British Science Week runs from the 8th-17th March. There is a range of different activities and resources you can use to take part in this week celebrating science.
Based at RHS Garden Wisley we have a team of scientists who help gardeners across the UK by identifying plants, pests and diseases or studying soils and the environment. These scientists work across four different teams; entomology, herbarium, plant pathology and environment. A scientist from each of these teams has created an exciting activity for Science Week. These range from the Invisible Garden to the Compost Kitchen. All the activities are aimed at Key Stage 3 and 4 (England) and National Levels 3 and 4 (Scotland) but could be adapted for other age groups. The activities can be easily planned into class time or used as a fun lesson for an extracurricular club.
To see each activity please download the pdfs from the links below.
Entomology: The Invisible Garden
What lives in your school garden? There are so many different mini beasts that live in and around your garden. This activity gets students to look more closely at invertebrate animals that they have probably already encountered in their gardens. It requires collection from the garden of a variety of invertebrates. The teaching notes below will explain how to collect and contain these mini beasts.
As part of this activity you could get your students out in the garden identifying the mini beasts they find. Use our Mini beast identification key to help you do this. Your students could also find out what creatures live in the school's compost bins using our fun activity, Who lives in a place like this.
Use the Worms up close activity to learn more about the worms you find in your garden or study slugs using our Identify a slug - body parts spotter guide to learn more about these garden visitors.
Plant Pathology: Plant Crime Scene Investigation (CSI)
Are your students ready to become detectives? Pests and diseases are plant killers in gardens across the UK. This activity will have your students working in teams as detectives examining pest and disease damage on plants and identifying the culprit. Students will then create a key to show how they identified the pest or disease.
Do you know of all the common pests and diseases you can find in the garden? Use this Common pests and diseases information sheet to learn more about them.
Environment (Soils): The Compost Kitchen
Learn all about soils and how to create the best soil for plants to grow in. Soil is vital to plant growth and health. Different soils are also home to many living creatures and plant roots are a supportive part of this. In this activity students will design their own growing media. This can also be used as a class experiment to see whose soil grows the best plants.
Why not extend this activity by carrying out the Be a soil scientist activity in your school garden.
Alternatively you could discover How much soil we have on Earth. You could even study soil erosion using The power of water! experiment.
Herbarium: Herbarium Leaf Classification
This herbarium activity gives students the chance to press their own plant specimen. The aim is to then use a key to identify which plant the students have pressed. For example this activity looks at the Rosaceae plant family which includes plants from roses to apples and strawberries. Students will learn new plant feature terms and will be able to understand why plant classification is so important.
The lesson plan below will explain all the following handouts and what they will be used for in the session.
Herbarium lesson plan for teachers
Handouts for students:
Extend this activity further by Making your own herbarium specimen. Follow our activity guide to press plants like a botanist.