To get teenagers and teachers to think differently about careers in horticulture, the RHS has piloted a Landscape Architecture project with a class of Year 8's. The outcomes have been impressive, with students developing skills in modelling and Google Sketch-Up alongside team working, leadership and presentation skills. Students and staff have gained insight into the work of a landscape architect by working on a real life project to re-design their own school grounds.
An area of the school grounds was identified for improvement. It was an area covered mainly with tarmac, a few borders and a scattering of benches, used primarily by students at break and lunchtimes. Students were asked to consider the issues with the area and, in groups, to develop realistic solutions to improve it.
Felicity Robinson, a local Landscape Architect, led the project school. Felicity was able to bring expertise into the classroom that was valued by students and staff and led on 5 of the 9 sessions. School support: The project took place in curriculum time, using 9 one hour Design and Technology (D&T) sessions over five weeks. The D&T teacher was present in all of the 9 lessons and led on 3 model making sessions. It was a real project.
Running the project
Students were put into groups of 5 or 6 and one student in each group was given the role of team leader. Students worked on their initial ideas, creating scale drawings and 3D models as well as a presentation board that summed up their proposals and gave an indication of the planting style they would like to incorporate.
This project showcased an engaging way for students to learn key D&T skills. Students were empowered, knowing that their views about school would be valued. Creative and realistic design solutions were produced by students who would themselves become end users for the design. Their creative ideas would form part of the brief for the re-design of the school grounds. Students developed teamworking, leadership and presentation skills throughout the project. Staff and students gained a much better understanding of landscape architecture and of the role of plants in the places we live.
How to run this project in your school
A scheme of work and lesson tasks will soon be available to download from our website. The RHS is working to establish links with landscape architects and garden designers across the UK who would be willing to give their time for free to support similar projects in schools. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested or would like to run a similar project in your school.