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Workshops and Experiences (12-16 years)


Since the beginning of time, human beings have known how to adapt to the place they live in. There have always been big differences in their way of life and their type of dwelling depending on the part of the planet they inhabit.

 Men and women have developed their ingenuity and ability to maximise the use of both the resources they have available to them, as well as those provided by mother nature.


Up until a little more than a century ago, it was necessary for the houses of our ancestors to take into account important considerations in order to achieve this. For example:

Orientation, essential for harnessing maximum sunlight, preventing the cold and the rain, and using the heat from the sun.

The Materials used to build them, making use of natural materials such as stone, adobe, straw, hides or ice.

The shape of houses, which has produced vaulted spaces like igloos or caves, and triangular structures like Native American tepees.


And although the arrival of the 21st century has brought with it the discovery and rediscovery of new building materials, as well as the appearance of important technological advances in energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermic, etc., we still have along way to go to when it comes to buildings that respect the environment; and there are very few buildings that are constructed taking this into account.

There are some small things that we can do to make our home nicer and more compatible with our surroundings. As an example, we are going to make a vertical garden, or green wall, that can be mounted either on the inside or outside of a house, and which, as well as helping to reduce the temperature of a space and increase humidity, gives a nice sense of well-being. If, on top of that you like gardening, even better.

Have a go at making and tending your own green wall!


  • Palé1 wooden pallet
  • A hammer and nails or               an electric staple gun Grapadora
  • 1 large sheet of thick          plasticPlástico
  • Soiltierra
  • PlantsPlantas
  • Paint (optional)

A little bit of history: Paris, 1986

Jardín verticalInside Patrick Blanc’s house Blanc

This new tendency of urban landscape gardening dates back to the end of the last century in Paris. The French botanist, Patrick Blanc, was the first person to really define them when he exhibited a series of vertical landscaped structures at the "Cité des Sciences" exhibition in Paris in 1986.

Blanc has designed a closed-circuit irrigation system which recirculates water and nutrients. He has also promoted the use of local vegetation, which is best adapted to each particular climate.

As well as the technical development of these structures, Blanc has created hundreds of beautiful garden walls on buildings and walls.


Let’s get started!Experimento

Take a wooden pallet and nail or staple the sheet of plastic to the open part of it, as shown in the photos.

Keep going!

Only nail or staple three of the sides of the pallet and leave one open. This will allow you to pour most of the soil into your garden and to water it.  

We’re nearly there!

Fill the pallet with soil and lay it on the ground. Place the plants in the gaps between the slats in rows next to each other.

One more step!

Finally, turn it upright and water the plants through the top.

That’s it!

Look for a place where your garden will look good with plenty of light and a suitable temperature.


And… show off your green wall!



  • Botanic garden Find out about botany by putting in a variety of different plants and creating different types of gardens.
  • Urban vegetable garden Why not have your own vegetable garden at home?
  • Herb garden Make lovely dishes using your own freshly-picked parsley, mint, oregano, etc. Delicious!  

"A simple technique ": Collecting water

 Reuse a plastic bottle to collect rainwater to water your green wall. Find a large plastic bottle and cut off the base. Use the part you have cut off as a glass on your windowsill and put the rest of the bottle into it upside down. When it rains you will have water to water your garden with.


Do you want to see how this experiment is done?






 They rehabilitate urban spaces and create corridors of vegetation that cover entire buildings. The thick layer of plants provides exterior insulation against noise and extreme temperatures in both winter and summer.

They contribute towards the fight against climate change. It is worth remembering that buildings and other urban structures are responsible for 25% of total greenhouse gas emissions.


                                                                                                                               Green Wall in the "Plaza Pericón" in Málaga


Architecture and vegetation

 have gone hand in hand throughout history. The most ancient reference to green roofs dates back to the patios and vegetable gardens in Egypt and Persia around 2,600 BC.



 Back in the 6th century BC the criteria of savings and efficiency were al readybeing followed in  the ancient Hanging Gardens of Babylon;



Vikingos   The Vikings lived in bioclimatic houses in the 6th century of our era. They covered the roofs of their buildings with the grass from their pastures, which meant that the houses blended into the landscape and the temperature was maintained inside during periods of heavy snowfall, and that high temperatures were regulated in the summer.


The most modern group of buildings that have recovered the use of this type of garden is the Rockfeller Center, by Ralph Hancok, in New York.

Rockefeller Center

Today, this type of urban landscaping the exterior of buildings and shopping centres with colour and exoticism, turning our world around and at the same time forming part of our environment. There are many different types of gardens in terms of size and colour on all sorts of facades. Their value does not lie only in the aesthetics, but they also work as natural environmental regulating systems. Since they were first conceived, vertical gardens have improved and are now constructed in modules to make it easier to put them up and to replace materials and plants. The plants take root between two sheets of fibrous material which is fixed to the wall, and water and nutrients are supplied from above by means of an automatic irrigation system. A network of tubes allows the necessary water to drip out, while the surplus is collected at the bottom to be reused.


The composition of a green roof

First or irrigation layer. The plants are placed here and vegetable compost is generally used as it is lighter. There is a lower layer which prevents rooting.

Second or drainage layer. This maintains the surplus water for a time so that it can evaporate through the action of the sun. The rest of the water leaks out through small holes, falls down the slope of the roof and is evacuated through tubes.

Underneath the drainage layer, there are several layers that protect the roof from the damp and steam.


 Tejado verde

Interesting Websites

Top ten natural building materials

Guide for Growing Organic Produce

Safeguarding the natural world


Look after and protect your garden

Take care of your farm 

Puzzles on line

 Reconstruct your favorite flower.


Make your own water purifier!

Access to water and sanitation is one of the major challenges we face in the 21st century. Around four million people, most of them children, die of water-borne diseases every year, as 80% of illnesses in developing countries are related to the water supply.

In recent decades a lot of work has been carried out towards giving everyone access to this resource. Nevertheless, about 10% of the world’s population still does not have a ready supply of drinking water. This means they have to drink dirty water which transmits serious diseases such as cholera, hepatitis A, parasitic diseases caused by amoeba or tapeworms, etc.

One of the solutions lies in quality water filtration systems which provide these people with safe drinking water. There are some ingenious systems in existence that can help us purify rainwater or water from puddles using everyday items and which hardly cost anything at all.

Do you want to have a go at making your own homemade water filter?

Pass the water through this filter and then boil it for a while; it will kill almost all pathogens (bacteria and viruses) that may exist in it.


  • botella1 transparent plastic bottle
  • 1 pair of scissorstijeras
  •  Cotton woolalgodon
  •  Large and small stones
  • grava Gravel
  •  Fine sand
  • Broken up charcoal carbón


Aguas Texto acuifero

Let’s get Started!

First of all, get a transparent plastic bottle, cut off the base and throw away the screw top.

Keep going, it’s really easy!

Next, put all the following ingredients into the bottle through the base in the same order as shown below.filtro


2 cm of cotton wool

13 cm of large stones

6 cm of smaller stones

1.5 cm of gravel 

1.5 cm of broken up charcoal

1 cm of gravel 

3 cm of fine sand

Another 3 cm of gravel

Finish with 6 cm of small stones


Almost there!

The water is nearly clean and the difference in colour is clearly visible, but be careful because it is still not safe to drink! To make it drinkable, it has to be boiled for a minimum of 10 minutes to get rid of all the pathogens it may contain.

If you want, you can do this with the solar pasteurizer that we also taught you how to make on this website. Have a go at purifying water!



  • • Collect rainwater, but not from a puddle or a well.
  • • Use a transparent container.
  • • Try to make sure that all the materials you use are natural.
  • • Try to get them from the vicinity.




Do you want to see how this experiment is done?

The Earth’s crust, the ultimate natural filter!!!

The water that falls onto the Earth’s surface turns cloudy because it collects impurities such as clays, decomposed matter, microorganisms, etc. However, the groundwater in aquifers and underground lakes is less cloudy  and doesn’t contain as much organic matter due to the natural filtration process of the Earth’s crust. Filtration depends on the characteristics of the rock. Water will infiltrate to a greater or lesser degree depending on its permeability. But as it percolates through the various layers of soil and rock, the water is gradually purified and loses a large part of the dirt it contains until it becomes completely crystal-clear.


Permeable and impermeable soil

Depending on the type of rock, water will either infiltrate through it or not. There are several types of rocks that make this possible.


a) Compacted non-porous rocks  

This type does not allow water to pass through. They are practically impermeable, as the water can only filter through the very few fissures that they possess.

  b) Compacted Rocks with large fissures caliza

These are usually limestone rocks which have large fissures that allow water to infiltrate. These fissures tend to get bigger due to the chemical effect of the water.

  c) Porous impermeable rocks roca arcilla

These can absorb large quantities of water, but it does not flow through the rock because it is retained in the pores. These are usually clays, loams and siltstones

 d) Porous permeable rocks  Arenas y gravas

Water filters through them easily. They are usually sands gravels and sandstones which are not very compacted.


Would you like to find out a bit more about aquifers?


The composition of soil


Soil is made up of fragments of rock and minerals (inorganic material), as well as decomposing plants and animals (organic material). According to its composition and texture it is divided into 5 layers called “horizons”:

O  This layer contains the thick organic material which turns into humus. It is full of the nutrients necessary for cultivation.

A  This has a higher concentration of organic material and fine nutrients. It is made up of sand and clay.  

E   This layer is composed of inorganic materials: sand, clay and bits of gravel.

B   Piles of stones and rocks.

C   Contains bedrock.



Would you like to make an example of the soil horizons?





  Take either two semicircular transparent plastic bowls , or a fish bowl, and fill with the following layers: put rocks in the base; then a mixture of stones and rocks; next stones mixed with clay; fourthly a layer of clay, followed by a layer of earth and clay; and lastly, a very fine layer of earth with a plant to simulate the outermost soil horizon. Mark the different layers with a sticker showing their respective names and put up an explanation of each layer as shown in the photo.




Looking down from 160,000 km up in outer space, our planet stands out in the darkness with its deep blue colour and white of the clouds.Three quarters of its surface area is covered by the waters of the seas and oceans. A tenth of the land surface is covered by glaciers and permanent snow.

The total volume of water on Earth is around 1,460 million cubic kilometres. Approximately 94% of it is contained in the seas and oceans, 4% is inside the earth’s crust down to a depth of 5 km, and the rest is in the rivers, lakes, glaciers, permanent snow and atmospheric humidity and vapour.

However, water is a resource that is in very short supply, precisely because the great majority of it is salt water and is not apt for human consumption. We have now developed systems to desalinate water, but there is still a long way to go in this field.


We are going to make a solar distiller to desalinate water. Distillation is the operation of separating the various liquid and solid components that are dissolved in liquids through vaporization and condensation using the different boiling points of each substance. The process is called “solar thermal desalination” because it is carried out through thermal collection of solar energy.


  • Bol 1 transparent glass bowl
  • 1 transparent glass Vaso
  • Water
  • SaltSal
  • Film Transparent film
  • Sticky tape Cinta
  • Piedra 1 stone

Why water evaporates and salt doesn’t

Salt is sodium chloride, NaCI, and has to melt before evaporating. Its melting point is 800ºC, much higher than the boiling point of water, 100ºC. For this reason, at fairly low temperatures, water evaporates and salt doesn’t.


Melting point

Punto de fusion

  Boiling point

punto ebullición



Let’s get started!

Take the bowl and pour in some salt water: a large spoonful of salt for each glass of water.

Be careful with this part!

Then put an empty glass in the centre of the bowl. Cover loosely with the transparent film, making sure that the bowl is sealed so that air can’t get in or out.

Next step

Put the stone on top of the transparent film, right in the centre. Its weight will make the film sink a little.


Very carefully, place the bowl somewhere it will receive as much sunlight as possible so that it starts to heat up inside.

Nearly there!

After a while, you will see that the water inside the bowl starts to evaporate and condense on the film due to the effect of the heat.

Mission accomplished!

Bit by bit, the condensed water will begin to drip towards the centre of the film and then fall into the glass. In this way the water will have been separated from the salt.


  • Put the bowl in the sunniest and warmest position you can find.
  • The more the sunlight, the quicker the water will evaporate, and vice versa.
  • Don’t stretch the film too tightly, and allow the stone to sink a little.



The sun heats up the water in the bowl, which evaporates and turns into water vapour. The plastic cover creates a closed space, like a greenhouse, which causes the interior to heat up. As the water vapour can’t escape, humidity reaches 100%.




The side of the cover that is in contact with the exterior is cooler than the inside. This contrast causes the water vapour to accumulate on the film, condense and form drops of water which fall into the glass. As only the water evaporates, the salt stays in the bottom of the bowl. This is the process of desalination.

Our experiment is a mini version of the cycle of the water that is produced in the world.






Fortunately, we do not have to fill the planet with buckets full of seawater in order to desalinate salt water. There are modern systems that supply  drinking  water  to millions of people.  This is carried out by the process of  osmosis desalination, which can be difficult to understand, but we will try to set it out in a simple way. 



  • Vaso 4 glasses
  • 2 eggshuevos
  • VinagreWhite vinegar
  • Water
  • Sal Salt
  • Distilled water

What is a solution?

It is a homogenous mixture of two or more substances that cannot be distinguished either to the naked eye or by microscope. Every part of the mixture has the same composition.


The solute


The solvent


The semi-permeable membrane


Let’s get started!

Take 2 transparent glasses and put an egg inside each one. Cover the eggs with white vinegar and wait for two to three days.


Pay attention!

After this time you will see that the eggshells have disintegrated, leaving the semi-permeable membrane that protects the yolk and the egg white on view.

You will see that the eggs are soft and that they are about the same size as before they were submerged in the vinegar. You will also see exactly how the eggs react to different solutions.

  proceso osmosis


Carry on!

You need two more transparent glasses. Fill one with distilled water and the other with water mixed with two large spoonfuls of salt. Put the eggs into the glasses. 


Be patient!

We will have to wait for a couple of days to see the changes.


A good dose of observation!

The egg submerged in the hypertonic solution (with a high concentration of salt) tends to expel its own water in order to balance the salt water. For this reason we observe that after a time, it loses volume and becomes wrinkled.

The egg submerged in the hypotonic solution (free of impurities and with no solute), tends to absorb the water through the membrane that covers the egg, seeking a balance with the solution inside, which contains a higher concentration of solute and less solvent. For this reason, the egg looks much plumper than the other one.



  • Have another egg to hand to use as a reference.
  • Experiment with water with different quantities of salt.
  • Use other solvents to see the transformations of the eggs.
  • Look for different solutes to see the different reactions that the eggs undergo.


Osmosis is a physicochemical process. It happens when there are two solutions with different concentrations separated by a semi-permeable membrane, and part of the solvent passes through the membrane seeking a balance in the concentration of the solutions. 


Types of solutions

Tipos de disolución



Do you want to see how this experiment is carried out?

History of desalination

Desalination is not a new concept. Thales of Miletus in the 6th Century BC, and Democritus in the 4th century BC, suggested that fresh water could be obtained by filtering seawater through soil.

In the Middle Ages , several authors wrote about the problem of desalinating seawater. John Gaddesden (1280-1361) set out four methods of doing it in his treatise the Rosa Medicinæ.

During the Modern Age, due to geographical discoveries, the expansion of trade and long sea voyages, it was necessary to make new advances in desalination systems. Some, such as Giovan Battista Della Porta (1535-1615), carried out crucial studies on the different methods of obtaining fresh water from salt water, and proved some of them experimentally.

 At the beginning of the 19th century, the principles of so-called “natural” desalination methods were understood, specifically solar evaporation, distillation and freezing.

However, its use on an industrial scale took a long time to develop. At the end of the 19th century, James Weir set up an evaporation plant using the residual energy of the steam from a boiler to heat the water and in this way separate the salt from the water.

But it was not until the middle of the 20th century that the use of the membrane systems was implemented, based on laboratory studies, and although we have been working on it for little more than 50 years, there have been some great advances. But there is still a long way to go.


Do you want to see how a desalinator works?

Interesting Websites

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

International Decade for Action "Water for life" 2005-2015


Videos to think

What about water?

Water, The World Water Crisis

The world is thirsty


Play with water

Manage a river catchment

Solve the puzzle


Movies you should not miss

Over 45 films available on water and sanitation


Cooking with the sun!

Every day the sun provides us with large quantities of light and heat, and for centuries, mankind has used these free energy sources for all sorts of different purposes.

Solar cookers and ovens are devices that cook food using the sun as an energy source. There are two types of solar cookers:

Concentrator cookers which concentrate the sunlight using a curved “parabolic” reflector, on which a pot is placed to cook the food.

Heat-trap box cookers, heat-insulated boxes designed to capture the solar power and keep the interior hot, thus cooking the food.

In this experiment you can make your own solar concentrator cooker and cook some of our delicious “finger-licking” recipes .


  • Caja 1 Cardboard box for the base
  • 1 x 60x120cm sheet of cardboard
  • Alumninio Aluminium foil
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Taco 1 block of wood
  • White glue and a brush
  • Puchero 1 dark-coloured Pot
  • Sticky tape
  • Bolsa 1 transparent plastic bag

Why is it possible to cook with the sun’s energy?


Several rules of physics make this possible


Greenhouse effect

Efecto invernadero










Let’s get started!

Put the 60x120cm sheet of cardboard on a flat base. The bigger the cooker, the more heat will be concentrated and transferred to the pot. The length of the cardboard structure should always be double the width.

Make a mark on the lower half of the longest side (halfway along the 120cm side).


Be careful with this bit!

To make the space where the pot will go, first measure the diameter of the base of the pot. Let’s assume that the pot measures 20cm in diameter: draw a half circle in the lower central part of the longest side double the diameter of your pot, in this case a 40cm half circle.

Take into account that when you join the two ends of your cardboard structure to close the cooker and make the funnel shape, the space left in the centre will be 20cm in diameter, exactly that of the pot.


Let’s carry on!

Take the cardboard structure and shape it to join the two 60cm sides. Lay it out and using the white glue stick sheets of aluminium foil onto the side which will be on the inside of the funnel. Try to stick the foil as smoothly as possible so that it reflects as well as possible.


That’s it!

Join the two 60cm sides with the sticky tape to form a funnel, and put the narrowest part onto the open cardboard box, which will be the stand for your cooker.


Almost done!

Take the transparent plastic bag, put the piece of wood into the bottom and put the pan on top of it. Put the food you want to cook in the pot and put the lid on. Fill the bag with air by blowing into it and close it with a knot. The plastic bag and the air cause a greenhouse effect which increases the temperature inside the pot.


Let’s get cooking!

Turn your solar cooker to face south and Bon Appétit!



  • The bigger the sheet of cardboard the better.
  • It is best if the pot is black.
  • The plastic bag must be heat resistant, because if it is too thin and it touches the pot it could melt.
  • Orientate your cooker so that it receives the maximum sunlight possible.
  • Very important! Once the food is ready, turn the cooker round or cover it so that it does not reflect onto another surface and heat it up… it could catch fire!
  • Be careful! The pot will be extremely hot. Pick it up wearing oven gloves.



Benefits of using a solar cooker

We and our surroundings can gain enormous benefits by cooking with this or other types of solar cookers:

• We can cook without the need for electricity, firewood, oil or any other type of dirty fuel.

• We do not emit contaminating gases into the atmosphere.

• We avoid felling trees and the use and exhaustion of other limited resources.

• We harness the sun’s energy, which is free all around the world.

• We harness the sun’s energy, which is constantly renewed.


Do you want to see how this experiment is done?

The inventors:


In 1767, the Swiss inventor, Horace de Saussure, invented a small solar box cooker, which he used to cook with harnessing the sun’s energy for the first time, as a result, in part, of his knowledge and experiments on the greenhouse effect. Although the true pioneer of solar cookers was Dr. Maria Telkesi, of Hungarian origin, whose work and research in this field from 1950 to 1970 became the foundation for dozens of researchers all over the world.


Why is it so important to harness solar power?


In many parts of the Planet, there is no electricity or any other energy sources that are not natural or renewable. This type of resource is very useful to the people who live in these places, with whole families able to feed themselves for long periods of the year just by harnessing the sun’s light and heat.


The SK 14 parabolic solar cooker was designed by Dr. Dieter Seifert to combat the firewood crisis in third-world countries. Later, this model evolved into the K-14 kit which was conceived to be flat-packed and dispatched anywhere on the planet, and then easily assembled. Photo: EGSolar.

Websites of interest


To find out more about solar power

History of solar power

Solar thermal power

How does a solar thermal power station work?

Have a rest with energy efficiency

Solar power, key in isolated communities


For those who like cooking


Your best recipes


Fun and games in the kitchen


Run the zombie restaurant as best you can

Eliminate the food chain before your fellow eats everything


Cookery-related Films


The film about a very special ratl



Build your own ecosystem!

An ecosystem is a unit of natural life made up of a group of organisms (plants, microorganisms, animals) which establish interdependent relationships in a physical environment shared by all: they live there in dynamic equilibrium, feeding themselves from a food chain, exchanging energy and reproducing.

This is exactly what we aim to recreate in this experiment, a small ecosystem in which plants and animals will live in complete harmony. You need to take a lot of care throughout the whole process. Once completed, it will survive all on its own.


  • tarro de cristal1 clean large Glass Jar
  • 1 plastic or glass lid
  • tarro de cristal Very fine sand or gravel
  • tarro de cristal A few small stones
  • tarro de cristal Freshwater plants
  • tarro de cristal Red cherry shrimps (optional)
  • tarro de cristal 1-2 Snails

Red Cherry Shrimp

Gamba Cherry

Red Ramshorn Snail (Planorbis Corneus)


Let’s get started!

To start, take the clean glass jar and the lid. Fill the jar with 1 – 2cm of fine sand or gravel. Next, put in a few small stones to decorate the bottom of your ecosphere.

Put in the freshwater plant(s) (sagittaria, eleocharis, etc.).

Keep going, it’s nearly done!

Now fill 90% of the jar with water taken from a freshwater pond, river or aquarium.

Finishing touches!

All you need to do now is add some freshwater snails and red cherry shrimps which can be found in any aquarium supplies store.


  • It needs to be in a place with lots of light.
  • Do not place in direct sunlight.
  • Do not place in spots that are either very hot or very cold.
  • Do not open your ecosphere.
  • Try not to move it.

Conservation of the ecosphere

The plants in the ecosystem absorb the carbon dioxide emitted by the animals and transform it into oxygenusing sunlight and chlorophyll, a green substance present in the leaves. They feed on sugars in the water, which are absorbed through the roots, and they breathe in a gas called carbon bioxide. Having done all of this, the plant produces oxygen, which is essential for the survival of any living being. This is the basis of photosynthesis, fundamental for maintaining equilibrium in the ecosphere.

Would you like to see how to do this experiment?

Why is an ecosystem disrupted?

Ecosystems are a set of living beings linked together in a single environment. These living beings live in harmony with the resources that they need. However, when an element which is alien to the environment interferes and disrupts this equilibrium, the ecosystem is put under threat. We are largely responsible for maintaining this equilibrium. Tree-felling, building dams and pouring used cooking oil down the sink are all causes of disruption.

Incredible Ecosystems!

Planet Earth is also known as the blue planet, as 70% of its surface is water, whilst 30% is land. Also, almost all of this is saltwater and constitutes the oceans and seas. The sea hides all sorts of different ecosystems according to its temperature, the amount of light that goes in, the salt content and the animals and plant life that inhabit it. And although it does not seem possible there are living beings that devise ways of living and forming their own ecosystem in the depths of the ocean where there is hardly any sunlight .