Education at Clara Visitor Centre
Primary School Visits
National Parks and Wildlife Service Education Centres aim to raise awareness of the natural world and the importance of conserving and protecting our biodiversity. Clara Bog Visitor Centre offers Primary Schools FREE educational visits to the NPWS Nature Reserve of Clara Bog.
A day at Clara Bog Boardwalk and Centre focuses on the many aspects of the Social Environmental Scientific Education subjects of Science, Geography and History for students in a fun, interactive and hands-on manner. This is also an ideal opportunity for schools participating in Green-schools and Discovery Primary Science and Maths Award of Excellence. We are a Discovery Primary Science and Maths Centre and provide investigative workshops for Primary School pupils.
Clara Bog Visitor Centre and Boardwalk provides free educational visits to the National Parks and Wildlife Service Nature Reserve of Clara Bog. We are located in Clara, Co. Offaly in the heart of the Midlands. The centre is 10 minutes drive from Exit 6 of the M6 motorway or 15 minutes drive from Tullamore and Athlone. We are a 5 minute walk from the train station. The centre is co-located with Clara Library on the R436 Ballycumber/Ferbane Road. Opposite to the centre is Clara Swimming Pool and newly built Clara Playground.
A typical primary school programme day includes...
|Pre-visit preparation:||Teachers are recommended to cover some aspects of History, Geography & Science SESE relating to the bog. Worksheets are available to download below.|
|10.30 am – 11.30 am Centre visit:
||Skills and Concepts of Geography SESE: A sense of place of space & maps, globes and geographical skills. This is done by using display diagrams, photographs and maps to explain where Clara Bog is situated, other geographical features and the formation of a raised bog. The children complete a team challenge at the Centre that encouarges their natural sense of exploration. The exhibits are designed to facilitate interaction, discovery and learning while having fun.|
|Geography SESE Strands: Human environments; Natural environments; Environmental awareness and care|
|Skills and Concepts of History SESE: Working as an historian: Time and chronology, change and continuity, using evidence, empathy. This is done by discussing how long ago Clara bog formed, the changes over time in the bog – from ancient trackways to bog bodies, discussing archaeological evidence and observing how the landscape has changed. Recent changes in how humans interact with the bogs will form a very important basis for our outdoor investigations|
|History SESE Strands: Local studies; Story; Early People and ancient societies; Life, society, work, and culture in the past; Continuity and change over time.|
|11.30 am||BREAK and depart for Clara Bog Boardwalk|
|12.00 – 13.30 pm
||Clara Bog Boardwalk|
Geographical & Scientific skills developed in the field:
|Science SESE Strands: Living Things; Energy and Forces; Materials; Environmental Awareness and Care|
|13.30 pm||Depart bog for lunch or return to school|
Primary School Downloads:
Secondary School Visit
To reflect the ecology module of Leaving Certificate biology, students partake in a field study of a raised bog habitat. This is a day-long activity running from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm. The group meet at the Centre where the day begins with a Powerpoint presentation to recap on ecological principles and field study methods. After the presentation the group will travel to Clara Bog and Boardwalk.
Students are put into groups and each group is provided with the necessary equipment to complete their ecosystem survey. A Qualitative Survey to identify the animals present will be conducted with supervision from teachers and education officers. The animals can be identified on the spot by experience and common knowledge of the animal. Alternatively identification books can be used together with identification keys. We will also examine the biotic factors of these animals.
Similarly, students will complete another Qualitative Survey to identify the plants present. Plants can be identified on the spot by experience and common knowledge of the plant. Identification books together with identification keys can also be used. We will also examine the biotic factors of these plants. We will use the field method of a LINE TRANSECT to identify 5 plants.
As well as employing Qualitative Survey methods we will also include Quantitative methods estimate the number of plants present and compare these results to see the possible benefits and weaknesses of both. Quantitaive methods will include Percentage Frequency and Percentage Cover, using frame and grid quadrats.
We will also measure any 3 abiotic factors relevant to the area of study: pH, Air temperature, Ground temperature, Light intensity, Air current, Mineral content, Percentage air in soil, Percentage water in soil, Percentage humus, Degree of exposure, Slope.
Once the field work has been completed the groups will return to the Centre to discuss and analyse their findings. Students are also provided with follow-up worksheets to complete on their return to school. Worksheet is available to download.