The Seed Eater Project: Cross curricula activities for ecology, maths, computing and beyond
A range of resources and activities aimed at the interface of computing and mathematics with biology are available at btle.york.ac.uk/seedeater.
Based on published research (Wyse et al. 2019) into wind-dispersal of seeds, these resources support teaching activities for groups of school-age children that combine digital making, ecology and citizen science. These take students from outdoor tree identification and seed collection, through the creation of a programmable physical device that measures seed terminal velocity (‘the Seed Eater’), to considering the implications of seed physiology and velocity on the potential spread of the species across landscapes.
A key part of this project is to highlight the interdisciplinary nature of opportunities in biology by providing examples of the many different hats a scientist may wear: from traditional scientists to natural historians, coders, statisticians, mathematical modellers, creative thinkers and engineers. It also touches on the positive association between connectedness to nature and wellbeing, encouraging students to appreciate and explore their local environments and learn to look and see what is really there.
The resources will allow groups to engage at a range of levels of understanding, and in part of the project rather than the whole, so they can be delivered over appropriate/convenient time-scales from KS1 to sixth form level. Each section contains background information, suggested activities for groups and individuals, data recording sheets, and stretch activities for students to carry out in class or at home. The resources are provided as google slides under a creative commons license so that you can edit and adapt them for your own educational needs, with links to the National Curriculum highlighted throughout. The focus is currently on KS3 & 4, but we will be developing and extending them as time goes by.
We welcome feedback and engagement with the project from anyone who is interested in taking part. We currently have funding to provide a number of Seed Eater kits (all the necessary hardware to get up and running with a Raspberry Pi, camera module and lighting to build your own Seed Eater) for groups from areas of low participation - links on the website to apply, along with all the resources, links to associated articles and research, and feedback forms.
Pen (@Anaspene on twitter, or email email@example.com)