My eldest enjoys Biology but she likes human and animal biology and is not that keen on plant biology so we have neglected that a bit (she loves gardening and growing her own plants its just the reading up about plants that she does not seem to find interesting). However we were recently discussing some animal food chains and animal conservation and my son realized how important plants are and actually requested that we do a section of “how plants work” – i.e. what is photosynthesis and plant respiration. Now, I am like my daughter and I also tend to prefer the human and animal side of biology but I knew we need to cover this and it just so happened I had the Plant and Photosynthesis Topic Pack from Oaka Books that I had been quietly hiding at the bottom of my resource pile (my form of procrastination – if it is at the bottom of the pile of my learning books than it is me saying we will get it to at some stage, just not right now).
The Plant and Photosynthesis topic pack is a KS3 Science Topic so it is aimed at kids in secondary school and my youngest is still year 5 (which is primary in the UK) but we have used some of the History KS3 Topic Packs with him before and it was not a problem. I think one of the reasons I am happy to use the KS3 Topic Packs with my youngest is they do not require long paragraph type answers. The Write Your Own Notes tend to be either fill in missing words or shorter written answers, if it was longer discussion type questions I think he might find it a bit more challenging.
As always we read through the Topic Booklet and this time we also found a few sections on the BBC Bitesize website where we could read and watch some short clips. Then both the kids filled out their Write Your Own Notes. We split the Write Your Own notes into sections – and did different sections on different days. In the past if my daughter is using the Write Your Own Notes as a revision activity then she might sit and complete it in one go but this time we were learning about a new topic so we did it it slowly and with extra reading and video clips added in.
My son initially had questions about how photosynthesis and plant respiration work together, and we both felt like the Topic Booklet covered the differences and how they work together in a cycle well. It made something that could be confusing, clear.
After we had worked through the Topic Booklet and the Write Your Own Notes Booklet we played the game. These games are just the best, they are always our favourite part of the Topic Pack, the kids enjoy them and I really find them a brilliant learning tool. You can quickly see what it is the kids know and what it is they may be struggling with all by just playing a quick board game.
For those of you who want to know this is what it pack covers
- Plant cells vs animal cells (the details of the different parts of the cells are covered in the Cells and Organisation Part 1 pack)
- Palisade cells, Guard cells, Stomata, Phloem Tubes and Xylem Tubes.
- What is photosynthesis, the word equation for it.
- Respiration, the word equation and how photosynthesis and respiration differ
- Minerals, glucose, plant biomass
- Do plants sweet, transpiration, different leaves.
- Soil and how it relates to healthy plants
- Plants and air
- A Diagram of the Carbon Cycle (we did find it useful to understand the Carbon Cycles before we looked at this section)
- Composition of Air
- Structure of a Leaf
- How to test for Starch in a leaf.
I must admit after repeatedly putting off the Photosynthesis Topic it actually turned out to be a nice and easy topic to cover with both my kids. And I feel like not only did we deal with photosynthesis and plant respiration but we also revised our animal and plant cells, our previous learning about soil and the Carbon Cycle plus we are now extending it into some animal food chains and food webs next week. Really there was no need to put it off for so long, everything that we needed to get us on the right path was right here in the Topic Pack.