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Friday, January 5 • 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Going Bananas for Food Security W70

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What you will take away from this session:
  • A safe and accessible food security and microbiology class practical suitable for KS3 or KS4, which replicates current academic research, and is linked to knowledge and understanding, stipulated practicals and apparatus and technique skills in the GCSE specifications. We also provide project ideas for older students that may wish to take this area of research further, for example as an extended project qualification.
  • In addition to the practical we are providing a unique data set (and supporting material) from Eden Project’s Rainforest Biome for you to use with your class. The dataset complements the class practical and lends itself to questions that are matched to the working scientifically part of the curriculum and reflect the full range of assessment objectives. We’ve even written the questions for you!
  • A tangible case study/real world example which you can use to show your students how science (and careers in STEM) can develop solutions to challenges facing the world, such as sustainable methods for securing food supplies.
  • The confidence to deliver one of the most crucial aspects of biological research to your students.
  • An opportunity to revitalise the role of practical work and challenge your students to think and work in different ways.

Further background information about the session:

Food Security can be one of the more challenging aspects of the curriculum for teachers to deliver. This session is designed to support teachers’ development of specialist knowledge and current research in this area framed within the context of an engaging lab practical that they will be able to carry out with their own students.
Panama disease severely affects banana production in all banana-producing regions of the world and it is one of the most destructive plant diseases. Therefore, it represents a significant threat to global food security. The presence of Fusarium oxysporum, the Fungus responsible for Panama disease has been confirmed in Eden Project’s Rainforest Biome. This fungus is soil borne, and spores can easily be transferred in water or on tools or footwear.
Dr Rachel Warmington is Eden’s plant pathologist and responsible for monitoring and controlling plant diseases with the biome, however her research has global implications.
Previous research has suggested that that intercropping banana plants with species of alliums (garlic, onion, leek, chive and so on) could reduce the incidence of Panama disease. Dr Warmington is currently working with Exeter University researching this relationship. In parallel to this research Robbie Kirkman (Education Team Lead) and Dr Warmington have developed a classroom based practical and dataset that enables your students to investigate this relationship for themselves.
The innovative practical uses a technique called 'well diffusion' and allows students to investigate this relationship substituting Fusarium oxysporum for baker’s yeast. The practical doesn’t require any equipment not found in a standard school lab, however, there are lots of opportunities to use more advanced kit if it is available in your school.

avatar for Chris Bisson

Chris Bisson

Policy Development Manager, Eden Project
avatar for Robbie Kirkman

Robbie Kirkman

Education Team Lead, Eden Project
Robbie works on the education team at Eden and is the Education Team Lead. He has a BSc in Marine Biology and Oceanography and a science PGCE. Robbie taught science in secondary schools in Cornwall for several years before beginning work at Eden 7 years ago. This has given him a broad... Read More →
avatar for Rachel Warmington

Rachel Warmington

Plant Pathologist, Eden Project

Friday January 5, 2018 12:00pm - 2:00pm GMT