News: CRAG joins YoMo and brings plant science nearer to teenage students
Last Thursday, 2nd of March, the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) participated in the first edition of the Youth Mobile Festival (YoMo), held in the Montjuïc venue ofFira Barcelona, within the framework of the Mobile World Congress. For four days, YoMo hosted more than 20,000 schoolchildren from Catalonia and Spain in a huge science and technology exhibition with live shows, interactive workshops and dozens of hands-on activities.
The event gathered more than 100 entitiesfrom the STEAM universe – science, technology, engineering, art (and design) and mathematics – driven by the same goal: to inspire young people and to help them to better understand the professional careers and the technologies of the sector, fostering their curiosity.
More than 300 students visited the CRAG’s interactive stand, where the research group lead by Elena Monte, a CSIC researcher at CRAG, introduced them to plant adaptation to environmental light conditions. By observing Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings through stereo microscopes, the youngsterswere able to see and understand the differences between normal and mutant plants grown both in light and dark environments.
When normal plants germinate underground, in the dark, their appearance is elongated with a hook at the upper end, characteristics that increase their likelihood of emerging from the soil. Once the plant receives light for the first time its shape changes, so the hook opens and the two little leaves that make it up, called cotyledons, extend.In contrast, the mutant plants displayed at YoMo do not respond to light signals as expected and open their cotyledons while in the dark. The students were able to observe these differences under the magnifying lenses and took home a brand-new concept: plants can “see”!
YoMo cooperates with Mobile World Capital Barcelona through the mSchools program, an initiative in collaboration with the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Barcelona City Council and the GSMA to help students and teachers effectively integrate technologies in the classroom.
The realization of this activity has been possible thanks to the financial support of the Spanish “Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad” through the “Centro de Excelencia Severo Ochoa 2016-2019” award to CRAG (SEV-2015-0533).
You can find more pictures of the workshop on our social networks.