Events & extension - plus how the 'werewolf' plant lures moths in
Welcome to the April 2015 newsletter from Science and Plants for Schools.
This month, we're focusing on events and science inspiration. We've got the annual SAPS Summer School, bringing together biology teachers and some of the UK's top scientists for 4 days of great talks and lectures. And for your keen Year 11 scientists, how about the University of Nottingham's Summer Schools?
Plus from the world of research, we've got our usual round up of the thought-provoking, the world-changing and the just plain strange...
The SAPS Summer School 2015 - Inspiring fully-funded CPD opportunity
"This has been thoroughly inspirational", "Brilliant", "Loved it", "The lectures from the experts were thought-provoking and well delivered". Just some of the feedback from the participants on the 2014 SAPS Summer School.
Once again, the 2015 Science Summer School will be offering outstanding CPD for post-16 biology teachers. This is your chance to hear some of the UK's leading scientists talk about their work, take part in engaging practicals and exchange ideas with colleagues, all funded by a generous ENTHUSE bursary for eligible schools.
Science Summer Schools for Year 11 students
Do you have a Year 11 student who loves science? Would they like to find out more about what it would be like to study science at University?
The University of Nottingham has two Science Summer Schools, with a focus on food sciences and on plant and crop sciences.
The Summer Schools are free of charge, residential and are designed give students an experience of a range of laboratory and field activities in modern plant and crop science.
180 year old law of zoology best supported in plants
"A 180-year-old ‘law’ in zoology has found its best support so far in a study of floral colour, which not only documents darker plants growing closer to the equator, but also supports the idea that the colour stems from ultraviolet protection."
This short article from the journal Nature Plants introduces your post-16 students to Gloger's law, and discusses a recent research paper investigating its applicability in plants. It would make a good starting point for a journal club.
A weighty decision - is genome editing genetic modification?
This thought-provoking article considers the new technique of 'genome editing' in the context of breeding crops with higher yields, higher nutritional values or greater disease resistance. How does it differ from genetic modification as we currently understand it, and how should the EU regulate it? This topic might make a good debate for more advanced students, and encourage them to think about some of the societal issues related to scientific advances.
The 'werewolf' plant that lures moths in at full moon
Many animals are known to display certain behaviours linked to the moon's cycle. But the first plant to time its pollinator attraction to the full moon has just been discovered - by a happy accident on the part of two Swedish researchers.
They were baffled when they returned to the Mediterranean home of Ephedra foeminea, expecting to see the cones glistening with sugary liquid and covered with pollinators. After a week spent fruitlessly observing barren cones, they decided to take a break and go out to dinner. At which point they realised the crucial difference between their photos of past years' field trips and this year - no moonlight.
Share your teaching resources with us - and get £50 - £500 for your department
The SAPS website is filled with resources developed by teachers and technicians, and we're always looking for more. So if you've got a starter activity that gets your students buzzing, a thought-provoking discussion, or an enjoyable practical, then when not get in touch?
Plus we offer grants of £100 for TeachMeets and other teacher and technician-led CPD.
Harriet Truscott, Dan Jenkins, Claire Pennycuick and Ginny Page
The Science and Plants for Schools team