed to plant
We all know that “it takes a seed to make a tree”, but what happens at a biological level during the lifecycle of a plant? Armed with microscopes and other optical instruments, we will observe and handle biological specimens to understand better what happens at a cellular and tissue level during the ontogenetic cycle of a plant. Stating with the internal observation of a seed, we will then examine agricultural and natural techniques for its development. We will also look at subjects like pollination and its importance from an agricultural point of view.
Secondary schools, second level and adult groups
Groups will learn about the optical instruments used by botanists to determine plant species: stereo microscopes, biology microscopes and identification keys. With the support of herbaria and other plant samples, we will move on to the classification of species, defining them on a geographical level and reflecting on why these are to be found in a given area rather than another, after having examined the Linnaean rules of determination. Biological samples will be prepared using slides, tweezers, pipettes and many other fundamental instruments in the botanist’s work.
This is a workshop characterised by the study of the associations existing between living beings of various kingdoms and the importance of these “collaborations” for the equilibrium of the environment. This will help the participants understand the vastness of biodiversity and the importance of protecting it, especially in view of the threats it is currently undergoing.
Life in a drop of water
The water covering our planet contains forms of life that are often almost imperceptible to our eyes. Some of these live suspended in the water and are part of the plankton. We will concentrate most on the observation of plankton of plant origin, or phytoplankton. We will understand its importance for the equilibrium of a biological system.