In May, I set up my own business and at last found time to become a STEM Ambassador.
Today, I completed my first assignment, providing a practical lesson to bring Evolution, Genetics and Inheritance to life and providing industry context.
Armed with a bundle of wheat (sadly purchased from a florist) and a simple presentation, I arrived in a classroom of 24, 10-11 year olds.
My father had been fascinated by Mendel and his peas; so I was keen to share this story.
We had great fun, thinking about what we used wheat for today and how it was constructed. Identifying good and bad traits and determining which specimen we would select to breed from. It got a bit messy, as some groups threshed the heads to count the grains, others tried to grind the grains to find the flour! Many saw the hulls as an unnecessary waste and one girl thought it would be more efficient to have one big grain, than lots of small ones.
It wasn’t possible to take quite the same approach with chickens and cattle, although I have a feeling the children would have enjoyed the challenge! Instead we thought about how we have breeds which specialise in delivering eggs or meat and milk or meat. We even discussed what might be needed to improve the welfare of cattle in the on-going floods through choosing different breeds for the situation.
Prior to the interactive session, I introduced some key words to them: Chromosomes, DNA, Genes, Traits, Genotypes and Phenotypes. I was blown away, when at the end of the lesson, they managed (collectively) to recall them all. I really wasn’t expecting that!
I am now even more committed to maintaining space in my diary to do more work to promote agricultural science in school.
#makingadifference #stem ambassador