Tuesday, 14 May 2013


I am trying to support my eldest as best I can in his last minute revision for Biology IGCSE which he takes next week. My plan this afternoon was to take a part of the specification and teach it to his brother and sister and he could join in. Interactive and fun, I thought, and better than sitting with a text-book. He did not think so, and with gentle politeness said he'd rather revise alone. So I took his younger siblings to the wood just behind our house and we collected leaves: big ones, little ones, spiky and smooth ones.
We looked at them, listed their similarities and differences and discussed what leaves do and then got out the paints. We made Lego water and carbon dioxide, dismantled them and made Lego glucose and oxygen with the pieces. By this stage their big brother decided to join us. He looked up xylem and phloem for us and made sure that our Lego equation balanced.

The younger two had had enough by this point so they left and my eldest and I broke up our Lego glucose and "respired it" to return it to carbon dioxide and water. We talked about the energy changes and my son was deeply impressed that something as amazing as the breaking of inter-molecular bonds could happen in something as ordinary as a leaf. It was interesting, I hope it was memorable, and it was a good afternoon's work.

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