14 紙 上 展 覽 第 14 頁 / 共 16 頁 Fascinating Science Program at Wagor By Peter Cook We have recently been working on a very exciting project with the National Science Museum in Taichung. For many years now the children at Wagor have been looking at living creatures with a microscope as part of the science curriculum on evolution. They start in grade 1 looking at the simplest living organisms on Earth, and following the path of evolution as creatures become more complex and have parts which we recognize as used in people. They start by looking at the most primitive cells which have no nucleus and can make their own food. (prokaryotic autotrophs) Blue Green Algae, which is the oldest known fossil of life on the Earth (stromatolites). The children can see the cells are very small and simple in structure. Then they start to look at the next evolutionary step of cells becoming bigger and more complex (eukaryotic autotrophs). These cells use photosynthesis and have a visible nucleus. They make the sugar glucose which the children learn is a simple sugar, and they see its effects on living yeast cells. The next step we look at is single cells taking sugar from the sugar makers; these are the hetrotrophs, or sugar takers as the children learn. These have been on the Earth for billions of years so they are much more evolved than humans. We look at two in particular which are at the start of the Science museums evolution walk, from the museum to Zhong Gang Road (the paramecium and the amoeba). The amoeba has the largest known genome (DNA) of any living thing.
15 紙 上 展 覽 第 15 頁 / 共 16 頁 The science museum has made some beautiful video of cells we supplied to them. We have become very good at finding and growing these cells so they can be used in the school. The next steps cells take is working together, not just lines of cells which are all the same like spirogyra. These are the metazoans and show the beginnings of animal formation. The children learn to look for symmetry as this gives us evolutionary clues. The oldest animal on the Earth is the Hydra. The Science Museum was delighted when we supplied them with dishes of 10 or more Hydra many reproducing by just growing a baby out of their bodies. This animal is radial and has no organs or head; it comes from a time on the Earth when plants and animals were very similar. As animals become more complex the children learn to look for bilateral symmetry (like humans). The first creatures on Earth with left and right were the flatworms. The children look in the microscope at the first face on the Earth, two little eye spots which give the worm a sense of direction. These eyes don't have lenses so they just collect light. Close your eyes and move your hand in front of your face. These worms are very simple and don't have a mouth or blood. The children can see inside their bodies. We have been able to find many different species of these worms (planaria). The next creature they look at is also a worm but it has a through gut. They also have hairs which look like legs on a centipede. The guts can be seen pushing food along in a wave, just the same as people. We use the same DNA to do so. The children love looking at these living things because it is part of the Human story, watching them eat and reproduce is so exciting for all children. It becomes real, just learning lots of names has no meaning, so we think this is a very important improvement in teaching. We video and photograph all the
16 紙 上 展 覽 第 16 頁 / 共 16 頁 creatures in school so we have built up a beautiful collection of pictures which we will soon display in the school. Look at the picture of a butterfly s eye cells, perfect little lenses to focus light and make pictures!
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