Scenario 2: The Glasshouse

Some botanical collections are based in glasshouses to create different environmental conditions experienced across the world, such as, desert – temperate – tropical. These collections are valuable for learning about plant adaptation and response to the environment. Using GeoSciTeach a teacher can structure and support relevant learning ideas through the physical learning context. The teacher wants students to explore the different environmental conditions, compare them to ‘natural conditions’, find out how the same plants adapt to living in other areas where the environment is not controlled. Using GeoSciTeach the teacher tags selected locations and/or plants with alternative information, which is sent to the smartphone at appropriate points in their learning activity. Using GeoSciTeach the students collect data from the different environments through e.g. recording moisture levels in the air (humidity); air temperature; soil moisture levels, light intensity, light quality (wavelength) etc in the different zones in the glasshouse. GeoSciTeach automatically logs the location of the recording, and the recording itself. The student compares his own readings with others taken in the same location, or the same kind of reading across locations, allowing for evaluation of data reliability and validity, a key skill in Science. The student takes pictures of plants in a particular zone and labels them. Teacher tagged information is triggered (related to student location and/activity) providing for example, places in the world where this plant can be found; or uses of the plants: medicinal/clothing/building, taxonomical information or historic information about the plant’s discovery); or with suggestions/ questions to help the students further their investigation. For example, alternative locations outside the glasshouse to take more recordings, measurements and photographs to capture the plant’s visible physical characteristics (e.g. height, number of leaves) as a result of (or phenotypic response to) the environmental conditions. All data are stored onto the phone to be used back in the classroom through large screen visualisation. This would allow pupils to make comparisons between plant responses in the different environments and also between the data gathered by different groups.

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