I’ve just been reading about a brilliant project being run between the UK Space Agency and the RHS in which participating schools can grow seeds that have been sent into space.
Sadly, it’s only available to UK schools. Here in Thailand, Year 7 students have been learning about the conditions necessary for germination and we now have lots of different seedlings growing in planters in the corridor outside my classroom.
These are a great way of summarising the properties of elements, radiation, biological molecules etc. in a format that the students instantly recognise and can relate to.
I often find that really simple visual aids are all that are needed to make otherwise quite complex concepts spring to life in the students’ minds. For example, a balloon inside a cardboard box to represent the protoplast inside the cell wall of a plant cell (particularly useful when teaching plasmolysis), pipe cleaners as polysaccharide chains or for demonstrating protein structure, and drawing pins stuck in ping-pong balls as viruses or cell-surface antigens.
Cubes are great for displaying information or for modelling structures like the human skin or the cross-section of a leaf. They can be hung in the classroom so also make eye-catching displays. Templates are easy to find online.