Biology KS3 / KS4: How the combine harvester has changed the way we farm

Stefan Gates explains how combine harvesters work – combining the jobs of cutting and threshing the crop in order to produce processed grain in a matter of seconds.

With a particular focus on the development of the combine harvester, he reveals how time and labour saving machines have made farming on a much larger scale possible without the need for a huge workforce.

This is from the series: Science of the Harvest

Teacher Notes

Students could compare modern day farming equipment with the equipment used one hundred years ago (horse drawn ploughs) and several thousand years ago (mainly handheld tools).

The increase in this sophistication is an example of evidence of human evolution.

Can students think of any other examples? Students could be asked what the negative consequences of mechanised farming are.

These could include carbon dioxide production and so would link to teaching about global warming.

Students could also taste organic and conventional foods. Can they taste the difference?

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Biology/Science at KS3 and KS4/GCSE in England and Wales.

Also at Third , Fourth Level, National 4, National 5 and Higher in Scotland.

This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC, CCEA and SQA.

More from the series: Science of the Harvest

Biology KS3 / KS4: How photosynthesis is vital to the success of farming
Biology KS3 / KS4: Germination and the conversion and storage of glucose
Biology KS3 / KS4: The development of artificial selection in farming
Biology KS3 / KS4: The importance of animal pollinators and their relation to our fruit harvest
Biology KS3 / KS4: The science of ripening and seed dispersal