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Amgueddfa Cymru helps school scientists plant bulbs for climate change

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales has been helping to tackle child poverty in Wales by delivering science education through an innovative distance learning project in disadvantaged areas in Wales and UK wide.

6,500 school scientists across England and Wales and Scotland have been growing flowers at their schools over the past few months as part of the Spring Bulbs for Schools project, an innovative outreach project that provides schools with the opportunity to investigate climate change outside the classroom.Since 2005, this project, which has been part funded by the Edina Trust, has provided bulbs, equipment and on-going support for pupils to keep weather and flowering records as part of a long-term study looking at the effects of temperature on spring bulbs.

Pupils have been growing crocuses and ‘Tenby daffodils’ and sending weather conditions and flower recording data to National Museum Cardiff since October as part of ‘Spring Bulbs for Schools’. In October, pupils planted their bulbs and followed simple methodology to ensure a fair test. Before planting, they learned how to care for bulbs and completed adoption certificates as a promise to care for their bulbs.

The project success has grown and grown, each year around 4,000 pupils take part, some from inner city schools others in isolated rural areas. All the data is gathered through the projects website where pupils can compare data and graphs to improve science and numeracy skills.

Catalena Angele, Spring Bulbs Co-ordinator for Amgueddfa Cymru, said,

“The project is an example of a great museum outreach programme.  Many of the participating schools are in rural or isolated areas where accessing museums and museum activities would otherwise be unlikely or not possible.

“Amgueddfa Cymru is committed to tackling child poverty and this project supports the Welsh Government’s strategy by actively seeking to engage with schools which are from high poverty areas.

“We now have eight years of weather and flowering data and we are starting to look at the data set to see what scientific and statistical conclusions can be drawn.

“The children are growing a variety of daffodil called Narcissus pseudonarcissus subspecies obvallaris, also known as the Tenby Daffodil. The Tenby Daffodil is golden yellow and grows wild in south-west Wales. The bulbs for the project come from Springfields Fresh Produce who are based at Manorbier near Tenby and maintain the only commercial stock of N.p. obvallaris in the area where the species is indigenous.”

“I visited Oakfield Primary School in St Mellons near Cardiff recently and the pupils were incredibly enthusiastic about the project and very excited about their plants. Their teacher Mr Ruck had linked the project to many different areas of their syllabus and the children had lots of fantastic questions which showed that they were thinking deeply about their plants, the weather and global climate change.”

For more information go to Bulb-blog: http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/1714/

Date: 22 April 2013
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