Spirulina for science and biology teachers
As modern teachers know, the blackboard is just not enough to keep young minds interested and inspired.
Hands-on discovery using real life systems that can be engaged with and measured are key.
Of course, teaching aides need to be appropriate in terms of what is affordable and possible within a classroom.
10 reasons why spirulina makes an excellent teaching resource
1. Can be used as a doorway to a range of science related subjects
Spirulina is relatively cheap to acquire and maintain.
The starting volume can be rapidly expanded to a working volume of 100 litres or more, the major input being an inexpensive starter nutrient mix.
3. Economy of space
To maintain 100 litres of spirulina culture requires only the space it takes for a medium sized aquarium.
4. Doesn’t require much effort to maintain
To maintain an aquarium tank of spirulina requires no more than 20 minutes per week. Doable!!
5. Spirulina is totally safe to work with
6. Leads to interesting lines of enquiry
Because a Spirulina culture it made up of a “community” of trillions of living cells it can be used to investigate various questions that can illustrate broader biological and scientific principles.
7. Meaningful experiments are easy to set-up and run
8. Rapid response times
Under ideal (control) conditions it can double its biomass every 24 hours. Thus, a measurable response to a set of treatments can be expected within a few days.
9. Don’t need complicated or expensive instruments
Meaningful experiments can be run with relatively inexpensive equipment that any reasonably resourced school science lab should have.
10. Spirulina has relevance in the real world
A complaint often made by secondary students about the subject matter they are asked to study is “what relevance does this have in the real world?”.
Spirulina definitely has applications outside of the lab. For a start, it is currently produced and sold in commercial quantities by the health food industry. In fact, spirulina has a vast array of nutritional and health related benefits and has been described as the perfect food for humanity by FAO. Read more here.
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The ultimate science teacher's pet: how to use Spirulina as a powerful learning resource.
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