Thursday, 29 August 2013

A very interesting classmate!! ...THE IBERIAN WORM LIZARD

Iberian worm lizard

We have had an unusual classmate in the laboratory!  Between us all, we have looked after an Iberian worm lizard that one of the school's maintenance workers found on the school grounds. We put him in a plastic fish tank with stones, soil, water. We collected ants and earthworms to feed it.

  At a first glance, the Iberian worm lizard looks like an earthworm but has nothing to do with them. These animals are vertebrates, they are reptiles that belong to the suborder Amphisbaenia. They are thought to be the only Amphisbaenia in Spain and since they became extinct in the north of Africa they are considered an edemic species of the Iberian Peninsula, that is, they are only found in this region and nowhere else in the world. They have a spinal column and scaly skin. They bury themselves under the ground and don't come up to the surface very often. Not a lot is known about these tiny reptiles. The Iberian worm lizard is called "culebrilla ciega", in spanish and its latin name is "Blanus cinereus". They have a long ringed body with sclales. The head is small and pointed with tiny eyes. It has a small tail and a forked tongue, when it opens its mouth it reveals a set of tiny sharp teeth.

Check out this video! This is when we put it in its new habitat. You can see how it quickly buries itself! If you look very carefully you can see the scales on its body and its head and tail.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Nature Spotting!!

I've received this very interesting email from one of my students that has been nature spotting during his visit to USA. Thanks Juan Carlos!! I will be looking forward to more of your photos!

Hi Sheila,
I´m Juan Carlos Císcar, from E1ºB.
I've been in the USA this month and I've taken lots of beautiful photos, like this one.
I saw this black bear in New Hampshire, near Boston.
I didn´t have enough time to take a photo when it was looking at us; but I had time to shoot when it was going back to the woods. It's in the middle of the photo.
It was amazing!!!
I saw the bear the last day, and all the days I was there, people asked us: "Hey guys, have you seen that bear?"
I´ll send you some more photos.
Have a great summer!

Juan Carlos

Check out the Nature Spotting section for new photos!


Vegetable garden
 We decided to visit the school's vegetable garden and take our potato plants. We planted them along with the other vegetables growing there. We identified some vegetables there like tomato, pepper and courgette plants and also observed the watering system installed.  Take a look at these photos!

 The watering system installed at the vegetable garden is called drip irrigation. Drip irrigation is an easy way and confortable way of watering. It also saves a lot of water because water slowly drips directly on each plant.

Watering system by drip irrigation

Pepper plants
Drip irrigation
A tomato growing on a tomato plant
Tomato plants with fruits and flowers

Flower on a tomato plant
Flower on courgette plant


Most plants reproduce sexually. In this case, male and female cells are formed in the plant. Fertilisation occurs, that is the cells join together and after this fruits that contain seeds are formed. Seeds contain the embryo of a new plant. When they germinate, they open and a new plant called seedling begins to grow.

 But sometimes plants can reproduce asexually. That is a new plant is formed without needing to be fertilised. No sex cells are involved and new individuals are formed from just one plant.

 There are various forms of asexual reproduction. In plants without flowers, mosses and ferns, asexual reproduction occurs by forming spores. Although these plants can also reproduce sexually.

 In other plants asexual reproduction may occur by vegetative reproduction. Vegetative reproduction is when plants create new individuals froma a particular organ, usually from the stem. New plants may grow from bulbs. Bulbs are underground stems with thick leaves, examples are onions and tulips. They may also grow from tubers, which are also underground stems that contain many nutrients, for example, potatoes. They may also grow form stolons, shoots that grow from the plant and root when they touch the ground, for example, strawberry plants.

 We did an experiment to observe vegetative reproduction. We observed how new plants grow from potatoes. To do this we placed potatoes in plastic cups with water using tooth picks to hold them.

 We changed the water often and after some time observed how roots and stems began to grow from the potato. Look at these photos!

 At this point, we decided to plant the potato in soil. Beautiful potato plants grew. We were also able to see potato plant flowers and therefore realised that potato plants also reproduce sexually.





 We recorded all of the changes we observed by drawing pictures in our experiment book.