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Mile Cross Primary - Lunchbox Science: Wheat



Scientist, Simon Orford from the Wheat Improvement Strategic Programme at the John Innes Centre worked with artist Molly Barrett and writer Mike O’Driscoll to deliver a wheat-themed project for Jacqui Harris and her class of year 4 children.

Simon started the day by telling the class a bit about his job as a scientist and then focused in on his research. He used a Wheat Crops Question and Answer game to find out what the children knew and to introduce some amazing wheat facts to them. The children then took a closer look at the parts of growing wheat plants by dissecting them. Simon introduced how patterns of DNA on wheat chromosomes can inform breeders and be used to create new varieties.

The children were instructed by Mike on how to write an ode in praise of something inspired by odes to wheat by Classical poets. After brain storming words that could be used and hearing an ode to wheat written by Mike ,the children wrote their own and then read them out to the rest of the class. Finally, Molly got the children to use clay in 4 different colours to make small square tiles by rolling, measuring and cutting. The tiles were decorated by impressing with parts of the wheat that the children had dissected (seed cases, seeds, stem pieces etc.) and then arranged on a board to echo the patterns of wheat chromosomes and DNA markers.