Science teachers visit primary school in Utrecht – News

Science teachers visit primary school in Utrecht – News

Kirsten ten Tuscher (left) and Lucilla Salvatore.

How do plants make decisions?

Theoretical biologist Kirsten ten Tuscher is one of the science professors who participated in Meet the Professor. She recalls with great pleasure her visit to Overficht Public Primary School (OBS), with her team member Lucilla Salvatore.

The researchers took the children into the world of plant biology. They challenged them to think about how plants make decisions, whether they have memory, and how they spend their energy. They make discussions about this lively and tangible with plants and carnivores in petri dishes. In passing, they also explain how science works and how experiments can provide evidence for an idea or claim.

“It's great to see how the children interact and what questions they ask,” Ten Tuscher says. “A lot of things have become clear to me, but they are new and special to them.” The children's surprise really began when Ten Tusscher entered the room – most of them did not expect their teacher to be a woman as well. “The children were previously instructed to draw a professor, and it all led to drawings of grey-haired old men.”

Ten Tusscher feels happy that she was able to not only introduce children to her field, but also set an example of what the world does and does. “I am a first-generation student and now a professor,” the researcher says. “It's great to show that anyone can become a professor, even if you are a woman and not descended from other professors.”

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