Our hydro scheme provides learning opportunities across different disciplines. These can be formal and linked to the curriculum, or ad hoc and tailored to your specific needs.
Our education volunteers have developed resources in four core areas. We can offer interactive talks on site, support for class lessons and school assemblies, and enrichment materials. But we’re happy to explore other areas with you and see if we can help bring them to life. See us as an ever-evolving, open and welcoming local resource!
Could you develop more materials or give talks to young people? Then why not join our education volunteer team?
Our core areas of learning and awareness raising
Renewable energy and cutting energy use. We can talk about our hydro scheme, which is a brilliant practical example of generating renewable electricity. But not everyone can build a hydro scheme. We can explain how cutting energy use is also really important, and something that everyone can do.
Climate heating. Renewable energy and cutting energy use help tackle climate heating. We can explain why this is. We can also show how the world is heating up, using the ‘climate stripes’ on our turbine house.
Water and wildlife. Reading Hydro uses the power of the river Thames to generate electricity. But the Thames has other uses too, including for wildlife. We can explain how Reading Hydro has made it easier for fish and eels to move up the river.
Community action. All of us, including children, can feel powerless in the face of the climate crisis. Reading Hydro shows how people working together have made a difference.
We can support your trip with interactive talks
We’re happy to support school, FE and youth group trips to the hydro scheme by giving short, interactive talks on site.
We can currently give talks around the topics listed below. The level can be tailored to KS1, KS2 or KS3, and the length to between 5 and 20 minutes. We’d normally give two or three talks for a trip lasting between half and one hour. We ask the kids a lot of questions and build the talk on these. We also encourage them to ask us questions (and often can’t stop them!)
Each talk is given near one of our information boards so you can use that as an extra resource. There is plenty to look at independently around the river too.
Talk 1: Hydropower We talk about electricity and what the kids use it for; how the hydro scheme works; how much electricity it makes, relating that to what a typical home uses; where the electricity goes; what are the benefits and drawbacks of hydroelectricity compared with other types of renewables.
Talk 2: Climate heating and the climate stripes. We use information board 3 to explain where our electricity currently comes from, and why that produces carbon dioxide. We talk about why that leads to climate heating, why that’s a problem, and why renewable energy helps. We show the climate stripes on the turbine house and ask whether the kids have seen them anywhere else (in Reading there’s a good chance they have, because the climate stripes are on buses and football kit). We discuss what the climate stripes show and what colour they would expect to come next
Talk 3: The fish pass. We talk about the fish and eels in the River Thames and ask why they sometimes need to get up the river. That leads to explaining why Reading Hydro was asked to build a fish pass and how that was done. We show the two different sections of the fish pass and explain how it helps fish and eels.
A year 5 class from a local primary school made an afternoon trip to the hydro site. On the way they walked over Caversham Lock to see how it works. Reading Hydro volunteers gave interactive talks on hydropower and the fish pass and provided a worksheet for students to fill in afterwards. The teacher also used the trip as an inspiration for writing a persuasive letter about taking action on climate change.
After the trip, Emielia commented: “I think Reading Hydro is a really good place to be, not just because it makes electricity but also it can make you feel calm and relaxed because of the whooshing of the water. You can also learn a lot about how it all works.”
We can support your class lesson or assembly in person or virtually
If you’d like to use ideas from Reading Hydro in your teaching or an assembly, have a look at our virtual tour and the live data on our website to find out more. We may be able to support you with presentation materials or worksheets. Also check the links to other free resources at the end of this section, there are some great materials available.
If you are local, a volunteer could come and give a talk to a class or an assembly. We can also give online presentations to a class or a smaller group and answer questions.
Reading Hydro volunteers took a year 6 lesson at a local school’s Eco day, and talked about climate heating, renewable energy, and how our hydro scheme works. We provided worksheets on the climate stripes and did calculations about electricity. We were very impressed with the knowledge, thoughtfulness and enthusiasm of the students and couldn’t stop the questions coming!
On another occasion, we had an online meeting with the Green council of a secondary school, gave an overview of how Reading Hydro was built, and answered their brilliant questions.
If you’re interested in support for your teaching or an assembly, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, the name of your school/college, the age range of the students and what you would like from Reading Hydro.
We can provide resources to enhance your visit or support home learning
We’re developing some enrichment resources to support curriculum topics including STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics), Geography, History, Creative arts, Global citizenship and more. These include factsheets and activity worksheets.
Get in touch with us at email@example.com if you’d like to explore linking a particular topic with the Reading Hydro scheme. A lot of this is at an early stage – we’d welcome your help to take some of it further! If you are interested, think about becoming a volunteer.
Free and downloadable supporting resources
Other organisations have produced some great resources that could be built into the curriculum, enrichment and home learning. Here are some that we like.
Resources about renewable energy and climate heating
- These great educational resources for KS2 and KS3 were developed by West Oxford Community Renewables (WOCoRe) around Osney Lock Hydro (but with many aspects relevant to Reading Hydro’s scheme)
- Brilliant sustainability and renewable energy resources for parents and teachers from the Westmill Sustainable Energy Trust
- A trip and visit to Greenpark, Ecotricity’s Wind turbine
- The Reading Climate Action Networks Schools pages where you can sign up to be on their mailing list and be kept up-to-date with new initiatives. You can also borrow Renewable Energy kits from them (wouldn’t it be great to have a Hydro One !)
- Reading Schools Model Climate Conference run by the Inter Climate Network
- Linking with Eco-Schools Awards and Topics (particularly Energy, Water and Global citizenship) and the Let’s Go Zero national campaign to support schools working together to go zero carbon.
Resources about other environmental issues, particularly those local to Reading
- Outdoor learning and activities from local Nature Nurture CIC, connecting people with the parks, woodlands and waterways on their doorsteps
- This beautiful Teaching Pack from The Harmony Project and The Resurgence Trust for exploring local rivers (aimed at lower KS2)
- Wild About Reading and WaterFest
- Looking after our green and blue spaces with Keep Caversham Tidy, Caversham Globe, CADRA, Connect Reading CIC
- Going Plastic Free – with Plastic Free Schools and Plastic Free Caversham (we hate to see plastic floating down our rivers)
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about talks and support to learning, or if you’d like to volunteer with the Reading Hydro education team!