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Dr M’s Ten Plants project to inspire young botanists!

The CBBC classical music initiative Ten Pieces started in the autumn term of 2014 and aims to inspire a generation of primary children to get creative with classical music.

With a week of free cinema screenings for primary schools across the country, the project culminates in two Ten Pieces Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in July 2015.

So successful has “Ten Pieces” been in the primary schools that a new project, Ten Pieces Secondary, begins in October 2015 aimed at secondary schools.

Dr M’s “Ten Plants” Project

Dr M’s recent experience of Fascination of Plants Day at University of Reading set him thinking: surely it is high time for a “Ten Plants” project?

Fascination of Plants day found dozens of local school children visiting the University of Reading campus and, under the supervision of  Dr M, Professor Tomato and Dr Macarena, they were fascinated by plant fossils, Conifer trees, Monkey Puzzles and other awesome, epic and legend plants (to use the their words!).

So, let’s launch a “Ten Plants” project!  Ten plants chosen for their innate fascination and charisma to enthuse a young generation of botanists!

Now there’s an eXtreme botanical plan!

touchy feely female cone

The Monkey Puzzle tree proved an inspired choice for Fascination of Plants Day at Reading, a strikingly fascinating plant and its story was more than up to the task of fascinating the young children who attended the event.

So the Monkey Puzzle is a definate #1 in Dr M’s “Ten Plants” project, but what about the remaining nine?

Dr M says: Over to you! Get in touch with your choice of plants to fascinate and inspire a younger generation of botanists! Send in your ideas together with some thoughts on how your chosen plant(s) might be fit for this task.

Dr M’s Twitter challenge: Get the word out, tell your friends, get on social media, use the hashtag #tenplants and let’s create our own eXtreme botanical Twitterstorm!

Later in the summer Dr M: Will select ten plants from all the suggestions and hand craft a YouTube video to launch this botanical venture for the love, joy and fascination of plants!

And what about Ten Plants Secondary? Urgently needed for sure, despite valiant efforts from initiatives like Science and Plants for Schools there is never enough botany and never enough plants in the secondary curriculum and Dr M says “Ten Plants Secondary” must happen, but first things first!

Photocredits: University of Reading Photography.



  • Laura

    Instant response from an 11yr.old and a 9yr. old was Venus Fly Trap and giant Water Lily pads. Only common names, of course, but these plants have obviously made an impact in the past.

    • DrM

      Laura, Great thanks! I hope to progress this idea as a lot of people seem to like it! Will need to think how best to integrate it with the curriculum, there is no point having a great idea if teachers don’t use it because they don’t see it as relevant to what they have to teach. Also, need to think how to deliver any outputs e.g. via TES portal https://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resources perhaps? Dr M

  • Aaron Mills

    A friend of mine said in reply to your post…

    Oscar( age 5) says Magnolias ( dinosaur connection) monkey puzzle, sunflowers, roses, prunus for bark and fruit, snowdrops, oak, any fruit trees, antirrhinums and Venus fly trap. This is off the top of his head but mainly edibles or interactive, tactile plants

  • Sally Francis

    Good afternoon Dr M,
    My suggestions for your Ten Plants project are:
    Lithops, Venus fly trap, bird-cage primrose, sensitive plant, any really bristly cycad species, wheat, Welwitschia, bristle-cone pine, Wolffia, saffron (my fave!).
    Best wishes,
    Sally Francis (saffron grower)

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