The Botanical Society of America has found their award-winning science mentoring website, PlantingScience.org, a complete success. PlantingScience helps science teachers bring plant biology, science practices, and scientist role models into the classroom. Each team of 3-5 students works with their own scientist mentor over the course of an independent project, giving students a great opportunity to get to know their mentor and to do real science. PlantingScience is a Hub-based platform that has been modified to fit the needs of science teachers, mentors, and students. PlantingScience administrators, mentors and students have been using the community focused features to keep mentors aware of their students' progress and develop peer support areas. PlantingScience became heavily involved with the Hubzero Development Team when they joined the Hubzero Foundation. Through the Foundation, PlantingScience has worked with the team to develop community features that secure student information yet allow for easy collaboration, such as custom filterable profile fields. PlantingScience is currently using these profile fields in a scientist mentor galleries where students and teachers can learn more about the scientists they are, or could be, working with.
During this first session on PlantingScience, over 100 science teachers and close to 2000 students worked with plant science mentors on student-led investigations. Questions ranged from: “Do aquatic plants have a higher or lower rate of photosynthesis compared to terrestrial plants?”; “Which method produces more seeds in Wisconsin Fast Plants, pollination by wingless fruit flies or by hand?”; “What effect does adding ash to soil have on plant biomass?”. Of the nearly 500 projects this fall, the PlantingScience management group awarded the most successful teams a “Star Project Award.” You can check out the award winning teams at the PlantingScience Star Project Gallery.
As PlantingScience moves into their second season, they are still seeking middle or high school biology teachers or plant scientists who may be interested in getting involved. If you are a specialist in this field or know of anyone, feel free to check out this growing community.
For more information about PlantingScience and the Botanical Society of America, check out - Botanical Society, HUBzero partner on PlantingScience.org, an online community for high school student researchers or PlantingScience.org.