The Science of Making Cheese

Cheese is made from milk. This is most often cows’ milk, but it can be made from milk from sheep, buffaloes and goats – even yaks. It can be soft or hard, and high or low in fat. Cheese making may have started around 6000 or 7000 years ago, or …

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Extracting DNA

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the molecule that carries the genetic information (the instructions) for the cell, and DNA is found in all cells that have a nucleus. DNA is made of two chains of molecules known as nucleotides. The nucleotides in one chain link to the nucleotides in the other …

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What’s in a Seed?

Seeds contain the potential to be a whole new plant, and just need a bit of water, care and attention, as well as a bit of time, to grow. Seeds range from smaller than grains of sand (orchids) to about as big as a football (Coco de Mer palm) but …

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Growing Plants Without Soil

Growing plants without soil is known as hydroponics. Plants can be grown in many different growing mediums, such as, gravel, sand, perlite, vermiculite, rockwool, clay pellets, bark or coconut fibre, or in water or even air (the roots hang in a mist of water). When plants are grown normally, in …

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Testing Paper for Strength

Paper is used for a great many things, from paper towels and tissues through sheets of paper for printing at home or work, to special paper for banknotes, and each different use needs a different kind of paper with different properties. Manufacturers have to test their paper for these properties, …

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Seeds: Wet and Dry

Plants grown from seeds, from the smallest (an orchid, at 85 micrometers long) to the largest (the Coco de Mer palm, at about 30 cm long). Seeds are amazing things – it’s incredible that a seed the size of a grain of oatmeal can produce a tree as tall as …

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Growing Plants in Different Soils

Like animals and humans, plants need water, air and food to grow. They get all of these from their growing medium – the compost or soil that they grow in. This experiment looks at the effect that different growing mediums – sand, soil, compost, and bark – have on the …

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Knowing Which Way is Up & Finding the Light

Plants respond to gravity and to light, with roots growing downwards and away from the light, and shoots growing upwards and towards the light. The response to gravity is called geotropism, and the response to light is called phototropism. This makes roots grow into the ground towards nutrient and water …

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How Seeds Grow

A seed is a minute dormant plant that is waiting for the right conditions to grow (germinate). Seeds range from orchid seeds weighing a millionth of a gram to seeds from the coco-de-mer palm tree that weigh around 20 kg. Conditions for Growth All seeds need warmth and water, but …

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Water & Food: How Plants Eat and Drink

Plants need water. Water in the cells helps plants to grow and make food, makes leaves and stems firm (a plant that needs watering wilts), and carries minerals from the soil. Plants also need food. As plants cannot eat in the same way as animals, plants have to create sugars, …

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