Welcome to the November 2015 newsletter from Science and Plants for Schools. As always, it’s packed with teaching resources, ideas and opportunities for your classes, this month with a little Hollywood glamour.
Tireless in our pursuit of botany, the SAPS team watched The Martian, with Matt Damon as a plant scientist trapped alone on Mars.
A discussion of the realism of Matt Damon's use of science to survive would make an interesting starter for lessons on plant growth. So how accurate is The Martian's botany? And potato farmers - who better? - discuss the problem.
Inspiration - 'Plants: an ideal living material for teaching science'
Biology is the study of life - so how can you bring more living organisms into the Lab (without squashing two classes into one room or suffering a plague of frogs)?
We at Science and Plants for Schools think that plants are the perfect material for teaching hands-on biology. Our own Dan Jenkins has an article published in the School Science Review, packed with ideas and reflections for using plants effectively in the classroom. Read the article online.
We'll be showing all these practicals and more at the ASE Annual Conference in Birmingham in January - so come and join us!
RSB School Biology Teacher of the Year
Do you know a teacher who inspires their students? Who offers great training to their colleagues? Who's helped to shape biology teaching beyond their school?
If so, nominate them for RSB School Biology Teacher of the Year. (Or nominate yourself.)
Past winners and runners up of the School Biology Teacher of the Year have included fellow SAPS Associates Beverley Goodger, and Dr Richard Spencer.
Both have developed resources for the SAPS website - if you haven't already, try them out!
With ash trees under threat, could a radical solution - transgenic trees - be the answer?
Ash dieback could threaten 90% of our native ash trees. Scientist Richard Buggs is sequencing the ash genome, searching for the genes that would convey resistance to the disease.
He poses the question, would the UK rather have no ash trees or transgenic ash trees resistant to the fungus? A survey of 1,400 people by Oxford University revealed some surprising results.
This article would make a good discussion topic for students about ecology, gene technologies, and the role of science in society.
Harriet Truscott, Dan Jenkins, Claire Pennycuick and Ginny Page
The Science and Plants for Schools team
Spread the word to other schools!
We want as many teachers and technicians as possible to know about our free resources - so let them know about the SAPS Associates community