Contaminated Crops

Big Research Question: What scientific research could help to reduce the human intake of radioactive isotopes from crops grown in contaminated areas?

Contaminated Crops 422

Nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl and Fukushima have resulted in land being contaminated by radioactive isotopes.
In this activity students consider how research into variations in the uptake of radioactive isotopes by crop plants could be used to reduce human intake.

Curriculum key words: phytoextraction, ion, isotope, minerals, roots
Resource type: Lesson activity including presentation slides, student sheets, teacher notes and useful weblinks.
Ages: 14-18

  Contaminated Crops_teacher guidance FINAL.PPTX

  Contaminated Crops_Student presentation FINAL.PPTX

Featured Researcher: Plant Scientist, Dr Beth Penrose, shares her story about the career she chose and her top tips for young people considering a STEM career.

How to use this resource

at the start of a topic to …
  • engage students in a real life context relating to current research
  • to find out what students already know 
  • consolidate existing understanding

at the end of a topic to…
  • assess student understanding by challenging students to apply their learning to a new context
  • to provide a contemporary example of how scientists are pushing the boundaries in understanding a subject area further
  • add depth and challenge

within a topic to …
  • enhance students’ confidence in the analysis of data by providing the opportunity to work with data types beyond those obtained in the school laboratory
  • assess student understanding of specific aspects of working with data (working scientifically by applying their understanding in a new context)

  • as an independent learning activity 

  • to promote careers in STEM and show the varied work of scientists

Image Credit: ChengH