Typically completed by 5-11 year olds, CREST Star and SuperStar challenges relate to everyday experiences. Children complete eight activities to gain a CREST Award, with each activity taking between 45 minutes and 1 hour to complete.
The activities are designed to be easy-to-run and low-cost. You don’t need to be a teacher, have a science background or have access to specialist equipment to run them. The packs contain helpful hints and tips for you to use, explaining the scientific themes and offering guidance on conversation topics for your children.
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Plant Detectives Organiser’s Card About the activity This activity is designed to get children thinking about where plants grow. Cosmic has found a plant growing out of the pavement. He can’t work out how it got there. Plants grow in gardens, not pavements – don’t they? Cosmic and Gem need to be plant detectives and look for clues! But where should they look to solve the mystery? Through this activity you will support your group to: • Think about where plants grow and how they get there • Investigate and discover plants in their surroundings • Record their results and present them in an album or poster Kit list • Access to a safe outdoor environment, ideally with a variety of surfaces such as brick walls, paving, concrete, grass • Magnifying glass or digital microscope (optional) • Identification guide • Camera(s) or drawing equipment What to do 1. Follow the instructions on the ACTIVITY CARD. Make sure you give the children time to talk about their ideas. 2. Read the story. Get the children to talk to each other about the questions and the opinions of Aunt Stella, Cosmic and Gem. 3. Talk with the children about where they can search for plants. Encourage them to think of unusual places to look. 4. Discuss with the children how they will record their findings and make sure everyone stays safe. 5. Children can collect samples, take photographs or create drawings. If you provide a map or plan of the area, they can add stickers or their images to record where plants were found. Confident children may be able to make their own maps or plans 6. Warn children not to eat any part of the plants that they find. 7. Encourage children to think how the plants they find have got there. 8. When the children finish hunting let them share their clues about what they have discovered. 9. Can they decide how the plants got to their locations?. 10. There are follow up activities for children who have finished or who want to do more finding out at home and earn a bonus sticker.
Things to think about The plants that are found during the hunt will vary depending on the time of year. You can repeat this activity in different seasons and find out how the plants change. Most children will think that plants need to be planted in soil to grow. They may not be aware that plants (including tree seedlings) can grow in many places where there is little or no soil – for example, between bricks and paving stones, on walls, in gutters, in cracks in the bark of trees and in water. Some plants are adapted to survive in difficult conditions. For example, rosebay willowherb and poppy are plants that grow readily in very sparse conditions. Plants get to these locations in various ways, including wind dispersal and being carried by birds or other animals. Some may spread from other areas by plants growing sideways stems (stolons and rhizomes). Take it further During the plant hunt the children may also find mosses, lichen and fungi. All of these are classified separately from the common plants (such as trees, flowers and grasses); lichens and fungi are not actually plants. Keywords • Plants • Seeds • Sampling • Nature Watch out! Follow the organisation’s guidelines for outdoor work. Children must not put any plants in their mouths. Ensure they wash their hands when they have finished. PLANT DETECTIVE British Science Association Registered Charity No. 212479 and SC039236