One of the key areas within National 4 Biology is ‘The Commercial use of Plants’. This requires learners to investigate the yields of crops. My colleague and I were unsure of how to approach this but spent a full afternoon creating ‘The Cultivation Game’. We were worried we had spent far too much time on this one specific lesson but after having delivered it we both reaped the same reward.
The point of the game is for learners to understand how farmers can increase their crop yields using different ways and describe the advantages and disadvantages of these. The learners had a budget of £15000 to spend on increasing the yield of their crop. This game was set over 5 years and each year learners could change what they bought. Each year there were different ‘unexpected events’ which could affect their yield depending on what they had bought that year. For example, a flood or frost.
The learners were at first a little unsure of the game and not as engaged as we had hoped. As soon as they started the game and understood the concept, they loved it. They worked well in pairs and became proud of the profit they had made. This game helped to develop their problem solving and numeracy skills as well as cover this key area in biology. By the end of the lesson they could give examples of ways the yield of crops can be increased; state the advantages and disadvantages of the different methods of increasing crop yield and relate increasing crop yield to the limiting factors of photosynthesis.