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Here you can donwload a full description of the pea project
Here you can watch a video of a class project

About the pea-project

This project is initiated to stimulate the interest in biological diversity.

The main aims of this initiative:

  • To enable an exchange of knowledge on an equal basis between groups of children in different
    parts of the world.
  • To multiply and spread rare pea-varieties of which some are on the edge of extinction.

Rules of the game

  • The children who participate in the project will have the responsibility to multiply the seeds they receive. This is necessary to have sufficient seeds for more groups that want to participate. At the end of the project the seeds has to be put in bags with the right name on it and be send to the next groups that want to participate in the project. The teacher or group leader is responsible for this procedure.
  • It is important that all questions are filled in as exact as possible on the web-site. Only than the children will be able to compare their data with those of their research partner. This database will of interest for seedsavers, researchers and others. The group co-ordinator should be aware if the data is filled in seriously.

Why peas?

To make children aware of diversity within species, we choose the pisum sativum (common pea) as an example. This plant is easy to grow in different environments. Also George Mendel , the founder of genetic research, did his original experiments with peas.

Every child in the group will get her/his own pea-variety. For the first selection and distribution of the peas, the donor institute pays attention to the colour, shape, way of growing and flowering of the seeds. This to have a clear illustration of the diversity among them. For the children it will be easy to notice the differences between the peas.

The teacher can explain that not only in peas but in almost everything that is alive differences occur. Think only about all the differences in dogs. But what about over 1000 known species of tomatoes and apples or more than 20.000 rice-varieties.

Diversity and environment

The pea varieties are used to explain how the environment can influence the organisms that are living in it. The children will grow their 'own' pea-variety. Their personal research partner will grow the same variety in a different environment.

There will be an exchange of information about the pea-varieties, the sowing, growing and harvesting but also other data, like climate, altitude, rainfall etc. Do children expect differences in the outcome of the results of their research partner due to the different growing circumstances? What will be the reality? Attention can be given on the usefulness of peas (leguminosa) in an agricultural system.      

Equal knowledge exchange

The growing use of internet makes it possible to have an knowledge exchange from child to child on an equal level.

The underlying message is that, although different living circumstances are a fact, people everywhere in the world contribute to knowledge from their own situation. Only with more complete information are we able to get a more complete picture.

With the aid of digital camera's and the internet, children from different groups are able to ‘meet' each other and do the investigation together with their partner.

Scientific research

The children will describe the peas in a scientific way. The name, color, shape, growing and blooming will be described. The information gathered on the peas is going to be processed with the use of a ‘descriptor list'. (see also header ‘ data processing' ) This will make the information valuable for others who are interested, like seed banks and researchers.