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Heartsease Primary - Lunchbox Science : Potato


Scientists Dr Ronny Kellner and Dr Marina Pais of The Sainsbury Laboratory accompanied by Dr Joe Win and Aleksandra Bialas worked with artist Lara A’Court and writer Tom Warner in year 5 at Heartsease Primary.

Ronny asked the children what they knew about the different parts of a plant and then asked them if plants can get ill. The children were given some healthy and some infected samples of poplar leaves, campion flowers and potato leaves to examine with magnifying glasses and microscopes and were asked to look for differences between the healthy and diseased plants. They learned about pathogens that can cause disease and made leaf prints on agar plates to observe which microbes grew after a few days on the windowsill.

The class were introduced to the concept of resistance genes in plants like potato that can stop pathogens infecting them by playing a game that the scientists had made. Tom used the scientific images of diseased leaf surfaces as a starting point for the poetry were children were asked to imagine that the images were the surfaces of planets that they had landed on. They loved this idea and wrote some lovely poems that they performed to the class. Lara extended this concept in the art session by getting the class to make ‘microbes’ out of recycled and craft materials to live on their planets.