Axe Valley Academy

ASPIRE Eden Project Residential

On Thursday 11th February ASPIRE General and ASPIRE ARTS students in year 7, 8 and 9 took part in a two day residential at the Eden Project in Cornwall.  We arrived to some welcome sunshine on a chilly morning and met with Bran Howell who we would be working with during the two day challenge.  Students were split into groups and Bran introduced ‘The Choccy Challenge’.  Our first visit was to the Tropical Biome where we learnt about the history and culture linked with chocolate and how it is produced.  In the classroom students mapped out a visual story from bean to bar of the production process and began work on their challenge.  Their task was to name their group, produce a logo, an interesting sculpture for the exhibit, a new product to sell in the shop and an advertising campaign before finally on day two taking part in a ‘dragon’s den’ interview to see which team were the most successful.  All their ideas had to embrace the Eden ethos and how the production of chocolate affects the sustainability triangle – Profit – People – Planet.  Of course they needed to sample the product so lots of free chocolate was on offer during the day.

The excellent evening meal was followed by our Secret Biomes event, members of the public are not allowed access to the biomes at night but as a school group we were given the privilege of a two hour visit to the tropical biome.  Students played a bat/moth game based on echo location, a touch/taste/feel/smell task looking at the food and flowers that grow in rain forests.  A charcoal drawing challenge and a silent blindfold ‘trust’ game with in partners.  The last event started with a call and response song as the group walked to the top of the biome and set about producing a fantastic music recital in their groups that sounded out above the trees. 

Overnight students stayed in the ‘snoozeboxes’ run by the YHA at the Eden Project site, an excellent facility that added to the fun of the residential.  A trip in the land train for a full cooked breakfast started day two, along with a loud rendition of Happy Birthday to Ruby.  Back in the classroom students researched profit/loss and sustainability with a visit to the Eden shop to look at locally sources products.  The final part of the challenge meant that each group had to sell their product to a panel of Eden experts.  The students did an amazing job and the panel of judges were extremely impressed with the talent showcased as each team showed their ideas.  It was extremely close with only a point in it but congratulations and chocolate prizes went to ‘Team Bean’, Lauren Wiltshire, Enjiely Durias, Alexandra Wilson-Newman, Gemma Hoare, Ruby Tuckley and Emily Slade.

A display of the beautiful work produced and photographs from the event will be on display in the school reception area this term so please come and have a look.  I would like to say a huge thank you to Mr Perks and Ms McDonagh for their help on the trip.  Also, congratulations to the students for their hard work, enthusiasm and excellent ideas for their challenges.

Mrs L Slade – ASPIRE Co-ordinator