A new year - and we're kicking off with the first in a new video series, showing quick, cheap and easy biology practicals.
There's a brand new post-16 resource, free posters for your classroom, and the chance to win an amazing experience at a world-class genetics lab. And lots, lots more...
What makes a nettle sting?
Download the teaching and technical notes for this practical
Teaching post-16 biology? Get your free photosynthesis and genetics posters
We're giving away two brilliant posters for post-16 biology students - one on photosynthesis, and one on genetics. To make sure you get your poster, just fill in this form, before the end of September.
(Sorry, because of postage costs, this offer is for UK schools only.)
Post-16 resource - Plants 'r' mint
'Revising A-level Biology: Plants ‘r’ mint' is an innovative revision resource, designed to encourage synoptic thinking and to develop a broader understanding of biology in A2 students. Each of the five student packs brings together a range of topics in animal, human and plant biology, centred on a common theme, and designed to stretch and challenge your students. Developed by Dr Richard Spencer, this resource was funded by a SAPS Associate Award.
View the resource
"This is brilliant material for the 'suggest' questions that are the ones that my pupils find hardest and need the most practice with. I will be using it for homework a lot this year." Biology teacher Rob Hagan, SAPS reviewer
Inspiring young biologists - books to stretch and challenge
We've been talking to undergraduate biology students, asking them what they'd have liked when they were studying A-levels. One of their top requests was suggestions for biology books. Luckily, there's nothing the SAPS team loves more than an excuse to dive into a great science book.
What a plant knows, by Prof Danny Chamovitz, is an intriguing and quirky look at how plants experience the world. How does a Venus' flytrap know when to snap shut? How do plants know when it’s spring? Can they actually remember the weather? And how does this affect the way we think about genetics? Definitely one to challenge your students' thinking.
A brand new organelle, the tannosome, has just been discovered in plant cells. And it's crucial to the taste of tea and red wine. Find out more.
School Biology Teacher of the Year - could it be you?
Could you or your colleague be the Society of Biology's School Biology Teacher of the Year?
This award aims to recognise outstanding and inspirational teaching of biology within the UK's school system. The winner will receive £500 cash, £500 of free OUP resources for the winning teacher's school - and an inspirational prize from us at SAPS. You'll get an all expenses paid trip to Cambridge for a tour of Darwin's Beagle speciments with the Head Curator of the Cambridge Herbarium, followed by a hands-on experience in a world-class genetics lab.
We're proud to say that Bev Goodger and Richard Spencer, the winner and the runner-up last year, are both members of the SAPS Associates scheme, and developers of popular resources for the SAPS website. Both were nominated by their colleagues for their outstanding work.
Find out more
In the news - plants send water running 'backwards'
How does water travel through a plant? Your answer's probably a simple one. Water moves from the soil, up through the roots and stems of a plant, through the leaves and out into the surrounding atmosphere.
But recent research has shown that our traditional understanding of the transport of water through plants is incomplete. Under certain conditions, some plants have evolved the ability to absorb water through their leaves, move it down the xylem, and them release it into the soil. The plants are actually watering their own roots - and their own seedlings. This off-beat mechanism for water uptake works well enough that these plants can continue to photosynthesise and grow, even when the soil they are growing in is dry. These new findings may have important implications for our current models of climate change and ecology.
Find out more
Horsetail plant spores can 'walk' and 'jump' , propelled by moisture changes. Could this inspire new self-propelled devices?
Looking forward to a great year of biology teaching
The Administratort, Dan Jenkins and Ginny Page
The Science and Plants for Schools team