Slug It! Our brilliant new science research project for schools
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Campaign for School Gardening is working in partnership with the Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS) on an exciting new project looking at the nation's most persistent pest – the slug!
The amazing RHS Plant Health team needs your help!
Slugs have been devastating plants in UK gardens for hundreds of years and have featured in the RHS UK top ten pests list since records began.
RHS entomologist Dr Hayley Jones is carrying out an Integrated Pest Management field trial, looking at a range of control strategies against slugs and snails. The experiment is investigating the use of nematodes, synthetic and organic slug pellets, in combination with a 'cultural control' – straw mulch.
Hayley needs your help now to investigate five additional 'cultural control barriers' including copper, wool and grit to see how effective they are at protecting plants in pots. This is something you can easily do in your school grounds. We are looking for teams of young people in schools across the UK who would be able to help in the first half of the summer term 2017. We will supply an experiment pack, the cultural controls and live plants. The only items you will need to purchase are some 2 litre pots and compost. To apply, you need to be able to work on the trial for five weeks during 24th April and 26th May 2017, and record and submit your data once a week.
The Learning Benefits of Slug It!
Slug It! is ideal for Key Stage 3, 4 and 5 students. However the skills and knowledge gained from the experience of participating in this experiment are great for young people of any age group.
Slug It! Mapping UK Slugs
Help us now by mapping UK slugs!
You can do this even if you are unable or do not want to participate in the main slug it experiment.
Start counting the number of slugs in your school grounds to help us map slug distribution in the UK.
The only equipment you need is:
- An area in your school grounds where slugs are often spotted
- A torch (if dark)
- Wet weather gear (if raining)
- The recording form
- And an enthusiasm for slugs!
Three ways to extend your project
- To add interest to your project, you could measure the environmental conditions when gathering your slug data.
- You could carry out a more detailed investigation by collecting the slugs and identifying them using this very helpful key by the Conchological Society. Click the slug pictures to follow the key and identify the slugs you find in your garden. Find this key here.
- You may like to combine the core experiment with key stage appropriate extension activities and investigations. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss these opportunities.
This experiment gives students the opportunity to observe organisms in their natural environment, study plant adaptations and understand the need for biodiversity. By using the slug mapping activity students can further investigate evolution, classification, natural selection and variation within slug species. The project links to biology, geography and maths allowing students to be innovative in their approach.