Putting Colour into Your Curriculum

A new science resource for secondary school biology teachers, has just been launched, retailing at £35 pounds. 

This pack contains all you will need to run three very different learning activities that are guaranteed to enhance the learning experience of your students.  In each case, we provide background information, helpful hints and detailed instructions as to how to use these simulations.  However, we also hope that you will adapt any of the material to suit your own situation, and that some of the ideas will stimulate you to create all sorts of other activities. 


While aimed at 14 years and older, many of the exercises can be adapted for much younger students.  For example a simplified version of the CONMAN Simulation could easily be used in the latter stages of primary school teaching.


These three activities have been designed to offer cross-curricular relevance, and, while addressing key areas of the curriculum in subjects such as cell biology, genetics, organic chemistry, environmental studies and animal behaviour, they also give huge opportunities to incorporate personal and social development, given the nature of role play simulations. 


Fun, challenging and interactive, these simulations also provide excellent opportunities for reflection.  They are designed to provide a completely personal perception of the topic, placing the students in the middle of protein structures, at the centre of difficult negotiations and in a rainforest, facing the challenges of recording an illusive group of monkeys.  These experiences will build stronger understanding and allow deeper learning than would be provided from more traditional approaches.

The Protein Game is a radical and original approach to the subject of molecular biology, dealing with transcription, translation and cell biology. The students play the roles of amino acids, DNA and RNA, and explore why mutations have such devastating impacts. The importance of chemical context is brought home, as the forms and functions of proteins take on three-dimensional shapes, and twist and turn to the ever-changing cellular context.


The CONMAN simulation pits a group of environmentalists against a hard-nosed industrial company, as they negotiate the future of an area containing rare and protected species. Giving an insight into the mechanics of debate and problem solving in the real world, this exercise provides an excellent opportunity to observe your students as they develop their skills in teamwork, communication and decision making in a group setting.


Monkey Business places your students in the roles of behavioural biologists, studying a group of primates in a rainforest. Team skills are tested to the limit as they work to analyse behaviour. Teaching key skills in focal point sampling, this exercise brings the subject alive before their eyes and provides valuable opportunities for data analysis and interpretation.

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Shadows on the Cave Wall: a New Theory of Evolution by Dr Keith Skene 

Signed copies are available exclusively from this web site. Read sections from the book in the BOOK EXCERPTS section of this web site.

A radical and challenging book that turns current thinking about evolution on its head.  Keith Skene, a former Rhodes Scholar and an evolutionary ecologist, presents a completely new approach to our understanding of how and why life evolved in the way that it did, and why the Biosphere functions in the way that it does.   Darwinism was based on biology, while neo-Darwinism and Gaian theory rely on chemistry. This book is built on a much more fundamental basis, physics. He argues that since physics is the foundation for understanding everything else, then surely we should base our theory of evolution on it, rather than on the shadows of chemistry and biology. 

Armed with this new approach, Skene then applies it to understand how we should face the serious challenges facing our planet at present.  The answer is not carbon!


Keith Skene has come up with an original re-interpretation of evolution – and the role played by energy in living systems – which he presents in a very readable wayClive Cookson, Financial Times

 "Skene's book contains some lovely biology and will hopefully encourage people to think more deeply about the interaction between evolution and the environment." Dr Nick Colegrave, Evolutionary Biologist, University of Edinburgh

"The book reads a bit like Fritjof Capra; explaining new science in accessible and interesting ways to the layman. Overall a very interesting read, giving a fresh view of evolution and a way of seeing the issues confronting the planet." Ian Mowll, Greenspirit Network


I Introduction

Ch 1       An Ancient Thinker Escapes from the Cave   11

Ch 2       The Strained Relationship between Philosophy and Science   15

Ch 3       Some Problems with Reality   25

Ch 4       Energy: the Light beyond the Shadows   36

 II What is Life?

Ch 5       The Seven Troublesome Characteristics of Life  52

Ch 6       The Rise and Fall of Vitalism   58        

Ch 7       The Origin of Life  67

Ch 8       The Biosphere and its Hierarchy   78

 III What is the unit of Diversity?

Ch 9       What is a Species?   86

Ch 10     Individuals and Populations: Chasing Tails in Search of Diversity  105

Ch 11     The Community, Ecosystem, Biome and Gaia: Hopeful Contenders for the Throne of Diversity   114

 IV How Does Evolution Work?

Ch.12     Physics: the Ultimate Constraint upon Evolution   122

Ch 13     Chemical Constraints: the Middle World between Physics and Biology  128

Ch 14     Biological Boundaries: Limits Imposed by the Living  147

Ch 15     Contingency and Determinism: a Requiem for Lady Luck?  164

Ch 16     Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism: Flickering Follies in Caveworld  170

 V Energy as the Architect of Structure and Change

Ch 17     Chasing Shadows: One Foot in the Cave 189

Ch 18     Energy as the Architect of Structure  193

Ch 19     Energy as the Architect of Change   203

 VI Resolving the Great Debates in Evolutionary Biology

Ch 20     The Energetic Basis of Behaviour    214

Ch.21     Speciation, Altruism and Multicellularity   224

Ch 22     Exobiology: a Thought Experiment with Universal Appeal  237

 VII Applying the Energetic Theory of Evolution
to the Greatest Challenge Facing Humankind

Ch 23     Climate Change and our Place in the World  254

 VIII Light at the End of the Tunnel

Ch 24     Life Beyond the Cave   286