Last week, 19 A-Level Biology students and staff from St Philip Howard Catholic School in Barnham brought their science class to Tangmere for a field trip and an opportunity to learn more about the scientific techniques and challenges involved in growing large-scale food crops.

Tangmere’s Crops Manager, Mark Knight said: “We were delighted to welcome the students to Tangmere. Working with the school, we have been able to identify key areas within the curriculum that we can deliver inside our glasshouses.”

During their visit, the students learnt how growers work to enhance the growth of the crop and use the latest climate control technology to reduce the effects of limiting factors.

They also took a closer look at biological control in action, using magnifying glasses to see how tiny insect predators are helping growers to protect the peppers from pests and keep the plants healthy and productive.

The visit concluded with a chance to see the Combined Heat and Power plant that generates electricity and uses the waste heat and carbon dioxide to increase the rate of photosynthesis and help grow more quality peppers. 

Science Teacher at St Philip Howard Catholic School, Graham Jones, said: “The A-Level Biology visit to Tangmere proved to be excellent! The students had the opportunity to link their knowledge from lessons on limiting factors of photosynthesis and the biochemistry within plants, to further their understanding in a real-life context. In addition, the students were able to apply their knowledge of biological pest control and consider the increasing importance of sustainability and minimising the environmental impact of farming practices.”

Ready, Set, Grow

The students have now been challenged to try to match the growth of some pepper plants over the next month, back in the school laboratory, with a ‘grow off’ against the professionals from Tangmere.

Mark added: “Over the last four years, we have been strengthening our exchange with the school to develop a meaningful learning experience. We hope we can build on local community links like this in the future.”

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