The Dragon LNG Darwin Experience – Primary School Programme

The Darwin Centre is made up of individuals with a science background aiming to engage, enthuse and inspire the young people of Pembrokeshire in STEM subjects through immersive hands on experiences. Our award winning education project The Dragon LNG Darwin Experience is free to access for all Pembrokeshire Schools. All field trips and workshops are aligned with the new curriculum for Wales and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We work closely with other Pembrokeshire based organisations such as Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools to provide the best experiences for your pupils. Our most popular events for primary pupils are listed below.

PS3 Field Trips

A field trip to a local beach on the Pembrokeshire Coast. Pupils will be introduced to local marine life in and around the rockpools. Using hand nets pupils will explore the habitat and discover a wide diversity of life ranging from bootlace worms to velvet swimming crabs. The Darwin team will share fascinating facts about the organisms including how they live, grow, reproduce and compete for survival. The Plankton & Microscopes classroom-based workshop is the ideal follow up session for this fieldtrip.
Pupils will become a Marine Biologist for the day and take part in a range of field work techniques used by real working scientists. On a local beach, pupils will help with seine netting, have a go at push netting and get stuck into rock pooling. Using these three sampling / collection methods they will see a huge diversity of species including flat fish, prawns, brittle stars and even eels. The Darwin team will share fascinating facts about the organisms including how they live, grow, reproduce and, compete for survival. Different careers and career routes within the marine biology / fishing sectors will also be touched upon. The Plankton & Microscopes classroom-based workshop is the ideal follow up session for this fieldtrip.
Take positive steps towards becoming an ethically informed citizen and help tackle the planets plastic problem! On a local beach, pupils will take part in a beach clean clearing up macro and micro plastic pollution. Pupils will delve into the cause of tides, waves and ocean currents, linking this to how the plastic ended up on the beach. Are there any land-based sources of the plastic? What are the negative impacts on wildlife and, how can we minimise/ prevent the plastic problem? Whilst examining the strandline for flotsam and jetsam pupils will look for natural treasures such as sea wash balls and mermaid’s purses. Following the field trip the pupils will take part in a classroom-based workshop to gain a deeper understanding of the plastic problem and how our choice about plastic use can have positive and negative impacts on the environment.

Pupils will be taken to Colby Woodland Gardens to explore and contrast two different freshwater habitats – a river and a pond. Exploring the diversity of life in both habitats, pupils will use large kick sampling / pond dipping nets to collect different animals. They will identify the species found using branching keys and picture identification guides. Data collected can determine how healthy the river system is by calculating the biotic index. The Darwin team will support the pupils in understanding how the different animals live, grow, reproduce and compete for survival. River sampling activities can be followed by our rivers and pollution classroom workshop.

If your school has a pond or stream we can deliver this field trip on the school grounds. Pond dipping or river sampling could also be paired with our minibeast field trip to look at the differences between terrestrial and aquatic organisms!

We will explore the amazing world of terrestrial invertebrates during this session, from molluscs to myriapods. Pupils will use several sampling methods including sweep netting and tree beating to collect and identify different species of minibeasts. They will search through different habitats from damp dark places to trees in well lit places. Pupils will consider the importance of mini beasts, threats to their survival and what we can do to help them. This can be paired with our pond dipping and/or river sampling sessions to consider the differences between terrestrial and aquatic species and habitats.
Using the Pembrokeshire coastline as a case study the pupils will meet with local Geologist Sid Howells who will show them clues in the landscape relating to climate change. From lime kilns to an ancient beach, pupils will be presented with evidence of ice ages and glaciation, as well as what sea levels were like 125,000 years ago. Did we have mammoths in Pembrokeshire? How have humans and natural process impacted the landscape?

PS3 Workshops

An introduction into the fascinating world of Plankton – the drifters of the ocean. What is the difference between phytoplankton and zooplankton? Why is it essential to ocean health? From Blue whales to the megamouth shark we will explore the importance of these amazing wanderers of the ocean. Pupils will examine and identify local zooplankton samples using stereomicroscopes, before trying their hand at scientific drawing. This workshop is an ideal follow up from the rock pooling fieldtrip, it can be adapted to tie in with marine plastic pollution, including microplastics and bioaccumulation or it can be delivered as a standalone event.
Following on from their river sampling field trip, the class will broaden their understanding of species life cycles and adaptations. Using data collected during the field trip, pupils will calculate the health of the river using a biotic index and learn about types and sources of water pollutants in local rivers. This knowledge will then be applied in a wider context by looking at rivers of the world and the communities that rely on them. What problems are affecting rivers worldwide? From water borne diseases to water shortages pupils will learn about the importance and threats to freshwater habitats both locally and worldwide.
An introduction to Ocean Acidification – the evil twin of Climate Change! As the ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere the ocean is becoming more acidic but what exactly does this mean and how is it impacting marine life? Is this a new phenomenon or has it happened previously? Ocean Acidification is an important example of how human actions are having negative impacts on living things. Pupils will become marine scientists and investigate how acid effects sea shells. Using callipers and a top pan balance they will take before and after measurements of the shells used in their investigation. This session helps to develop scientific inquiry skills including testing a hypothesis, forming conclusions and evaluating. We will need two half days to complete the investigation with the class.
A journey to the Arctic and Antarctic, exploring the differences between climate, habitats and species. How are humans impacting these fragile places? What would happen if all the ice melted? Pupils will extend their knowledge of the impacts of climate change by creating a model to demonstrate how melting sea ice and ice sheets effects sea level rise.
Dive into the depths of the ocean to explore the weird and wonderful animals that inhabit the twilight and midnight zones, venturing into the world of bioluminescence and giant squid. How do animals communicate or find prey in the depths of the ocean trenches? What recent discoveries have scientists made? This workshop will inspire curiosity about science, the natural world and how animals have unique adaptations for survival. The workshop includes a demo of chemiluminescence and fluorescence with the option of completing a squid dissection (or a simple examination of their external and internal characteristics), giving pupils an opportunity to practice science skills that will support future progression steps in secondary school and beyond.
Explore the fascinating world of minibeasts. After an introduction to the different minibeasts you will join the Darwin team on a minibeast hunt and learn about the diversity of invertebrates within your school grounds. Pupils will have a go at sweep netting, tree beating and hand collection – what different species will they find? Adaptations, life cycles and their importance to our Planet will be discussed and pupils can have a closer look at species features under our stereomicroscopes – from eyeballs to hairy insect legs.
Meet Dr Mark Smith, a local Nuclear Physicist who has a passion for astrophysics. Join him on a journey through our solar system and beyond! From Jupiter to Black holes, pupils will broaden and deepen their knowledge and appreciation of our place in the Universe. This engaging talk covers our star, the 8 planets in our solar system as well as dwarf planets and moons. Working in groups pupils will compete in a cosmic pub quiz and build a model of our solar system, charting the current position of the planets.
Explore the digital world of computer coding with Steve Smith! Pupils will work through a range of tasks aimed at improving their digital competency and improve understanding of algorithms. Using MakeyMakey kits and Scratch pupils will test the properties of a range of materials to determine whether they are conductors or insulators. The session will develop pupils musical and design skills as they will create a graphite drawing that they will code to play a song. This workshop can be developed further through the use of Microbits.

If you need some inspiration for a certain element of the Science & Technology area of learning experience please get in touch. Given enough notice we can design something bespoke to address your needs. We also have a range of workshops and field trips that change seasonally, these events are advertised on our social media platforms at the start of each term. For more information or to book, contact us by emailing: