See Related: Science PD Models Mentoring
  1. Catrina Adams
  2. Education Director
  3. PlantingScience Digging Deeper
  4. http://plantingscience.org
  5. Botanical Society of America, BSCS, American Society of Plant Biologists
  1. Jodi Creasap Gee
  2. Education Technology Manager
  3. PlantingScience Digging Deeper
  4. http://plantingscience.org
  5. Botanical Society of America
  1. Joe Taylor
  2. Principal Scientist
  3. PlantingScience Digging Deeper
  4. http://plantingscience.org
  5. Biological Sciences Curriculum Study
  1. Anne Westbrook
  2. Science Educator
  3. PlantingScience Digging Deeper
  4. http://plantingscience.org
  5. Biological Sciences Curriculum Study
Facilitators’
Choice
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Catrina Adams

    Catrina Adams

    Presenter
    May 14, 2017 | 10:35 p.m.

    Thanks so much for stopping by to watch our video! 

     

    If you have any questions about the PlantingScience program, our website platform, or the professional development or research we are doing through Digging Deeper, please ask. We are about halfway through our grant and excited to use the Digging Deeper professional development project as a way to improve and grow the PlantingScience community. We'd also like to share what we're doing as a model that can provide insights for other disciplines, and knowing what interests you about our project will help us shape our dissemination plans.

     

    Although the Digging Deeper professional development is a discrete research project and we have already recruited participants, the larger PlantingScience program is free and open to all middle and high school teachers. We would love to grow our community with new teachers and scientist mentors, so please pass the opportunity along to colleagues who might be interested. You can learn more about the program and sign up at: https://plantingscience.org

     

    If you have participated in PlantingScience, it would be wonderful if you would share how the program has impacted you or your students.

     

    Thanks again to all our participants and volunteers who made the program and this video possible.

     

    My co-presenters and I are looking forward to a lively discussion this week. 

     
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    Claire Quimby
  • Icon for: Claire Quimby

    Claire Quimby

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2017 | 10:47 a.m.

    Hi Catrina! Thanks for sharing. Digging Deeper sounds like a really interesting opportunity for both the teachers and the scientists. This reminds me of a similar project I heard about in Kentucky, and I know for that project finding the right teacher/scientist partnership was really important. What was the process like pairing teachers with scientists for Digging Deeper?

     
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  • Icon for: Catrina Adams

    Catrina Adams

    Presenter
    May 15, 2017 | 12:13 p.m.

    Excellent question. For Digging Deeper, we used the teacher and early career scientists’ application materials and spent some time thinking about matches and the best teams to put together. For example, we asked early career scientists why they were interested in participating in this project. Some said they were interested in how high school students were prepared for college and in working with high school teachers to better understand the transition from high school to college. Others said they were interested in increasing access to science for all and an interest in working with underrepresented students or students who might not already have an interest in science. We paired the former with teachers working with AP Biology or other upper-level students, and the latter with those working with freshman science classes. Time zone and other considerations came into play. This match is a key match because these teachers and early career scientist “liaisons” work very closely in person during the workshop and then online during the fall. But every teacher could have up to 20 teams of students working on projects, so other mentors were involved as well.

     

    For the other mentors working with the teachers’ teams, matching is done by the teacher and early career scientist liaison by filtering appropriate available mentors from our mentor gallery and inviting them to the project. Teachers can select based on languages spoken, research interests, by reading the last few posts that mentor made, etc. We’re adding a new feature to the gallery in the near future that will allow teachers or liaisons to “endorse” mentors based on their skills, kind of like LinkedIn.

     

    In the past we did all the mentor matching by hand, but it got to be a big limiting factor to our growth because it was so time consuming. The new gallery will help and also let teachers make better matches customized at the students in each team.

     
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    Claire Quimby
  • Icon for: Claire Quimby

    Claire Quimby

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 08:37 p.m.

    Thanks Catrina. It sounds like your team really took care with the matching process, and I love that the mentor gallery lets teachers search for mentors. I am definitely going to share this with colleagues. Wouldn't it be nice to have a great big directory of scientists who are willing to engage in different outreach opportunities? I can think of lots of projects where that would come in handy. Aside from the reward of helping students, is the program incentivized for the scientists and teachers? I know DOW Agrosciences and other companies have programs to encourage their employees to engage in this type of outreach, and it seems like there's an opportunity here - something similar to teachers being able to "endorse" their mentors, but something that might transfer to other contexts... 

     
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    Claire Quimby
  • Icon for: Catrina Adams

    Catrina Adams

    Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 03:02 p.m.

    I agree that a big directory of volunteer-minded scientists would be a great idea!

    With Digging Deeper, we are providing stipends to the participating teachers and early career scientists through the grant. For PlantingScience, most mentors and teachers do not receive incentives apart from a certificate of participation. We do have a program called our "Master Plant Science Team" which is composed of early career scientists who act as liaisons for the teachers and mentor teams (the ones not part of Digging Deeper). Several of our partner societies sponsor these participants by providing a free membership to their society for the year and 50% off registration to that society's annual meeting. The support we get from our partners in this way has been extremely helpful.

    The other thing that we are considering is to look into a badging system like Mozilla's Open Badges as a way of recognizing our teachers and mentors in a transferable way.

     
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    Claire Quimby
  • Icon for: Vivian Guilfoy

    Vivian Guilfoy

    Senior Advisor
    May 15, 2017 | 11:06 a.m.

    This is a great model and it seems you are succeeding in scale up.  I especially liked the one question that popped up on your video:  My plant died...do I fail?  I imagine a wide range of outcomes in the investigations and much can be learned by analyzing "what happened" to pinpoint contributing factors in "success" or "failure to thrive."  Will be interested to see results of research.   

     
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    Claire Quimby
    Sarah Garlick
  • Icon for: Catrina Adams

    Catrina Adams

    Presenter
    May 15, 2017 | 12:24 p.m.

    Thanks Vivian! The risk with letting students conduct their own experiments is that even with mentor help, sometimes the experiments won’t go as planned and plants can die. But the scientists are really good at putting this kind of “failure” in perspective. For example, here is a mentor response to students facing this situation:

     

    “About the black seedlings, don't be discouraged! Science projects are not always successful or what you expected, but a negative result is still a result and something you and others can learn from. This is an excellent opportunity for you all to do some research online into why the seeds are black. Could they possible be over fertilized? Could they be overwatered? Were they poor seeds to begin with? What factors do you think could have led to this color on the seeds and their lack of growth? Go back to the basics of plant growth and think about what may be causing this.

     

    Also, it is great to take lots of pictures! My research right now is the complete opposite of what I expected and most of my plants died, but I took lots of pictures and conducted further tests to understand why the plants died. Try to think about this as positively as possible, what can others learn from this experiment? What can you test now that you see that your plants may not be doing so well?”

     

    Part of the exciting part of this project is that the entire conversation between the students and scientist mentors is captured, no transcription necessary. There is so much interesting information that can come out of discourse analysis. For an example, see our (pre-Digging Deeper) paper analyzing PlantingScience scientist mentor comments:

     

    Adams, C., and C. Hemingway. 2014. What does online mentorship of secondary science students look like? BioScience 64: 1042-1051.

     
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    Claire Quimby
    Heidi Carlone
    Sarah Garlick
  • Icon for: Heidi Carlone

    Heidi Carlone

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2017 | 09:30 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing, Catrina. I think this program is fantastic on many levels-- engaging students in authentic, meaningful science, pairing up scientists with teachers, and the great numbers of students the project is reaching. Very exciting! So, my question is related to the teacher/scientist pairing. In *some* projects I've seen, it is very difficult to minimize power hierarchies between teachers and scientists. The scientists' knowledge always seems to occupy higher status than the teachers' knowledge. Have you run into this? Does your program design consider these historical hierarchies? Do you have any hints for the rest of us to mitigate this potential problem?

     
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    Claire Quimby
  • Icon for: Catrina Adams

    Catrina Adams

    Presenter
    May 16, 2017 | 03:40 p.m.

    We recognized that possibility and have a few strategies in place to combat that. First, we include a question in our application for early-career scientists that asks them:

     

    In 1-2 succinct paragraphs, describe the ways you anticipate contributing to and benefiting from a relationship with high school biology teachers. (max. 200 words)

     

    We look at this response carefully and make sure that there is a good fit with the program.  Just answering the question starts scientist participants thinking from the beginning about the relationship with teachers as a two-way partnership. It’s been a while since we recruited teachers, but I believe we included a similar question for the participating teachers.

     

    During the workshop, we have a dinner discussion around “a day in the life” where we encourage scientists and teachers to share what their days are like. We find that this helps a lot with misunderstandings that can sometimes come up during the mentoring. For example, so that teachers learn that a mentor may have travel dates that are set in stone, and a mentor might learn that a teacher’s timeline must be somewhat flexible to account for snow days, assemblies, etc. It’s also super helpful for teachers to describe what it’s like to teach science in a 45 minute class time or to know that some teachers only have one windowsill available for growing plants in their classroom, as that gives the mentors some perspective.

     

    What also helps with our program is that there are different key roles for the teacher and scientist as they co-mentor student projects. The teacher is the link with the classroom and puts the projects in perspective for the mentors. The mentors need to know what’s being taught in the classroom, schedule changes, discussions the students are having in class, etc. Mentors sometimes feel like they are mentoring in a black box if they have to rely solely on the students’ posts to understand the project and are missing key context from the teacher.

     

    During our summer workshop, scientists appreciated the pedagogy instruction and some of the tools (questioning strategies, supports for graph interpretation) we included. Some commented that they will use these tools in their college classrooms. When the teachers are coming up with project ideas in small teams during the workshop, we separate the scientists from the teachers so scientists can only provide feedback to their teachers online (as the students will in the fall). This helps everyone experience what distance mentoring looks and feels like as preparation to help the students effectively in the fall.

     
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    Claire Quimby
    Heidi Carlone
  • Icon for: Heidi Carlone

    Heidi Carlone

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 07:45 p.m.

    Oh, these are excellent strategies! So important to have that mutual respect for one another's knowledge, and I like the way you cultivate that. Thanks for answering, Catrina.

     
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  • Icon for: Claire Quimby

    Claire Quimby

    Facilitator
    May 18, 2017 | 06:25 a.m.

    Agreed! The "day in the life" dinner discussion is a really great idea.

     
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  • Icon for: Junoo Tuladhar

    Junoo Tuladhar

    Researcher
    May 16, 2017 | 12:46 p.m.

    Thank You Catrina. Its very interesting.

     
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  • Icon for: Sarah Garlick

    Sarah Garlick

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 01:37 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing this project. I appreciate that it takes a successful program and then builds on it. I'm curious about the week-long, in-person training. Have there been any barriers to recruitment or participation of teachers?

     
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  • Icon for: Anne Westbrook

    Anne Westbrook

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2017 | 04:55 p.m.

    Thank you for your question. We also appreciate the opportunity to build on and expand a successful program. Considering the recruitment or participation of teachers for the week-long summer workshops, we can identify both successes and challenges. We were fortunate to get teachers representing diverse schools, including public, private, urban, rural, suburban, and different free/reduced lunch status. The participating teachers seemed to really enjoy the opportunity to meet and get to work with teachers from all over the country who each could share their own experiences. We can identify some challenges for recruitment for, or participation in, the program. As you might expect for a one-week, in-person workshop, scheduling can be an issue because of other commitments that teachers have during the summer. The design of the research study in this project called for a two-year commitment from the participating teachers. Some teachers may not have applied because of this commitment. Also, the research design called for participants to be randomly assigned to one of the two cohorts. Some teachers wanted the ability to change their assigned group, which would have compromised the research.  

     

    The face-to-face interactions at the summer workshops were great and the teachers seemed to truly value the time to work with other teachers and the scientist mentors directly. However, we recognize that this type of workshop is not always possible because of expense and scheduling. We are considering other ways to make some of the benefits from the workshop more easily available to other teachers. Some ideas include putting more of the instruction online, possibly having shorter workshops at partner scientific society meetings, or perhaps smaller regional teams meeting in person but collaborating with a bigger group online.

     
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    Naomi Volain

    K-12 Teacher
    May 18, 2017 | 04:29 p.m.

    plantingscience has been a terrific place to learn and grow for my students! I've had dozens of student teams, many of them doing investigations of their own choosing for the first time. Their work is creative and memorable for them, sparking new explorations they hadn't previously experienced. Plants engage more than what both students and teachers alike might think. plantingscience and Digging Deeper are multipurpose springboards for doing science, learning and questioning. The programs also address the problem of "plant blindness" - a general lack of awareness of plants and their importance. Eradicating plant blindness is a way for students to engage in environmental science as stewards of their natural world. And, bringing students and teachers to do plantingscience and Digging Deeper is a great way to address many major Biology topics required by so many curriculum programs.

     
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    ann smart

    K-12 Teacher
    May 19, 2017 | 05:10 p.m.

    Planting Science Digging Deeper was a great opportunity for me and my students. They were able to design their own investigations, get feedback from scientists in the field, and get a glimpse of what a plant scientist actually does. The students loved communicating with"their" scientist and describing their investigations. The partnership with scientists made the students value their own research projects more than if it had just been done within the class.

     
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    diana cost

    K-12 Teacher
    May 19, 2017 | 07:09 p.m.

    That was awesome Catrina, And the kids are still talking about their experiences in class. They use what they did and the conversations they had with the scientists as prior knowledge spring boards to help them understand the carbon cycle now! It never ends.

     

     

     
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    Keri Shingleton

    K-12 Teacher
    May 21, 2017 | 07:27 p.m.

    Last summer, I was grateful to be trained through the Digging Deeper program.  This past academic year, my students were very excited to take part in the Planting Science program. They were partnered with scientists from across the world to help guide them through their decision making processes throughout their research.  While I am able to give such guidance myself, I can say without a doubt, that their partnerships with scientists motivated and excited them in a way I cannot.  It was amazing to see their enthusiasm for learning photosynthesis, and I loved that some of my students who identify themselves as "not good at science" were the leaders in this project!  I highly recommend this program to all life science teachers.

     
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  • Icon for: Christine Lauer

    Christine Lauer

    K-12 Teacher
    May 22, 2017 | 10:05 a.m.

    My students have been participating in Planting Science since 2009 and it has always been one of the most fun activities. The students love designing their own experiments and chatting with the scientists mentors about the projects. Excellent for Nature of Science and also the real world connections--and with the mentors--well the kids see scientists as cool and see that there are so many areas of science where you can work outside.

    I recommend this to all life science teachers!

     
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  • Icon for: Catrina Adams

    Catrina Adams

    Presenter
    May 22, 2017 | 10:53 a.m.

     Thanks Naomi, Ann, Diana, Keri and Christine for sharing how PlantingScience is working in your classrooms. We value your participation and support!

     
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    Nancy Ramig

    K-12 Teacher
    May 22, 2017 | 02:33 p.m.

    My class has participated in this program for several years.  The connection to mentors and the dialogue that fosters a greater understanding of planting science has been phenomenal.  The support that the PlantingScience staff provides for teachers really makes this program an easy integration.

     
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