From September 2016, all students in England are required to study common plant diseases as part of their GCSE Biology courses.
Alistair Moore from the University of York Science Education Group worked with Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS) and experts in the field to develop practical activities and other teaching and learning resources for this new area of the biology curriculum.
According to the 2016 Key Stage 4 subject content criteria, GCSE Biology students are required to:
In this practical activity, students explore how the technique of re-infection (using infected material to infect healthy plant tissue) can help to identify the cause of a plant disease.
This activity was developed with the assistance of Dr Charles Lane at Fera Science Ltd.
In this practical activity, students use magnification to examine leaves showing symptoms of a common plant disease, and produce labelled drawings of the fungal spores.
This activity was developed with the assistance of Dr Paul Beales at the Animal and Plant Health Agency.
In this practical and data analysis activity students collect samples of leaves showing samples of infection with powdery mildew; the samples can be sent for analysis as part of the Powdery Mildew Survey citizen science project. Students analyse data from the survey at the end of this activity.
This activity was developed with the assistance of Oliver Ellingham at the University of Reading.
In this paper-based activity students act as detectives, piecing together information from the sources provided to identify common plant diseases, including the type of pathogen causing it, ways in which the disease is spread, and how to stop the spread.
This engaging poster depicts ‘the never-ending battle for fortress plant’, describing the physical and chemical defences of plants and how pathogens attack and invade.