Spirulina for Science and Biology Teachers

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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 is key. Of course, teaching aides need to be appropriate in terms of what is affordable and possible within a classroom.

 

Why does Spirulina make an excellent teaching resource?

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Here are 10 reasons:

  1. It can be used as a doorway to a range of science-related subjects.
  2. Affordability – Spirulina is surprisingly inexpensive to acquire and maintain: The starting volume can be rapidly expanded to a working volume of 100 litres or more with the major input being an inexpensive starter nutrient mix.
  3. Economy of space: The maintenance of 100 litres of Spirulina culture requires the area that a medium-sized aquarium occupies.
  4. It doesn’t require much effort to maintain: The maintenance of a Spirulina tank requires no more than 20 minutes per week. Doable!
  5. Spirulina is completely safe to work with.
  6. It leads to interesting lines of enquiry: Because a Spirulina culture is 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. A measurable response to a set of treatments can therefore be expected within a few days.
  9. You 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. And in actuality, Spirulina has a vast array of nutritional and health-related benefits and has been described as the perfect food for humanity by the FAO. Read more here.

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