Tag Archives: botany

Snap Science- free primary teaching resources

The Snap Science programme has been designed to cover the new primary science curriculum with enquiry, exploration, investigation and true progression at it’s core. Every lesson is already differentiated and the lessons aim to make challenging concepts meaningful for students.  At £100 a Year Group it’s affordable enough but to check out the kind of resources and ideas that are presented Collins Connect have made the Year 3 – Plants module available here Collins Connect – free primary teaching resources. Being a plant biologist, I like the way they are approaching the topic in a questions based way. What is this for? Are all roots the same? Why are petals different colours? This is in stark contrast to the labelling parts of a plant on a worksheet which I have seen way too often in the primary clas

sroom. There is also a lot of scope to develop child-led investigations out of the lessons and easy to put in different types of enquiry in experiments such as pattern seeking and classification.  See what you think!


Problem Prosecco?

uvaGlera is a white variety of grape of Italian origin. Glera is a grape known to many people but perhaps only by it’s former name; Prosecco. Yes, this grape is responsible for that lovely refreshing sparkling wine Prosecco synonymous with warm summer evenings and outdoor dining with friends. The name Prosecco is believed to be derived from the village Prosecco near Trieste, where the grape originated. It has been proposed that it was cultivated already in Roman times, possibly as the vinum pucinum praised by Pliny the Elder, although that is quite a loose link really. But kind of cool.

ruggeri-prosecco-uvaWhat is not so cool is the Glera grapes have suffered a number of poor seasons and many of the vineyards in the Trieste in Italy are reporting significant losses in crop yield this year. Some experts are warning of a very real possibility of a global shortage of Prosecco from this summer.  Roberto Cremonese, Export Manager of Bisol reports that almost 50% of the crop was lost this year due to environmental factors.

“A lot of the vines in the DOC area are newly planted and they ended up soaked – the grapes were rotten and yields were down by half in some cases.”

As a result of this news, my Facebook feed is full of ladies declaring they have stocked up their Prosecco supply so let’s hope this is just scaremongering by a very clever marketing guru somewhere…

Where do pineapples come from?

A flowering pineapple
A flowering pineapple

I’ve recently been in Kerala, India and one of the most surprising outcomes of my trip was that I learned I didn’t know where pineapples came from, how they grew, what a baby pineapple looked like. This might be surprising to some people but I grew up in Ireland and we don’t exactly have the right climate for pineapple cultivation. Since then, I have asked others (albeit Irish and English people) where they thought pineapples came from and the answer was always the same – “Erm….a pineapple tree?” . So it’s not just me! When I came across this flowering pineapple I was stunned and actually stopped to consider all the questions that I now had about pineapple botany. And there were a lot….

The scientific name for the pineapple plant is Ananas comosusananas coming form the Tupi word for  “excellent fruit” and comosus, “tufted”. The Pineapple – An Excellent Tufted Fruit.

So, no there is no such thing as a pineapple tree but rather they grow on medium-sized shrubs on the ground, surrounded by clumps of sword-shaped leaves. The leaves are evergreen and a grey-green colour with rather sharp saw toothed edges. These leaves grow in rosettes from the base of the plants and can reach 30-100cm. When creating its fruit, it usually produces up to 200 purple or red flowers. Once it flowers, the individual fruits of the flowers join together to create what the pineapple which we know and love.

I have found a great tutorial on how to grow your own pineapple plant at home which I am definitely going to give a go! Just remove the crown and put into water until you roots develop then repot. Seems almost too easy but I’ll report back shortly!