First workshop 2018 - Education for sustainability themes - Plant biology


Previous Curious Minds funding allowed students to develop a blueprint for turning an empty rural school field into a sustainable science and agricultural learning hub. The initial research and planning phase is coming to an end, the logical next step in our project is to challenge students to explain how the school farm and science hub they have designed will enable science and technology to be investigated.

Inspired by best practice examples such as the farming curriculum developed at Hukeranui Primary school in Northland, the new challenges are:

How will the proposed building teach about new technologies? (For example: generating power or maintaining a constant indoor temperatures)

How can the proposed farming activities be used to teach STEM subjects?

The goal of this second phase is to produce lesson plans in 10 themed areas - five related to building and five to farming which promote hands-on activities to fuel student curiosity and allow independent cross-curricular learning to take place inside and outside the classroom. Students will research and develop their own sustainability project-based learning curriculum related to shelter and food production.

In this workshop the students brainstormed their ideas for the 10 themes:


The first theme we all agreed on is Plant Biology and we did some experiments with looking at how plants drink water.


We identified the parts of a plant, and used celery and silverbeet stems to show how the Xylem sucks up water like a straw using food colouring in the water we demonstrated transpiration.

Water evaporates through tiny holes in the underside of a leaf called stomata. This evaporation draws water up the plant stem from the surrounding soil via the plants roots in tubes called the xylem. The xylem in the celery are stained red and blue above with food colouring we added to the water.


We hope to do some experiments looking at the stomata in leaves using a microscope.