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Newsletter – June 2008

This month, we have added some brand new resources to help you explore our Honey to heal focus story with your students. These resources include a unit plan and several worksheets with interesting experiments and hands-on activities.

What's new on the Hub?

We have recently updated our Honey to heal focus story. In this focus story, you can find out how Mānuka honey can heal wounds. The story also describes how Mānuka honey has been made into a wound dressing, with help from some ingenious Kiwis at the University of Waikato and Comvita.

Comvita, a New Zealand company that specialises in the development of natural health products, is now selling Mānuka honey wound dressings in New Zealand and overseas. These dressings can even treat wounds infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as super-bugs.

New unit plans

We have several unit plans to help you explore the properties of Mānuka honey with upper primary or secondary school students:

From bees to bandages – unit plan

Middle primary – upper primary
Students investigate the antibacterial properties of Mānuka honey and use their results to produce a dressing that can be used on a wound to kill any bacteria infecting it.

The properties of honey – unit plan

Upper primary – lower secondary
Students investigate the physical and chemical properties of various honeys to design a way to distinguish Mānuka honey from other types of honey.

New teaching activities

We have recently added some practical teaching activities to help you explore the properties of Mānuka honey with your students:

Experiment: Antibacterial effects of honey – worksheet

Honey is antibacterial and can prevent growth of most types of bacteria. This experiment compares the effect of different types of honey on bacteria growing on agar plates.

Experiment: Making honey crystals – worksheet

The presence of sugar crystals in honey affects the honey’s texture and palatability. In this experiment, students can investigate how crystals form in honey.

Experiment: The osmotic effect of honey – worksheet

In this experiment, students can demonstrate osmosis using honey and potatoes.

Upcoming events

AWIS Conference – Striking a Balance – event

02 July 2008 – 04 July 2008
The Association of Women in the Sciences (AWIS) conference will be held in Christchurch from 2–4 July

SciCon – Science to Change Our World – event

06 July 2008 - 09 July 2008
A conference for science teachers, which will explore the nature of science education in the 21st century. Registration open now. SciCon 2008 will be held in Te Papa, Wellington.

Rutherford Science Competition 2008 – event

05 June 2008 – 31 October 2008
Essay and poster competitions for all New Zealand school students from years 1–13.

Latest news

Keep up to date with the latest biotechnology news, events and radio broadcasts at: http://www.biotechlearn.org.nz/news

Passionfruit extract helps asthmatics – news

A passionfruit extract researched and developed in New Zealand has significantly reduced the severity of wheezing and coughing among asthma patients taking part in a scientific trial and also helped to reduce their blood pressure.

Bioplastics from waste materials possible – news

Bioplastic made from blood instead of petroleum could be used on farms for seed trays or mulching films, Dr Johan Verbeek from Waikato University says.

We welcome your ideas

Please email us at enquiries@biotechlearn.org.nz if you have any questions about the Hub, or feel free to complete our feedback form online at www.biotechlearn.org.nz/contact_us

Best wishes
Dr Diane Dinnis, Project Manager
New Zealand Biotechnology Learning Hub
URL: www.biotechlearn.org.nz

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