Investigating the difference between organic and non-organic food: Introducing STEM Careers


In this investigation, students learn about carrying out a fair test, by running a blind trial of organic and non-organic herbs to see if they can identify any differences in taste. The investigation is put into a STEM careers context through an initial case study of James Seymour, a scientist who works as a Product Manager for a company growing herbs for major shops and supermarkets.

Students consider how they can carry out a fair test into the taste of plants produced under different conditions. They compare plant samples for their taste and record their results, using a blind trial. The worksheet can be used for a brainstorm and short discussion or for a longer lead in to a lengthier class discussion of those factors which affect the saleability and profitability of crops.

This resource includes full teachers’ notes, foundation, higher, extension and plenary activities, a case study, a students’ worksheet and technical notes for the practical.

Starter activity: Career case study and questions
Foundation activity: Investigation: carrying out a fair test, through a blind trial of different plants
Higher activity: Thanet Earth
Extension activity: Plants grown in different conditions
Plenary activity: Growing crops to sell

Careers education

Pupils should have opportunities to appreciate that science has a vital role in career opportunities and recognise the importance of understanding the applications of scientific knowledge, understanding and skills outside the classroom.

How science works

Pupils should be taught to:

  • collect data from primary and secondary sources, including using ICT sources and tools
  • evaluate methods of collection of data and consider their validity and reliability as evidence

Experimental and investigative science

Pupils should:

  • design a fair test
  • understand the need, where appropriate, to repeat observations or measurements
  • interpret and evaluate results using, where appropriate, simple calculations.

Part of...