IRIS

IRIS is a charitable trust supporting young people and teachers to develop authentic research in schools. It gives students access to the world of real, cutting edge science by bringing university and industrial experts and equipment into school laboratories. When sixth form students take part in research, greater numbers go on to study science at university and take up careers in science and engineering. By working with teachers to develop their research interests, IRIS also helps to boost their own career development.

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May 2017 RHS Slug it Research Project

The School has proudly signed up for the ‘Slug It’ research being carried out by the Royal Horticultural Society.

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Two weeks ago we received our batch of 24 lettuce plants which we potted up across 6 pots with the help of some Yr11 volunteers. They were then left to grow and establish themselves for 2 weeks in the greenhouse attached to the science block at Clarendon prior to the experiment starting. We had a strict schedule to keep as all participating research groups are running the experiment over the same time period

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On Friday 5th May the experiment went live. With the help of some yr7 and yr12 volunteers the pots were assigned a barrier at random (by pulling names from a beaker) from the following list;

  • Wool pellets
  • Grit
  • Pine bark
  • Egg shells (thanks to Emma for collecting all these and they have been heat treated)
    Copper strip
  • Control (no barrier)

The pots were then put outside, behind science, on the Chatham House site. They have been placed near to bushes to encourage slugs and to be in a sheltered but sunny spot. The pots had to be placed in a line, to be the same as all the other experiments taking place, so that results can be compared. The position of the pots were randomised, i.e. again which pot and barrier occupied each position was chosen at random from the beaker. Each pot was spaced 50cm apart, again to be consistent with every other experiment. The yr7s are in charge of watering and they will give each plant the same amount of water but as needed, so as not to over or underwater the plants. This amount of water cannot be controlled across each experiment site as they will experience different weather conditions across the country and in other countries! Each week for the next 3 weeks and again after half term, the Slug It team will measure the area of slug damage per leaf selected and report our findings to the RHS Slug It team.

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June 2017 Slug it update

We are in our final week of testing (6 weeks in total). The lettuces have grown well thanks to some glorious sunshine and a dedicated team of yr7s who have watered them regularly. We have encountered a number of snails and earwigs but no slugs, however there is documented evidence of damage over the 6 weeks.

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This shows how we measure the damage. 5 leaves are chosen at random (using a dice) and are placed under a grid which is divided into 1cm x 1cm squares. Damaged areas are coloured in red and counted in cm2. Sometimes this requires estimating as the damage is rarely a whole square. Then the rest of the leaf is counted in blue pen, so that the RHS can process this data later to account for leaves of different sizes. The data for each leaf is meticulously recorded in a table and will be sent off to the RHS this week.

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