Biodomes Engineering Design Project: Lessons 2-6 – Activity – www.TeachEngineering.org.
This is a fantastic resource for designing a bio-dome, excellent for studying ecosystems, specific environments and engineering (there’s also a nice little bit of recycling of plastic bottles involved). The webpage also details how to approach a number of lessons teaching with regards to the bio-dome that students can build. There is also a Bio-dome workbook in pdf that can be downloaded from the page, a full list of materials needed, an introduction with extra vocab section and a simple to use instruction on how to build a simple model bio-dome.
The lesson plans given by Teach Engineering break down different things to look at/study within the bio-dome (energy flow, plants, animals and then decomposers), these could easily be adapted to fit what a teacher specifically wanted or to fit different timescales, you wouldn’t need to add plants, animals and decomposers over 3 weeks unless it helps to establish each one first. Maybe that’s what a school technician is for, hehe!
I think it would be fascinating for a class (or STEM group) to do this over perhaps a few weeks with maybe one built bio-dome for everyone, to see the effects of the bio-dome. The website recommends roughly 5 hours of “lesson” time, but however much of it could be done outside of a lesson to speed learning up.
13 Vegetables That Magically Regrow Themselves.
I found this link on pinterest so long ago and I have been desperate to bring it to light and actually test each one! The 13 vegetables are divided into easily do-able (spring onions, garlic, romaine lettuce, carrots, basil), feasible (lemongrass, celery, onion and bok choy), feasible if you’re a plant magician (avocado, sweet potato, ginger roots and pineapple) – I think it’s these that I really want to try, including the 3 years for pineapple!
It’s Buzzfeed so each vegetable has it’s own link. The first two levels could be really good fun to do at home or with a STEM group, or a standard lesson, too. Perhaps the top level are only really for at home! Or school technicians over a summer holiday!
Fun Science Experiment! – Learning how plants absorb water! –.
I want to bring this blog to note because I think it would be far more cost effective when we usually demonstrate how plants absorb water. Normally, we buy a bunch of flowers and either put them all in one vase of artificially coloured water, or separate them between two colours. Normally only blue and red. We might also do the same with a packet of celery. Celery is good because you can cut the stem and see the colour going all the way through.
However, I was drawn to this particular blog and the idea from a photo of cabbage leaves in different coloured water. With celery, only blue and red ever tend to really work, visibly. Well, Paging Fun Mums has clearly got red, blue, green and yellow to work amazingly well with cabbage leaves. I also think that it would be far easier to ensure a whole class could set up their own set as a cabbage would go further than a bunch of flowers. They were apparently only left overnight, which is probably what we would do.
I just really want to try the cabbage!
Balloon Greenhouse | Activity | Education.com.
I found this on pinterest and am so intrigued to see how well this works. Ellen, the author, suggests using radish seeds, but I’m wondering if in a STEM environment it might be more useful and cost effective to use cress seeds. We’ll have to try it out with that.
I love the fact that you tie off and make a contained “world” within the balloon. I can imagine asking a group what a plant needs to grow and then asking them if the seeds have all of that inside of the balloon.
I also love the idea of also growing the plant outside of the balloon, to see how the balloon affects the growth.
Could this also work on a larger scale to demo phototropism? Paint the balloon all over, or on one side. Or just use a dark coloured balloon.
I seriously cannot wait to try this!
And of course, this experiment is perfectly suited to be done at home – that’s what Ellen did. We’re just going to adapt it for inside of education. Or try to!
Does Aspirin Help Plants Grow? | Education.com.
I found this on a random google search where I was actually looking for something else and I know that I have found a few plant growth topics, but this one is a bit different.
The standard practice in schools to test plant growth is to use nutrient deficient solutions on already grown plants, or on cress, and we often find that we don’t get amazing results. Through mainly pinterest, I have found “at home” versions where you use water, salt water, sugar water, vinegar, etc – common household liquids. Obviously, if you’re trying to teach the science behind the nutrients themselves that are needed, the “at home” versions won’t help.
If, however, you just want to introduce how plants grow rather than what they need nutrient-wise to grow, then this newly found solution can easily be added on: aspirin!
Apparently there is loads of research into how aspirin can help tomato plants, but this “science fair” topic is about testing aspirin to see if helps plants grow. This would be a lovely add on to the other household liquids that cress seeds could be grown with.
You just have to be careful with the aspirin when it comes to children. Definitely one to add on to the to-do list!
Animation – Transport of Water and Sugar in Plants.
This is perfect for KS4, specifically unit B4e, an animation regarding the key processes of plant transport in xylem and phloem. As it is from saps, there is also a selection of downloadable notes including teacher notes and an A-level student revision guide, which might be suitable for GCSE, too.
Some of this goes perfectly with the “at home” science I’ve been finding recently!
Seeds – YouTube.
An excellent video (aren’t they all!) from The Private Life of Plants showing seed dispersal.
Learning Activity: Bulb Growth Chart.
This sounds like an amazing fun little “at home” activity – measuring the growth of a plant. I wonder if you could also measure the root growth? I know that they tend to be windier and far more tangled, but maybe an approximate growth?
I also love the idea given in the post about looking for patterns of growth and comparing different plants. We have windows facing east and west, would that create a difference in growth rates? It would be good for a Biology Plants unit and for STEM.
It should even work for cress in a test tube (that way you don’t have to worry quite so much about remembering to water them!) over a few weeks perhaps.