SCHOOL KIDS could soon be learning how to manage a forest or identify infectious diseases, all from the comfort of their own home.

Scottish research institutes will be sharing educational activities and resources for teachers, parents and learners to use during the coronavirus pandemic.

The free online resources have been collated by the six organisations which make up SEFARI (the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes) and are aimed at those who are home schooling.

School children will be able to learn how to protect a forest from invasive species, better understand food choices by becoming diet detectives or try their hand at being a farmer.

The resources cover a wide range of topics including the environment, food and agriculture and are suitable from primary school age up to seniors in secondary school. Many activities are available now and more will be coming shortly in collaboration with users to ensure ease of access.

Research and Communications Officer at SEFARI Gateway, Dr Michelle Wilson-Chalmers, said: “The unprecedented health crisis posed by Covid-19 means home schooling has become essential and SEFARI is working hard to ensure our educational activities are made readily accessible online to help.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have access to hundreds of experts across a variety of topics who are passionate about education and enjoy creating fun resources that aid learning.”

Among the activities is the forest health game 'Caledon', which enables players to discover the challenges of managing a forest and dealing with issues such as invasive diseases, grazing animals and illegal loggers.

This was developed by colleagues from seven research institutes, including three SEFARI organisations – the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Scotland’s Rural College and the James Hutton Institute.

For those interested in food choices and how mathematical modelling can aid better choices when shopping, the Number Muncher Diets activity – created by colleagues at Biomathematics Statistics Scotland and the Rowett Institute – helps users experiment with different (mathematically calculated) diets by varying nutritional, economic and environmental constraints.

Infectious diseases and how pathogens are transmitted is a topical issue, and the Moredun Research Institute has developed a series of short animated films to highlight aspects of disease prevention and control.

For more information and to view the table of resources, visit: email: