How can we investigate photosynthesis in the Arctic safely?

Lesson overview

Students work scientifically by assessing the risks of working in a lab and the more extreme environment of the Arctic. The context of the lesson is Dr Victoria Hill’s work into how algal growth is affected by the changing photoperiod in the Arctic.

Learning outcomes

  • Identify hazards
  • Describe how to control common hazards
  • Define the terms ‘risk’, ‘hazard’ and ‘precaution’
  • Complete a risk assessment

Lesson steps

  1. Brief from Dr Victoria Hill and brine channel demo (10 mins)
    Use the slides to set the context and share the learning outcomes. Use ice cubes and drops of food colouring to demonstrate the tiny ice channels algae inhabit.
  2. Practical work (20 mins)
    Students investigate the growth of algae in ice at different times of year using Student Sheet 4a.
  3. Hazards card sort (15 mins)
    Use slides to define the key terms. Students complete a card sort to decide the levels of risk for different hazards of the practical in Step 2.
    Using slides students discuss the additional hazards presented by working in the Arctic.
  4. Summary assessment task (10 mins)
    Students demonstrate their learning by completing a slide-based task.
  5. Self-reflection (5 mins)
    Using slides, students consider how alternative ‘teachers’ may have delivered the lesson.