Since the 1960s, when 'Nuffield Biology' first promoted interactive environmental education, school lawns and neighbourhood amenity grassland, have been recognised as a readily available local educational resource suitable for ecological survey and experimentation. The fact that grassy habitats have not been widely used for school work is due to the great variability in their management. With regard to school lawns, limiting factors of soil and aspect are usually obscured by the idiosyncratic regimes of mowing, fertiliser application, and weed control. Pupils are also faced with the big
problem of identifying non-flowering cut basal shoots of grasses, and the rosettes of repeatedly cut down dicots. Furthermore, these measurements are usually one-off activities, which do not relate to grassland as a dynamic system sensitive to seasonal and year on year effects of climate. The aim is to develop experimental protocols for pupils to design a simple ecological management sytem to increase the biodiversity of mowed amenity grassland in school, community, and home.

3.2 The objective is use regularly mowed amenity grassland as an educational resource to illustrate basic principles and methodologies of biological science, and their application to manage local biodiversity, and fulfill curriculum targets (1999) at Key Stages 2 & 3 for which pupils study:-

  • Survival
  • Plants as organisms: how they reproduce; germination; requirements for growth.
  • Diversity
  • Classification, variation and inheritance: Similarities and differences between plants animals and within populations; use of keys; inheritance and variation; natural selection and selective breeding.
  • Care for living things:
  • Human impact; pollution; managing the environment.
  • Structure and function
  • The connections between parts and how they work.
  • Living things and the environment:
  • The rhythms of life;
  • Feeding relationships, and habitats (niches).


Grass-SCAN's scheme of work places particular emphasis on 'Care for living things' and takes a mowed patch of land as a model ecosystem. For those wishing to take a narrower, more intensive, view of biodiversity, 'legumes' are presented as a model for studying the biodiversity of a 'family of organisms'.

Pupils also carry the public understanding of science from school, to family and community, in the context of the local biodiversity action plans for sustainable development (the Local Agenda 21)

Botanical Bioscopes And The National Curriculum

(i) Bioscopes at Key Stage 1
Making 'bioscopes' meets the requirements of the following programmes of study in 'Experimental and Investigative Science' and 'Life Processes and Living Things'.

Relevance of 'bioscopes'- Programmes Of Study
1 Systematic enquiry (a); (b); (c): (d): 2 Science in everyday life (a); (c): 3 The Nature of scientific ideas (all requirements): 4 Communication (all
requirements).

Relevance of 'bioscopes'- Experimental And Investigative Science
1 Planning experimental work (all requirements): 2 Obtaining evidence (all requirements): 3 Considering evidence (all requirements).

Relevance of 'bioscopes'- Life Processes And Living Things
3 Green plants as organisms (all requirements): 4 Variation and classification (b): 5 Living things in the environment (all requirements).

(ii) Bioscopes in Key Stage 2

Making 'bioscopes' in a Community Scan programme meets the requirements of the following programmes of study in 'Experimental and Investigative Science' and 'Life Processes and Living Things'.

Relevance of 'bioscopes'- Programme Of Study
1 Systematic enquiry (all requirements): 2 Science in everyday life (a); (d): 3 The nature of scientific ideas (all requirements): 4 Communication (all
requirements).

Relevance of 'bioscopes'- Experimental And Investigative Science
1 Planning experimental work (all requirements): 2 Obtaining evidence (all requirements): 3 Considering evidence (all requirements).

Relevance of 'bioscopes'- Life Processes And Living Things
3 Green plants as organisms (all requirements): 4 Variation and classification (all requirements): 5 Living things in their environment (a to c).

(iii) Bioscopes in Key Stage 3

Making 'bioscopes' in a Community Scan programme meets the requirements of the following programmes of study in 'Experimental and Investigative Science' and 'Life Processes and Living Things'.

Relevance of 'bioscopes'- Programme Of Study
1 Systematic enquiry (all requirements): 2 Applications of science (all requirements): 3 The nature of scientific ideas (a and b): 4 Communication
(a and c).

Relevance of 'bioscopes'- Experimental And Investigative Science
1 Planning experimental procedures (all requirements): 2 Obtaining evidence (all requirements): 3 Analysing evidence and drawing conclusions (all
requirements).

Relevance of 'bioscopes'- Life Processes And Living Things
3 Green plants as organisms (f ): 4 Variation and classification and inheritance (all requirements): 5 Living things in their environment (adaptation a and b; competition f and g).

(iii) Bioscopes in Key Stage 4
4 Variation (all requirements); inheritance (h); evolution (j) 5 Living things in the environment- adaptation and competition ( a and b)