Welcome to the latest edition of the Science and Plants for Schools newsletter – and this half-term, it’s a special edition ready for National Science and Engineering Week. This year’s theme is ‘Our world in motion’, so we’re looking at how plants themselves move, far more than you might think. We’ve got two new resources for your lessons or science clubs, plus plenty of other ideas and links to keep your students busy. Plus there’s the chance to try out new SAPS protocols at ASE Conferences around the country, and two fully-funded place to attend a prestigious scientific conference.
New resource - What makes a Venus’ Fly Trap trap flies?
Charles Darwin called the Venus’ Fly Trap “one of the most wonderful plants in the world”. In this activity, students investigate what causes a Venus’ Fly Trap to shut its trap. These experiments for 11-16 students are related to a series of investigations that Darwin carried out as part of his work on evolution and adaptation. Learning outcomes include conducting fair tests, collecting reliable data, and designing their own investigations to extend understanding.
See the resource
New Resource – Cytoplasmic streaming under the microscope
Not only do plants move – let’s not forget the movement within the plant cells themselves. Get your microscopes out and take a look, with this quick and easy protocol for looking at cytoplasmic streaming in African Violets, together with much, much more. This brand new resource for 14 -16 and post-16 students is available in the pilot resources area of the website, so please log in to the SAPS Associates area before viewing.
See the resource
Science Week activity – Analysing plant movement with timelapse photography
Timelapse photography, using a webcam or video camera in timelapse mode, is ideal for observing and analysing movement in plants. The result can be full of opportunities for open-ended investigations by pupils. Link the timelapse video into datalogging software, and you can easily calculate just how fast plants do move. This activity is just one of many in the free SEP publication ‘ICT in Practical Science’, which can be downloaded from the National STEM eLibrary:
See the resource
Plants in Motion – the ultimate website for timelapse plant photography
The wonderful ‘Plants in Motion’ website is filled with timelapse images of everything to do with plants and their growth. A great resource for thinking in more depth about topics including germination, tropisms, flowering and growth.
Science Week activity – Seed dispersal game
Plants are ubiquitous across our world – so how have they become so efficient in dispersing their seeds? In this short online game from Cambridge University, players design a seed capable of finding a niche within a forest.
Play the game
Attend a scientific conference – with a SAPS grant to cover the costs
SAPS around the country – dates for your diary
If you want to try out the latest SAPS ideas and resources for yourself, come and meet us at one of the upcoming ASE Regional conferences.
- North-West: Exhibiting in Didsbury, 10th March 2012. Demonstrating a mixture of old and new practicals to inspire your students.
- East of England: Exhibiting in Harlow, 17 March 2012. Demonstrating brand new practicals to get the most from your microscopes, plus tried and tested favourites.
- London and South East: Presenting at Guildford, 22 June 2012. How to bring biology to life for your students and get the most from your microscopes.
News – ‘Jurassic Park’ plants bloom again after 30,000 years in permafrost
Russian plant scientists have successfully grown plants from fruits that were literally squirreled away in the Siberian permafrost, over 30,000 years ago. Even though the ancient seeds were no longer able to germinate, the team hoped that the sucrose within the fruits would have acted as a preservative over the millenia – and they successfully propagated the plants from the fruit cells. The plants are a form of campion, Silene stenophylla, that still grows on the Siberian tundra. When the researchers compared the modern plants against the ancient ones, they found subtle differences in the shape of the flower petals. Now researchers all over the world are asking themselves, what other plants can be brought back to life?
Hope your Science Week goes with a bang!
The Administratort, Dan Jenkins and Ginny Page
If you're a teacher, TA or technician, and you're not already a member of the free SAPS Associates scheme, why not join us at www.saps.org.uk/associates?