Join PlantingScience as a Teacher


Our message is important: Plants are important to life on Earth. Science is a critical component in addressing societal challenges, and preparing science-literate citizens and future scientists is a community responsibility.

First of all, thank you for learning more about partnering with scientists and educators via PlantingScience. Plants are the planet’s heartbeat: Without plants, life on Earth could not exist. Plants, along with many microbes, take the sun’s raw energy and transform it into more plants, which contribute to providing food, medicine, shelter, and oxygen to the animals on Planet Earth. With every species that disappears from the planet, not only do we lose its genetic potential and its role in the ecosystem, but we may also lose a potentially life-changing product - such as the cure for cancer or a superior agricultural product. Further, we risk losing the opportunity to better understand the diversity of life on Earth.

Students today have few opportunities in schools or their own backyards to explore plants and develop an understanding of plants and their scientific study. Consequently, our interest in building the PlantingScience community goes well beyond restoring plants to the curriculum. We believe that plants and plant science are significant forces in building students’ investment in science, the environment, and their futures. By collaborating with scientist mentors, students in research teams can participate as members of the science community from their middle school through college classrooms. In this way, students, teachers, and scientists experience science together.

Still interested? Keep on reading below for more information on how to sign up and participate!

How to Participate

Step 1: Review Opportunities and Expectations

Step 2: Register Online

Step 3: Apply for an Upcoming Session

Step 1: Review Opportunities and Expectations

Please read this page and explore in the Teachers Handbook what is required to participate.  If you feel PlantingScience is a good fit for your students, we look forward to you joining in a future session!

Our primary target audience is the high school science class, but the program also works well at the middle school level. For middle and high school students, we support student-team investigations enhanced by online discussions with a scientist mentor. We also support 4H, science clubs, and other after-school groups with an appropriate adult support structure.

We coordinate a general start date to maximize interactions among students. PlantingScience session space may be limited in our efforts to ensure each student team is matched to a scientist mentor.

Please review the Teacher Roadmap Through an Investigation for more information on the process through an investigation in the classroom.

Step 2: Register Online

The first step is to register online, if you have not done so already on this website. Once you have registered by creating your username and password, please complete your profile, where we will collect information about you and your school that will remain consistent about you and your school during your time with PlantingScience.

You will have access to a personalized Dashboard, where you can organize your groups and projects. You can view and participate in groups visible only to registered teachers and mentors. Carefully review the resources we provide, including expectations and requirements and ask questions of us or of other participating teachers to determine if this online mentored inquiry program is right for you and your students.

Before applying to participate in a session, please:

  • Obtain from your school board, principal, (or comparable authority), written approval of your school’s participation in the program. All materials are available on the website for review by school board authorities and parents. We are also happy to provide hard copies for review. This form is required only for USA schools. Click here to download a letter for your school authority to sign.
  • Choose an investigation theme you would like to use.
Investigation Theme Grade Levels Duration NGSS Performance Expectations
Wonder of Seeds 6-12 2+ weeks 5-LS1-1, 5-LS2-1, MS-LS1-4, MS-LS1-5, MSLS1-6, MS-LS2-1, MSLS2-3, HS-LS1-4, HS-LS1-5
Agronomy Feeds the World 6-12 4+ weeks 5-LS1-1, MS-LS2-1, MSLS2-3, MS-LS1-4, MS-LS1-5, MS-LS1-6, HS-LS1-4, HS-LS1-5
Celery Challenge 6-12 2.5 weeks 5-LS1-1, 5-LS2-1, MS-LS1-1, MS-LS1-2, MS-LS2-1, MSLS2-3, HS-LS1-2, HS-LS1-3, HS-LS1-4
Corn Competition 6-12 3 weeks 5-LS1-1, 5-LS2-1, MS-LS1- 5, MSLS1-6, MS-LS2-1
Where does Pollen come from? 6-12 2 weeks 2-LS2-2, 2-LS4-1, 3-LS4-2, MS-LS1-4
The Power of Sunlight 9-12 2 weeks MS-LS1-6, MS-LS2-3, HS-LS1-5, HS-LS2-3, HS-LS2-5
C-Fern in the Open 9-12 4-6 weeks K-LS1-1, 2-LS4-1, 2-LS4-2, 3-LS1-1, 3-LS4-3, MS-LS4-4, HS-LS4-2, HS-LS4-5
Plants Get Sick, Too! 9-12 4-8 weeks LS1.A, LS4.B, LS4.C
Foundations of Genetics 9-12 6 weeks 3-LS1-1, 3-LS2-1, 3-LS3-1, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-2, MS-LS3-1, MS-LS3-2, HS-LS3-1, HS-LS4-3
Genetics of Inbred Arabidopsis 11-12 4-8 weeks 3-LS3-1, 3-LS3-2, MS-LS3-1, MS-LS3-2, HS-LS3-1
  • Estimate the number of student teams you will have.
    • We recommend new teachers start with one class for their first experience, no more than 15 teams of 3-5 students.
  • Decide on an estimated start and end date for your students.

Step 3: Apply for an Upcoming Session

Click here to apply!

We will contact all registered teachers before each session inviting you to apply for the upcoming session. You may apply at any time during the year.

We offer a spring session and a fall session each year. Here is our upcoming 2021-2022 session schedule:

  • Fall 2021 Session: September 13 to November 10, 2021
  • Spring 2022 Session: February 14 - April 22, 2022

We make decisions and notify teachers approximately one month before the beginning of each session.

Once accepted for a session, you agree to:

  • Ensure you have student consent forms signed and returned.
  • Click here for PlantingScience Consent Form for K-12 Students
  • Click here for PlantingScience Consent Form for College Students
  • Contact your school’s technology department as soon as possible to secure an adequate number of computers for your classroom. This point is critical. A meaningful PlantingScience mentorship experience depends on regular communication between the students and scientists online.
  • Plan for 1 week of set-up activities including student registration, online assessment testing and introducing the project.
  • Set aside the following 2 –3+ weeks for students to conduct their experiments, communicate online with their mentors, and upload final projects.
  • Commit to communicating with the PlantingScience team and mentors about schedule, learning goals, and student background.


Contact Us

Please contact PlantingScience staff by email ( or phone (314-558-2307) if you have any questions about the program or how to join.