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University of Guelph


Bovey Bldg
601 Gordon St, Guelph, ON
N1G 1Y2 Canada

Elementary School Visits


Micropropagation is a process commonly employed in plant science and the horticultural industry, whereby a single plant is grown in a test tube and divided hundreds, if not thousands of times to produce genetically identical clones of itself. While this process is crucial for ensuring consistent reproduction of plant material and optimal plant health, it is often overlooked when one considers how common household plants purchased at the supermarket came to be.

To raise awareness towards the importance of plant tissue culture and micropropagation, GRIPP opened its doors to the clever minds of local elementary school students in 2016. The students were taken to GRIPPs laboratory at the University of Guelph and given the opportunity to learn about basic principles in plant science including micropropagation. Students were given a tour of the facilities and a chance to speak with GRIPP researchers about their projects. Afterwards, they were put to work, making their very own test tube plants to take home!

We were lucky enough to visit 'Professor Bob' in his Plant Propogation Laboratory. 'Professor Bob' was very nice and very interesting. He told us that fungus kills plants and you can use alcohol to get rid of fungus on plants. He gave us our own plants to bring home and look after, it was like a little fly trap plant that didn't need water but did need lots of sunlight. I really enjoyed my visit and liked getting my own plant. I would like to go back to visit 'Professor Bob' and the University of Guelph again.
Lara (Guelph, ON, Age 7)
I went to the Plant lab and I saw a lot of things. Most of them were plants but I also saw a Microscope and more. And we got to look in it too. I loved all the plants and some stood on water! The most exciting thing was I got to take a plant home with me. And it was AWESOME!
Emily (Guelph, ON, Age 7)
The first thing we did was saw lots of little plants in solutions growing in boxes. Those plants were non-native. We went to an office/lab where we saw things under a computer microscope. In the office/lab we cut up big plants and repotted the cuttings in the solutions. We got to put those plants in boxes and take them home. I learned that this kind of science is very advanced. I also learned that you have to strudy really hard in school to be a micropropagation scientist. I think that people who work there are very lucky. I loved it!
Ashley (Guelph, ON, Age 7)

The value of the natural world in education should not be underestimated. Hands-on experience is invaluable to children in the way they perceive and understand the world around them. Similarly, for individuals leading these initiatives these experiences can lead to invaluable life lessons. Mukund Shukla, a GRIPP Research Associate was eighteen years old when he first stepped foot into a University laboratory, so when the opportunity arose to host the young scientists, he jumped at the prospect.

“Micropropagation is a big word for something so small and a word that I had heard my whole life but never properly understood. The experience was as interesting to me as it was to the children. The chance to see and hear the staff talk about how they propagate the plants, the types of solutions they use and the hands-on experience of propagating, connected dots in my head that had previously gone unconnected”.