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Newsletter – February 2014

This month, we highlight some student activities you can use with younger students to spark their interest in biotechnology. Each activity sits within a story of the development of a contemporary New Zealand biotechnology so it provides authentic and relevant contexts for learning.

Spark interest in biotech: hands-on activities for younger students

Making fermented drinks

Students experiment with yeast and do research to help them modify an existing recipe for a fermented drink (such as ginger beer) to produce a drink that would appeal to their school or community.

The potato plate product.
Testing the degradability of potato plates

Students experiment with a range of disposable plates made from different materials, including potato plates, and compare rates of degradation. Potato plates are made in Blenheim using recycled potato starch and break down quickly in home compost.

Make a muesli bar

Students develop their knowledge of healthy food choices and product development and produce a snack bar to meet the energy needs of a specific target market.

Pea crab inside mussel
Investigate how pea crabs affect supermarket mussels

Students observe green-lipped mussels to determine the impact of pea crab infestation on their size and weight. It provides opportunities to consider how green-lipped mussels are farmed in New Zealand and the impacts of threats to the industry (such as pea crabs).

More teaching ideas

You can use our Advanced Search for more teaching ideas and filter by topic, level or curriculum strand. All teaching ideas on the Hub are downloadable Word documents, so you can modify them to suit your students’ needs.

News and events

Keep up to date with the latest biotechnology news, events and radio broadcasts. You can use our news stories to update your own knowledge, as discussion starters, springboards to student inquiry or links to science or technology topics you teach.

Pollination and seeds

Bee-pollinated fruits have longer shelf life – News story

Strawberries grown from bee-pollinated flowers are more prolific, last longer and are better quality than those that are self-pollinated or pollinated by wind, according to recently published research.

NZ bionic leg company to be sold – News story

Rex Bionics, an Auckland-based company making bionic legs, is expecting to quadruple in size in 2014 following an $18 million buy-out offer by UK-based Union MedTech.

More news and events

Contact us

We’d like to hear from you if you’re using Hub resources in the classroom or if you’re interested in helping us develop new resources. Please email enquiries@biotechlearn.org.nz, and we’ll be in touch.

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Best wishes
The Biotechnology Learning Hub team
www.biotechlearn.org.nz

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