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Teaching in the Time of COVID-19

Written by Melinda Mueller, Science, and Founding SAAS Faculty

Teaching in the time of COVID: Envelopes ready to send to sixty Upper School Biology students who "opted in" to the experiment enclosed.  Thank you, fellow faculty, Hannah Chapin, Peter Clark, and Allison Nishitani for help getting this together.

Our SAAS 11th graders would normally spend two days next week at Glacial Heritage Preserve, a rare ecosystem type called a Puget prairie. They would have collected data for a field ecology investigation that they had designed.

So instead, here's what they know and what they will do. Puget prairies are fire-adapted and fire-dependent. Some seeds (including at least one Puget prairies native) germinate better after exposure to compounds in smoke. But whether this is true of Roemer's fescue--a keystone species of Puget prairies--is unknown.

In the envelopes: Roemer's fescue seeds, and "smoke seed primer paper," a product imbued with plant smoke. Students will compare the germination of seeds treated with smoke compounds against seeds not treated, and share their data. They will make little greenhouses from jars or glasses for growing the seeds.

So there, COVID-19!