OpenPlant stand at Festival of Plants

Cambridge University’s Botanic Garden hosts a Festival of Plants in May that provides the public with an opportunity to explore the diversity of flora and also find out how this important resource contributes to scientific plant research locally and globally. 

We presented accessible activities to explain some of our research goals and how they might impact on society. 

Through taking time to explain and discuss our projects at events such as this, people feel more confident to take a positive interest in the process and potential outcomes. It also gives us an opportunity to hear people’s thoughts on our research goals that we can then reflect upon. 

SAW Project at Ludham Primary School

Scientific images used for Ludham Primary School project

Scientific images used for Ludham Primary School project

Dr Colette Matthewman, project manager of OpenPlant, Norwich, worked with writer Mike O'Driscoll and artist Chris Hann to design and deliver a brand new SAW project with a year 5 class at Ludham Primary School. SAW projects extend science learning into poetry and art, inviting children to generate personal responses to the science concepts where they discover new perspectives of the world and broaden their horizons.

Children got hands-on with DNA extraction, played a game to learn Mendel's Laws of Inheritance and were shown how model plants such as the simple liverwort Marchantia enable scientists to study traits that are found in more complex plant species.

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The poetry session produced some excellent work that reflected the children's understanding of the link between DNA and genetic differences. The children learned about root nodules during the science session and so the art used these structures as a starting point for work with oil pastels, glue, salt and colour pigments. Root nodules are specialised structures produced as a result of a symbiosis between certain plant species and bacteria in the soil that enable the plant to fix atmospheric nitrogen, giving plants a significant advantage in nitrogen poor soils.



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