SAPS - Plants and science for 11-14 year olds

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Plants and Science for 11-14 Year Olds
This collection of resources is designed to support science teaching at key stage 3 and similar curriculums
for 11-14 year olds. The resources consist of a SAPS resources map and session plans.
SAPS resources map
Resources used in the session plans, together with other SAPS resources are summarised in the SAPS
resources map. For convenience, they are grouped under the three science areas Biology, Chemistry and
Physics. Each is divided into topics, the contents of which are illustrated by statements from Science
Programmes of Study: key stage 3 (National Curriculum in England, 2013).
The resource provides ideas and contexts across the sciences that use plant-based activities to spark
curiosity and interest and to engage students in topics, and to provide a scenario or setting for activities that
makes up the main part of a lesson.
Biology



Structure and function of living organisms: Cells and organisation; The skeletal and muscular systems;
Nutrition and digestion; Gas exchange systems; Reproduction; Health
Material cycles and energy: Photosynthesis; Cellular respiration
Interactions and interdependencies: Relationships in an ecosystem; Inheritance, chromosomes, DNA
and genes
Chemistry

The particulate nature of matter; Atoms, elements and compounds; Pure and impure substances;
Chemical reactions; Energetics; The Periodic Table; Materials; Earth and atmosphere
Physics





Energy: Calculation of fuel uses and costs in the domestic context; Energy changes and transfers;
Changes in systems
Motion and forces: Describing motion; Forces; Pressure in fluids; Balanced forces; Forces and motion
Waves: Observed waves; Sound waves; Energy and waves; Light waves
Electricity and electromagnetism: Current electricity; Static electricity; Magnetism
Matter: Physical changes; Particle model; Energy in matter; Space physics
Across the sciences
New resources have been produced that may be included in schemes of work to refresh, reinforce or
revise some important scientific ideas that cut across all areas of science.
They are grouped under topic titles:

Seed Dispersal

Plant Needs

Ins and Outs of Water
Each topic

uses plants as a context to refresh, reinforce or revise important scientific ideas that cut across all areas
of science, in particular those associated matter, energy and change

provides opportunities to address some common barriers to learning science, including scientific
terminology and misconceptions

consists of one or more student sheets, each with a teacher sheet.
A refresh, reinforce or revise session could consist of one of the sheets or a suitable group. The resource
enables you make the choice.
SAPS Resources Map
Biology
Cells and organisation
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
B1.1 cells as the fundamental unit of living organisms, including how to observe, interpret and record cell
structure using a light microscope
B1.2 the functions of the cell wall, cell membrane, cytoplasm, nucleus, vacuole, mitochondria and
chloroplasts
B1.3 the similarities and differences between plant and animal cells
B1.4 the role of diffusion in the movement of materials in and between cells
B1.5 the structural adaptations of some unicellular organisms
B1.6 the hierarchical organisation of multicellular organisms: from cells to tissues to organs to systems to
organisms
Some common misconceptions that relate to this section

‘The nucleus of a cell is like the nucleus of an atom’

‘Living things are made of cells, which are as small as atoms’

‘Microbes, cells and particles are much the same’
SAPS resources
Activities and support materials
Notes
AMAZING AFRICAN VIOLETS
describes how specialised plant cells
may be studied using a microscope.
(could be linked to B1.1, B1.5, B1.6)
The procedure is provided as a Word document (African Violets
under the microscope) or PowerPoint presentation (African violets
under the microscope powerpoint). Students place a small piece
of plant tissue in a drop of water on a microscope slide and cover
it with a cover slip. Cells and structures of various kinds may be
seen. The resource also includes two videos:
Cytoplasmic movement in petal trichomes
Cytoplasmic movement in leaf trichomes.
STOMATA UNDER THE
MICROSCOPE describes how the
stomatal peels may be prepared and
examined under a microscope.
(could be linked to B1.1, B1.2, B1.3)
Straightforward protocols are provided for preparing (clear nail
varnish; Germolene New Skin; water-based varnish) and
examining specimens. For 14+ students the protocols may be
used to measure stomatal density (Measuring Stomatal Density).
HOW CAN I MODEL A PLANT CELL
AT KS3? is about making physical
models to help students to
understand the structure of a cell.
(could be linked to B1.1, B1.2, B1.3)
Students make models that show the relative sizes of organelles,
e.g. a transparent plastic box as the cell wall, poly bag with wall
paper paste as a membrane and cytoplasm, water filled poly bag
inside this for vacuole, table tennis ball for the nucleus, green
plastic beads for chloroplasts.
CHLOROPLASTS AND STARCH
may be used to show microscopes
are used to ‘see inside a cell’.
(could be linked to B1.1, B1.2)
This video clip from the BBC (from the TV series Botany: A
Blooming History) introduces chloroplasts and the accumulation of
starch grains, putting them in the context of their discovery by
pioneering scientist Julius von Sachs in the 19th century.
PLANT STRUCTURES. Diagrams to
show the structures of plants.
(could be linked to B1.6)
Diagrams showing parts of a plant and a flower: PowerPoint or
image showing labelled and unlabelled diagrams of parts of a
plant and flower.
The Structure of Flowers: diagram of a dissected Brassica rapa
flower with stamens and carpel.
The Structure of a Flowering Plant: diagram of Brassica rapa, a
flowering plant, showing the root and shoot systems.
Nutrition and digestion
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
B3.1 content of a healthy human diet: carbohydrates, lipids (fats and oils), proteins, vitamins, minerals,
dietary fibre and water, and why each is needed
B3.2 calculations of energy requirements in a healthy daily diet
B3.6 plants making carbohydrates in their leaves by photosynthesis and gaining mineral nutrients and water
from the soil via their roots
Some common misconceptions that relate to this section

‘Fertilisers are plant food’

‘Plants get their food from the soil’

‘Water, carbon dioxide and light are plant foods’

‘Plants breathe in carbon dioxide, animals breathe in oxygen’
SAPS resources
Activities and support materials
Notes
GROWING RADISHES IN FILM
CANS is a protocol that describes
a simple method of growing radishes
that can be used in the school lab.
(could be linked to B3.6)
Growing radishes in film cans – student sheet and Growing
radishes in film cans – teachers sheet. Radish seeds are cheap
and widely available. The plants are small and compact, so many
can be grown in a small space, allowing comparisons to be easily
made. They grow well in film cans on capillary matting under a
light-bank. After 2-3 weeks there is a recognisable crop.
GROWING AND CARING FOR
RAPID-CYCLING BRASSICAS is
about growing and caring for rapidcycling brassicas to investigate the
effects of nutrients on plant growth.
(could be linked to B3.6)
Rapid-cycling brassicas are small plants have been bred and
selected to have a uniform, short flowering time (14 days) and
grow well under in a small indoor space, with little soil, under
artificial lights. Student sheets
Planting instructions for rapid-cycling brassicas
Growing and caring for rapid-growing brassicas
provide protocols that students can use for investigations.
INVESTIGATING IF PLANTS GROW
BETTER WITH FERTILISER is a
useful way to introduce the topic of
fertilisers, and measure the effect of
fertilisers on the growth of plants.
(could be linked to B3.6)
Adding mineral salt to radishes: students grow radishes with
different amounts of mineral salts, and compare the results. Then
they create a 'radogram' to show their results - a graph made up
of radish slices. It was written originally for 7-11 year olds.
INVESTIGATING FERTILISERS
describes how the effects of minerals
on the growth of radishes in various
conditions. The yield is measured by
the mass of each radish.
(could be linked to B3.6)
Protocol for investigating the effects of minerals on plant growth is
given in a Student Sheet and a Teacher Sheet is available. This
experiment is inexpensive, easy to set up, reliable and generates
plenty of quantitative results, suitable for analysis. However, it
does require a light bank and the radish seed take 2-3 weeks to
grow to a suitable size followed by 2-3 days to dry to a constant
dry mass.
TRANSPORT OF WATER AND
SUGAR IN PLANTS is an animation
that could be the starting point for
class discussion.
(could be linked to B3.6)
An animation that shows the key processes of plant transport in
xylem and phloem. It may be a little too advanced for 11-19 year
olds, but could still be a useful basis for a teacher-led/guided class
discussion. Teachers notes are available as a Word document.
PLANT, MATTER AND ENERGY
See Chemistry: The particulate nature of matter
PLANT NUTRIENTS
See Chemistry: Atoms, elements and compounds
MAKING AND TESTING
See Chemistry: Atoms, elements and compounds
NUTRIENTS
HOMEMADE FERTILISERS
See Chemistry: Atoms, elements and compounds
PLANT ROOTS
Activities: Germinating seeds; Examining plant roots; Examining
water movement in plant roots
In this introductory investigation of plant roots students grow
seeds on wet filter paper and look at their roots under a
microscope to examine root hair. They also take some baby
seedlings to observe the uptake of coloured water.
PLANT CELLS AND WATER
Activities: Plant cells; Investigating potato sticks; Water and cell
membranes
Students look at the structure of cells and, in particular, a plant
hair cell. They investigate what happens to potato sticks when
they are placed in water and in salty water, followed up by using
‘Visking tubing cells’ to help understand what happens in terms of
particles diffusing through cell membranes
MOVING WATER THROUGH
PLANTS
Activities: Capillary action; Analysing data; The 10 metre tree
problem
Students carry out a practical investigation of capillary rise. They
are given data to analyse and use the particle model of matter to
explain the data. Finally, they carry out a calculation which
demonstrates that capillary action alone cannot explain the rise of
water in a plant.
Gas exchange systems
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
B4.4 the role of leaf stomata in gas exchange in plants
SAPS resources
Activities and support materials
Notes
AMAZING AFRICAN VIOLETS
(could be linked to B4.4)
See Biology: Cells and organisation
STOMATA UNDER THE
MICROSCOPE
(could be linked to B4.4)
See Biology: Cells and organisation
LEAF STRUCTURE, STOMATA
AND CARBON DIOXIDE is a BBC
video clip.
(could be linked to B4.4)
Students are introduced to leaf structure and then developed into
a discussion of the other features of a leaf and how it is adapted
for efficient photosynthesis. It covers the role of stomata and the
surface structure of a leaf (observed at higher magnifications).
Reproduction
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
B5.2 reproduction in plants, including flower structure, wind and insect pollination, fertilisation, seed and fruit
formation and dispersal, including quantitative investigation of some dispersal mechanisms
SAPS resources
Activities and support materials
Notes
POLLEN AND OTHER AIRBORNE
PARTICLES describes how to make
and use a pollen trap.
(could be linked to B4.4, B5.2)
Pollen and other airborne particles contains instructions for
making a pollen trap and using it, together with information about
pollen and spores. Students might think about how such particles
might affect the human gas exchange system.
POLLEN TUBE GROWTH describes
Students study pollen growth under a microscope. This resource
how the growth of pollen tubes can
be observed under a microscope. 
(could be linked to B5.2)
includes:
Pollen germination across the seasons – advice on choosing the
right pollen for the time of year

Pollen tube growth images – photographs taken every 5 minutes
could be used for data analysis

Pollen tube method – instructions for measuring pollen tube
growth.

Teachers and technicians sheet - pollen tube.
POLLEN TUBE INVESTIGATIONS 
outlines possible investigations using
the Pollen tube method.
(could be linked to B5.2)
Students who have used the Pollen tube method might use it to
undertake an investigation. This resource gives some
suggestions.
FILMS ON POLLEN AND
POLLINATION from the TED.
(could be linked to B5.2)
There are three films relevant to this topic:
Every pollen grain has a story
The hidden beauty of pollination
The beautiful tricks of flowers. Each is well worth watching.
INVESTIGATING SEED
GERMINATION describes how
factors affecting the germination of
seed may be investigated, including
water, nutrients and the effects of
acid rain or other pollutants.
(could be linked to B3.6)
White mustard seeds are recommended, though cress seeds are
commonly used. The procedure is given in a Student Sheet and a
Teacher Sheet is available. Investigating seed germination and
Grid templates. Students grow seeds upright in Petri dishes.
Percentage germination may be calculated and students can
make measurements’ for example, of root or shoot growth and
length of root hairs.
ADAPTATION, NATURAL
SELECTION AND WINGED FRUITS
is about winged seeds and their
dispersal by the wind.(could be
linked to B9.3)
Students look at natural selection in evolution by considering the
extent to which the winged fruits from a tree are adapted for
successful dispersal.
Adaptation, natural selection and winged fruits - shorter student
version
Adaptation, natural selection and winged fruits - student notes
Adaptation, natural selection and winged fruits - teacher notes
FALLING FROM TREES
See Physics: Forces
COCONUTS
See Physics: Forces
PARACHUTING FRUITS
See Physics: Forces
SPINNING FRUITS
See Physics: Forces
GLIDING FRUITS
See Physics: Forces
ONE-WINGED FRUITS
See Physics: Forces
TWO-WINGED FRUITS
See Physics: Forces
Photosynthesis
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
B7.1 the reactants in, and products of, photosynthesis, and a word summary for photosynthesis
B7.2 the dependence of almost all life on Earth on the ability of photosynthetic organisms, such as plants
and algae, to use sunlight in photosynthesis to build organic molecules that are an essential energy store
and to maintain levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
B7.3 the adaptations of leaves for photosynthesis.
Some common misconceptions that relate to this section

‘Plants breathe in carbon dioxide, animals breathe in oxygen’

‘Plants breathe in oxygen at night and carbon dioxide during the day’

‘Plants photosynthesise but do not respire’
SAPS resources
Activities and support materials
Notes
WHICH CARBOHYDRATES DO
PLANTS MAKE? is a practical
activity.
(could be linked to B7.1, B7.2)
Students use chemical tests on various plant products to identify
different types of carbohydrates, including glucose, starch and
cellulose. It consists of three related resources:
Sugar, starch or cellulose - student notes
Sugar, starch or cellulose - teacher notes
Sugar, starch or cellulose.
INVESTIGATING
PHOTOSYNTHESIS AND
RESPIRATION USING A CARBON
DIOXIDE PROBE is a data analysis
and interpretation exercise.(could be
linked to B7.2, B7.3)
Students interpret data, obtained using datalogger and carbon
dioxide probe, about the amounts of carbon dioxide present in the
atmosphere under different conditions, e.g. carbon dioxide levels
and light.
Investigating photosynthesis and respiration in a broad bean plant
- student notes
Investigating photosynthesis and respiration in a broad bean plant
- teacher notes
Investigating photosynthesis and respiration in a broad bean
plant.
PHOTOSYNTHESIS: WHAT ARE
CHLOROPLASTS? Is about
investigating chloroplasts and starch
production.
(could be linked to B7.2, B7.3)
Students observe chloroplasts under the microscope, e.g. using
Elodea pondweed. They take thin sections of potato tissue and
stain them to show starch grains.
What are chloroplasts - student notes
What are chloroplasts - teacher notes
What are chloroplasts.
PHOTOSYNTHESIS USING ALGAE
WRAPPED IN JELLY BALLS
outlines a technique for investigating
photosynthesis that enables
quantifiable to be obtained.
(could be linked to B7.2)
Students make algae wrapped in jelly balls and use them to
investigate photosynthesis
Photosynthesis with Algal Balls - Student sheet
Photosynthesis with Algal Balls - General students sheet
Photosynthesis with Algal Balls - Teachers notes
Photosynthesis with Algal Balls - Technical details,
Photosynthesis with Algal balls
Colour chart showing hydrogen carbonate indicator.
CAN LEAF DISCS MAKE STARCH
IN THE DARK? uses a method
based on the 'leaf disc' technique.
(could be linked to B3.6, B7.2)
Students measure starch production by green leaf discs in the
dark and the light, and starch production when green leaves are
kept in the dark while floating in glucose solution. They carry out
the starch test using iodine.
Can leaf discs make starch in the dark - teachers notes
Can leaf discs make starch in the dark - student notes
Can leaf discs make starch in the dark - worksheet
The experiment can be extended by using discs taken from the
white areas of leaves.
INVESTIGATING THE

SEPARATION OF
PHOTOSYNTHETIC PIGMENTS is 
about their absorption spectra and
how this relates to the action

spectrum of the plant.
(could be linked to B7.2, B7.3)

Students extract pigments from leaves and separate and identify
them using thin layer chromatography.
INVESTIGATING THE BEHAVIOUR
OF LEAF DISCS is a fun way for
Students cut small discs from leaves and float them in a syringe of
sodium hydrogen carbonate solution. Once gas is evolved by
An investigation into photosynthetic pigments by means of TLC Students
An investigation into photosynthetic pigments by means of TLC Teacher.
students to get hands-on when
investigate photosynthesis
quantitatively.
(could be linked to B7.2, B7.3)
photosynthesis, the leaf discs rise and fall. They can compare Sun
and shade plants, different light intensities, etc.
Leaf Discs, Student Sheet - Leaf Discs
Teachers Notes - Leaf Discs.
HOW COMMERCIAL GROWERS
INCREASE CROP YIELD is a video
clip from the BBC (from the TV series
Botany: A Blooming History).
(could be linked to B7.2)
Students find out how commercial growers in the Netherlands
manipulate the limiting factors of photosynthesis to increase crop
yield.
CHLOROPLASTS AND STARCH is
a BBC video clip.
(could be linked to B7.2)
Students can watch a classic experiment to show that light is
needed for the production of starch. The process can be
discussed in terms of what is being done to the leaf at each stage
and why the demonstration is so elegant. Students can do (a)
their own leaf shading and iodine tests, (b) and tests on leaves
which have also been deprived of carbon dioxide.
VAN HELMONT'S EXPERIMENTS
ON PLANT GROWTH is a BBC
video clip.
(could be linked to B7.2)
Students can watch Van Helmont's experiment to investigate how
plants grow. It does not link specifically to B7.2, but it could
enhance and broaden students’ study of the topic, as well as
illustrate Working scientifically.
PRODUCTION OF OXYGEN IN
PLANTS is a BBC video clip.
(could be linked to B7.2)
Students can watch a classic experiment to investigate the
production of oxygen by plants in sunlight. The design of
Ingenhousez’s experiments can be discussed. The control of
variables can be discussed.
PLANT ADAPTATIONS TO
OVERCOME ENVIRONMENTAL
LIMITATIONS is a BBC video clip
from the TV series Botany: A
Blooming History.
(could be linked to B7.3)
Students are Introduced to the idea of limiting factors in
photosynthesis, and the way in which plants are adapted to their
environments.
RESPIRATION AND
PHOTOSYNTHESIS tackles the
misconception that respiration in
plants does not take place at the
same time as photosynthesis.
(could be linked to B7.2 and to
Cellular respiration)
Student can watch an animation showing the key processes of
photosynthesis and respiration. While aimed at post-16 students,
it could be used, with teacher guidance, by younger students.
PLANT, MATTER AND ENERGY
See Chemistry: The particulate nature of matter
PLANT REACTIONS
See Chemistry: Chemical reactions
PLANT NUTRIENTS
See Chemistry: Atoms, elements and compounds
MAKING AND TESTING
NUTRIENTS
See Chemistry: Atoms, elements and compounds
HOMEMADE FERTILISERS
See Chemistry: Atoms, elements and compounds
Cellular respiration
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
B8.1 aerobic and anaerobic respiration in living organisms, including the breakdown of organic molecules to
enable all the other chemical processes necessary for life
B8.2 a word summary for aerobic respiration
B8.3 the process of anaerobic respiration in humans and micro-organisms, including fermentation, and a
word summary for anaerobic respiration
B8.4 the differences between aerobic and anaerobic respiration in terms of the reactants, the products
formed and the implications for the organism
Some common misconceptions that relate to this section

‘Plants don’t respire’

‘Plants only respire at night’

‘Plants breathe in oxygen at night and carbon dioxide during the day’

‘Plants photosynthesise but do not respire’
SAPS resources
Activities and support materials
Notes
INVESTIGATING
PHOTOSYNTHESIS AND
RESPIRATION USING A CARBON
DIOXIDE PROBE
(could be linked to B8.1. B8.2, B8.3,
B8.4)
See Biology: Photosynthesis
RESPIRATION AND
PHOTOSYNTHESIS
(could be linked to B8.1. B8.2, B8.3,
B8.4)
See Biology: Photosynthesis
ABOUT WATER
See Chemistry: Atoms, elements and compounds
PLANT LEAVES AND WATER
Activities: Waterproofing; Transpiration; Stomata under the
microscope.
Students look at what happens when water is dropped on to
leaves and explain their observations. Then they carry out a
practical to observe transpiration and use the particle model and
changes of state explain what is happening. Finally, they examine
stomata under a microscope, linking this to transpiration.
Relationships in an ecosystem
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
B9.1 the interdependence of organisms in an ecosystem, including food webs and insect pollinated crops
B9.2 the importance of plant reproduction through insect pollination in human food security
B9.3 how organisms affect, and are affected by, their environment, including the accumulation of toxic
materials
SAPS resources
Activities and support materials
Notes
MAKING AN ECO-COLUMN to
demonstrate ecosystems and food
chains in the classroom.
(could be linked to B9.1)
Students can identify and record the species within their ecocolumn, draw the food chains, and then predict how the
populations of the different species will change.
MAKING A PORTABLE POND to
investigate water plants and animals.
(could be linked to B9.1)
Students can make a portable pond following the instructions in
Making a portable pond. Three investigations are suggested:
Comparing the effects of day and night, Comparing two water
plants, and Investigating snails. The pond could also be
incorporated into an eco-column.
COPPER POLLUTION FROM
MINES describes how copper
pollution affects the growth of plants,
including a data analysis activity and
a practical.
(could be linked to B9.3)
There various parts to this resource:
Effects of copper on germination (PowerPoint) is a data analysis
exercise that requires graphing
Technical notes for copper germination practical
Data set and technical notes contain useful various data
Images of effect of copper is a file of useful images
Collectively these resources provide students with the opportunity
to investigate the effect of copper on seed germination and
growth.
INVESTIGATING LEAF
ADAPTATIONS - WHY DO
NETTLES STING? is about plant
leaves adapting to deter herbivores.
(could be linked to B9.3)
Students investigate how plant leaves, specifically at stinging
nettles and docks, adapt to deter herbivores. They look at a range
of leaves to identify the most obvious adaptations, investigate the
pH of various leaves and compare the pH of nettle stings with the
pH of dock sap.
Adaptation of plant leaves - image sheet
Adaptations of plant leaves - student sheet
Adaptations of plant leaves - teachers sheet
Students can also watch a demonstration of the investigation.
Video of the demonstration
INVESTIGATIONS WITH VENUS'
FLY TRAPS is about what causes a
Venus' Fly Trap to shut its trap
(could be linked to B9.3)
Students can watch a demonstration of how Venus’ Fly Traps
work. Alternatively (or as well as) they could carry out the
investigation themselves:
Investigating Venus Fly Traps - student notes

Investigating Venus Fly Traps - teacher notes
Inheritance, chromosomes, DNA and genes
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
B10.1 heredity as the process by which genetic information is transmitted from one generation to the next
B10.2 a simple model of chromosomes, genes and DNA in heredity, including the part played by Watson,
Crick, Wilkins and Franklin in the development of the DNA model
B10.3 differences between species
B10.4 the variation between individuals within a species being continuous or discontinuous, to include
measurement and graphical representation of variation
B10.5 the variation between species and between individuals of the same species means some organisms
compete more successfully, which can drive natural selection
B10.6 changes in the environment may leave individuals within a species, and some entire species, less well
adapted to compete successfully and reproduce, which in turn may lead to extinction
B10.7 the importance of maintaining biodiversity and the use of gene banks to preserve hereditary material
SAPS resources
Activities and support materials
Notes
THOMAS FAIRCHILD, SPECIATION
AND EVOLUTION is a BBC video
clip.
(could be linked to B10.1, 10.4)
Students may watch a video about 18th century botanist Thomas
Fairchild and his pioneering work into speciation.
VAVILOV AND THE
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE FIRST
SEED BANKS is a BBC video clip
from the TV series Botany: A
Blooming History.
(could be linked to B10.1, 10.4)
Students may watch a video that introduces Russian scientist
Nikolai Vavilov, and how his aim to cross different varieties of
plants led him to establish the first seed bank. This video can be
used to introduce the ideas of conservation of genetic resources,
especially in the context of changes in climate and the damaging
effects of human activity.
NORMAN BORLAUG AND
SELECTIVE BREEDING OF WHEAT
is a BBC video clip from the TV
series Botany: A Blooming History.
(could be linked to B10.1. 10.4)
Students may watch a video that introduces the American
scientist Norman Borlaug, the man behind the 'green revolution'
credited with saving over a billion people from starvation.
VARIATION, INHERITANCE AND
Students may watch a video that introduces the ideas of
THE WORK OF MENDEL is a BBC
video clip from the TV series Botany:
A Blooming History.
(could be linked to B10.1, 10.4)
inheritance of characteristics, with a discussion of Mendel's
research into patterns of inheritance in pea plants.
WILLIAM BATESON AND P
ATTERNS OF INHERITANCE is a
BBC video clip from the TV series
Botany: A Blooming History.
(could be linked to B10.1, 10.4)
Students may watch a video that continues the story of the
pioneers of genetic research, showing how William Bateson used
logic and patience to explain patterns of inheritance, and the ideas
of dominant and recessive genes. Students can then be given
experimental data to interpret and develop the skills of showing
simple inheritance patterns using punnet squares.
THE BINOMIAL SYSTEM OF
CLASSIFICATION is a BBC video
clip from the TV series Botany: A
Blooming History.
(could be linked broadly to
Inheritance, chromosomes, DNA and
genes)
Students may watch a video that introduces the binomial system
of classification, through the story of Carl Linnaeus. Use as a
starter for a lesson on the different levels of naming and
classification of living organisms.
PLANT ADAPTATIONS TO
OVERCOME ENVIRONMENTAL
LIMITATIONS is a BBC video clip
from the TV series Botany: A
Blooming History.
(could be linked broadly to
Inheritance, chromosomes, DNA and
genes)
Students may watch a video that introduces the idea of limiting
factors in photosynthesis, and the way in which plants are
adapted to their environments. Students can watch the clip and
pick out the factors which would limit the rate of photosynthesis.
This can then lead to experimental work.
HOW TALL WAS THAT FERN?
Activity: Estimating the height
Students are given data about a fossil remain of Neuropteris
hirstus and asked to estimate the height of the fern when it was
alive some 300 million years ago. They consider what this shows
about the evolution of ferns.
EVOLVING SEEDS
Activities: Seed characteristics; Testing times; Evidence to
support hypothesis?
Students look at data gathered by plant ecologist Dr Cindy Looy
from her research into conifer fruits. They use fossil evidence to
show how the design of seeds has evolved.
COCONUTS
See Physics: Forces.
Chemistry
The particulate nature of matter
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
C1.1 the properties of the different states of matter (solid, liquid and gas) in terms of the particle model,
including gas pressure
C1.2 changes of state in terms of the particle model
The particle model may be used to explain the properties of the different states of matter (solid, liquid and
gas) and changes of state.
Some common misconceptions that relate to this section

‘Particles expand on heating’

‘There is air between particles’

‘Particles are the same as visible grains as in rocks, for example’

‘Microbes, cells and particles are much the same’

‘Air doesn’t weigh anything’

‘Sugar disappears when it dissolves’

‘When ice is heated its particles melt’

‘The space between particles is full of air’

‘Particles in a liquid are smaller than in a solid’
SAPS resources
Activities and support materials
Notes
PLANTS, MATTER AND ENERGY
Activities: Matter and particles; Particles in air and water; Particles
in nutrients; Energy
To grow healthily plants need air, water, nutrients, light and
warmth. In this context, students apply the particle model to (a)
matter that makes up plants, (b) air (including carbon dioxide) and
water, (c) salts that are plant nutrients, (d) forces of attraction
between particles and energy transfers when matter changes its
state.
WATER AND PLANT STRUCTURE
See Physics: Particle model
Atoms, elements and compounds
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
C2.1 a simple (Dalton) atomic model
C2.2 differences between atoms, elements and compounds
C2.3 chemical symbols and formulae for elements and compounds
C2.4 conservation of mass changes of state and chemical reactions
Some common misconceptions that relate to this section

‘Particles are the same as visible grains as in rocks, for example’

‘The nucleus of a cell is like the nucleus of an atom’

‘Microbes, cells and particles are much the same’
SAPS resources
Activities and support materials
Notes
ABOUT WATER
Activities: Properties of water; Drops of water; Changes of state.
Water has a crucial role in living plants. Students investigate the
properties of water, including changes of state, surface tension
and ability to dissolve substances. They use the particle model to
explain the properties.
PLANTS, MATTER AND ENERGY
See Chemistry: The particulate nature of matter
PLANT NUTRIENTS
Activities: Particles in salts; Nitrogen compounds; Phosphorus
compounds; Potassium compounds; Magnesium compounds.
Students investigate the nature of particles in salts which are
essential plant nutrients. They learn about simple ions and ions
made from two or more atoms. Then they look at compounds of
nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium which are used
as plant nutrients.
MAKING AND TESTING
NUTRIENTS
Activities: Magnesium sulfate; Ammonium sulfate; Testing your
products.
Students prepare samples of magnesium sulfate and ammonium
sulfate using acid-base reactions. They plan experiments to
assess the effectiveness of these compounds as nutrients (using
protocols provided).
HOMEMADE FERTILISERS
Activities: ‘Homemade plant food’; ‘Epsom salts plant fertiliser’;
Testing ‘Epsom salts plant fertiliser’.
Students investigate formulations for homemade fertilisers and
plan experiments to assess the effectiveness of these compounds
as nutrients (using protocols provided).
Pure and impure substances
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
C3.1 the concept of a pure substance
C3.2 mixtures, including dissolving
C3.3 diffusion in terms of the particle model
C3.4 simple techniques for separating mixtures: filtration, evaporation, distillation and chromatography
C3.5 the identification of pure substances
Some common misconceptions that relate to this section

‘Dissolving is the same as melting’
SAPS resources
Activities and support materials
Notes
INVESTIGATING THE ANTICANCER PROPERTIES OF
PLANTS is part of the SAPS Careers
in Science series. Dr Jess Chu’s
research is about finding plants that
have antioxidant, anti-cancer or
antibacterial properties.
(could be linked to Cells and
organisation and B.1, B6.1)
Students find out about Dr Chu’s work researching Malaysian
rainforest plants. They can carry out their own investigations into
the presence of vitamin C, an antioxidant, in the different parts of
different plants. Teaching and learning notes, Technician notes
and a Career case study are provided. It does not link specifically
to B6.1, but it could enhance and broaden students’ study of the
topic, as well as illustrating Working scientifically. It may need
adaptation for use with 11-14 year olds.
INVESTIGATING THE
ANTIBACTERIAL PROPERTIES OF
PLANTS is part of the SAPS Careers
in Science series. Professor Julian
Ma researches infections, how we
respond to infections and how we
might protect against infections.
After reading about Professor Ma’s work students can test a
number of herbs to find out which ones have antibacterial
properties. The resource consists of Teaching and learning notes,
Technician notes and a Career case study. It does not link
specifically to B6.1, but it could enhance and broaden students’
study of the topic, as well as illustrating Working scientifically. The
resource may need adaptation for use with 11-14 year olds.
(could be linked to B6.1)
CLASSIFICATION TECHNIQUES
AND THE SEARCH FOR USEFUL
PLANTS is a BBC video clip.
(could be linked to B6.1)
Students find out about the search by Kew Gardens’ scientists for
new medicines and other useful plants. A real world use for this is
demonstrated using a variety of sage plant with the ability to
produce a chemical which may be effective in the treatment of
malaria. It does not link specifically to B6.1, but could broaden
students’ studies, as well as illustrating Working scientifically.
Chemical reactions
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
C4.1 chemical reactions as the rearrangement of atoms
C4.2 representing chemical reactions using formulae and using equations
C4.3 combustion, thermal decomposition, oxidation and displacement reactions
C4.4 defining acids and alkalis in terms of neutralisation reactions
C4.5 the pH scale for measuring acidity/alkalinity; and indicators
C4.6 reactions of acids with metals to produce a salt plus hydrogen
C4.7 reactions of acids with alkalis to produce a salt plus water
C4.8 what catalysts do
Some common misconceptions that relate to this section

‘Alkalis (the opposite of acids) aren’t dangerous’

‘Salts are the same as salt (sodium chloride)’
SAPS resources
Activities and support materials
Notes
PLANT REACTIONS
Activities: Ammonia; Urea; Photosynthesis and respiration.
Students investigate the chemistry of reactions that happen in
plants, including photosynthesis and respiration. They apply ideas
about (a) particles (atoms, molecules and ions) and the
rearrangement of atoms, (b) energy stores and transfers
(exothermic and endothermic).
MAKING AND TESTING
NUTRIENTS
See Chemistry: Atoms, elements and compounds
Energetics
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
C5.1 energy changes on changes of state (qualitative)
C5.2 exothermic and endothermic chemical reactions (qualitative)
Energy transfer with the surroundings happens when substances change state. When chemical reactions
happen, energy may be transferred to the surroundings and heat them (exothermic chemical reaction) or
energy may be transferred from the surroundings and heat the reaction mixture (endothermic chemical
reaction).
Some common misconceptions that relate to this section

‘Energy is a material and has mass (like a Mars bar)’

‘Heat is the same as temperature’

‘Thermal radiation is the same as radioactivity (radiation)’
SAPS resources
Activities and support materials
Notes
PLANTS, MATTER AND ENERGY
See Chemistry: The particulate nature of matter
PLANT REACTIONS
See Chemistry: Chemical reactions
The Periodic Table
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
C6.1 the varying physical and chemical properties of different elements
C6.2 the principles underpinning the Mendeleev Periodic Table
C6.3 the Periodic Table: periods and groups; metals and non-metals
C6.4 how patterns in reactions can be predicted with reference to the Periodic Table
C6.5 the properties of metals and non-metals
C6.6 the chemical properties of metal and non-metal oxides with respect to acidity.
Earth and atmosphere
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
C8.1 the composition of the Earth
C8.2 the structure of the Earth
C8.3 the rock cycle and the formation of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks
C8.4 Earth as a source of limited resources and the efficacy of recycling
C8.5 the carbon cycle
C8.6 the composition of the atmosphere
C8.7 the production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the impact on climate
Some common misconceptions that relate to this section

‘Weathering is the same as erosion’

‘Rocks can be broken by freezing’

‘The word ‘materials’ means just textiles/building materials’

‘Particles are the same as visible grains as in rocks, for example’
Physics
Energy changes and transfers
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
P2.2 heating and thermal equilibrium: temperature difference between two objects leading to energy transfer
from the hotter to the cooler one, through contact (conduction) or radiation; such transfers tending to reduce
the temperature difference: use of insulators
P2.3 other processes that involve energy transfer: changing motion, dropping an object, completing an
electrical circuit, stretching a spring, metabolism of food, burning fuels
Some common misconceptions that relate to this section

‘Energy is a material and has mass (like a Mars bar)’

‘Thermal radiation is the same as radioactivity (radiation)’

‘When ice is heated its particles melt’
Changes in systems
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
P3.1 energy as a quantity that can be quantified and calculated; the total energy has the same value before
and after a change
P3.2 comparing the starting with the final conditions of a system and describing increases and decreases in
the amounts of energy associated with movements, temperatures, changes in positions in a field, in elastic
distortions and in chemical compositions
Some common misconceptions that relate to this section

‘Energy is a material and has mass (like a Mars bar)’

‘Heat is the same as temperature’

‘When a car engine burns petrol it uses up energy’

‘There are different forms of energy’
Describing motion
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
P4.1 speed and the quantitative relationship between average speed, distance and time (speed = distance ÷
time)
P4.2 the representation of a journey on a distance-time graph
Forces
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
P5.1 forces as pushes or pulls, arising from the interaction between two objects
P5.2 using force arrows in diagrams, adding forces in one dimension, balanced and unbalanced forces
P5.3 moment as the turning effect of a force
P5.4 forces: associated with deforming objects; stretching and squashing – springs; with rubbing and friction
between surfaces, with pushing things out of the way; resistance to motion of air and water
P5.5 forces measured in newtons, measurements of stretch or compression as force is changed
P5.6 force-extension linear relation; Hooke’s Law as a special case
P5.7 work done and energy changes on deformation
P5.8 non-contact forces: gravity forces acting at a distance on Earth and in space, forces between magnets
and forces due to static electricity
Some common misconceptions that relate to this section

‘Gravity = ‘downness’’

‘When an object is stationary, no forces are acting on it’

‘Heavy objects fall faster than light objects’

‘Something stops moving because the force has run out’

‘There are different forms of energy’
SAPS resources
Activities and support materials
Notes
FALLING FROM TREES
Activities: Does mass matter?; Do size and shape matter?; Using
the particle model to explain.
Students explore the concepts of gravity and air resistance in the
context of falling leaves and falling fruits from trees, and seed
dispersal. They investigate the effects of mass, size and shape
and use the particle model to explain them.
COCONUTS
Activities: Falling coconuts; Floating coconuts; Evolutionary
changes.
Students investigate how coconuts fall to ground and how they
are dispersed by water. They also investigate evolutionary
changes.
PARACHUTING FRUITS
Activities: Watching dandelions flower, fruit and disperse their
seeds; Two alternative models; Investigating further.
Students investigate the wind dispersal of parachute fruits such as
dandelions, making paper models to explore their design.
GLIDING FRUITS
Activities: Watching them glide; Investigating aerodynamics; An
origami Javan cucumber seed.
Students investigate the wind dispersal of gliding fruits such as
the Javan cucumber fruit. They make paper models to investigate
the aerodynamics of design.
SPINNING FRUITS
Activities: Nature’s designs; Design matters; More about design;
Getting closer to a one-winged fruit.
Using just paper sheets and a paper clip, students investigate the
design of fruits that spin in the air, slowing their descent and
allowing them to be dispersed more effectively by the wind.
ONE WINGED FRUITS
Activities: Seed in the centre; Monitoring the flight of sycamore
fruit; How does a one-winged fruit ‘fly’?; An origami model.
Students investigate spinning fruit that have a single wing,
including the position of the seed in the fruit. This includes modelbuilding activities and a data analysis activity.
TWO WINGED FRUITS
Activities: Modelling a two-winged fruit; Investigating the design of
your model winged fruits.
Students investigate spinning fruit that have two wings. This
includes model-building activities and a further investigation into
design factors.
Pressure in fluids
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
P6.1 atmospheric pressure, decreases with increase of height as weight of air above decreases with height
P6.2 pressure in liquids, increasing with depth; upthrust effects, floating and sinking
P6.3 pressure measured by ratio of force over area – acting normal to any surface
SAPS resources
Activities and support materials
Notes
HOW TALL WAS THAT FERN?
See Biology: Inheritance, chromosomes, DNA and genes
Balanced forces
P7.1 opposing forces and equilibrium: weight held by stretched spring or supported on a compressed
surface
Some common misconceptions

‘When an object is stationary, no forces are acting on it’

‘Something stops moving because the force has run out’
Forces and motion
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
P8.1 forces being needed to cause objects to stop or start moving, or to change their speed or direction of
motion (qualitative only)
P8.2 change depending on direction of force and its size
Energy and waves
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
P11.1 pressure waves transferring energy; use for cleaning and physiotherapy by ultra-sound; waves
transferring information for conversion to electrical signals by microphone
Some common misconceptions that relate to this section

‘Energy is a material and has mass (like a Mars bar)’

‘Thermal radiation is the same as radioactivity (radiation)’
Light waves
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
P12.5 light transferring energy from source to absorber leading to chemical and electrical effects; photosensitive material in the retina and in cameras
P12.6 colours and the different frequencies of light, white light and prisms (qualitative only); differential
colour effects in absorption and diffuse reflection
Some common misconceptions that relate to this section

‘Shining objects are sources of light’

‘Thermal radiation is the same as radioactivity (radiation)’

‘Light travels from the eye’
Physical changes
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
P16.1 conservation of material and of mass, and reversibility, in melting, freezing, evaporation, sublimation,
condensation, dissolving
P16.2 similarities and differences, including density differences, between solids, liquids and gases
P16.3 Brownian motion in gases
P16.4 diffusion in liquids and gases driven by differences in concentration
P16.5 the difference between chemical and physical changes
SAPS resources
Activities and support materials
Notes
HOW TALL WAS THAT FERN?
See Biology: Inheritance, chromosomes, DNA and genes
WATER AND PLANT STRUCTURE
Activities: Wilting plants; Learning from carrots; Interpreting data;
Measuring flexibility.
Students investigate the role of water in providing structural
strength to plants. They lean about turgid and flaccid cells and the
importance of osmosis as the way that water enters and leaves
plant cells.
Particle model
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
P17.1 the differences in arrangements, in motion and in closeness of particles explaining changes of state,
shape and density, the anomaly of ice-water transition
P17.2 atoms and molecules as particles
Some common misconceptions that relate to this section

‘Particles expand on heating’

‘There is air between particles’

‘When ice is heated its particles melt’

‘The space between particles is full of air’

‘Particles in a liquid are smaller than in a solid’
SAPS resources
Activities and support materials
Notes
PLANTS, MATTER AND ENERGY
See Chemistry: The particulate nature of matter
Energy in matter
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
P18.1 changes with temperature in motion and spacing of particles
P18.2 internal energy stored in materials
Some common misconceptions that relate to this section

‘Energy is a material and has mass (like a Mars bar)’

‘There are different forms of energy’

‘Heat is the same as temperature’
SAPS resources
Activities and support materials
Notes
PLANTS, MATTER AND ENERGY
See Chemistry: The particulate nature of matter
Space physics
For example, from the KS3 Programme of Study
P19.1 gravity force, weight = mass x gravitational field strength (g), on Earth g=10 N/kg, different on other
planets and stars; gravity forces between Earth and Moon, and between Earth and Sun (qualitative only)
Some common misconceptions that relate to this section

‘You would weigh less on the moon’
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