Wisconsin Fast Plants Network

To know a plant, grow a plant!

Here's a question we received today and will share here--along with the response--for others who may have similar questions about getting started with Fast Plants for teaching genetics concepts:

Hello, 
I am in my first year of teaching as an 8th grade science teacher. I am interested in doing an activity with fast plants to do genetic studies with my class this winter but I do not know where to start. I looked through the resources online and the activity that seemed to be most in line with the Ohio content standards was the one titled "who's the father monohybrid cross." I would like to do this activity or one like it but I just don't know where to go from there. There are so many products to choose from and I don't really know what I need. I would ideally like to start this activity after Christmas break and therefore would like to order items right away so that I can try the activity myself before I have my students do it. 
Any help with steering me to a product/resource would be greatly appreciated. 
I already have a lighting system for the plants but everything else I will have to purchase with my classroom funds.
My response:
Two things I suggest as resources for this preliminary stage of your planning. First, I suggest using our online planning tool for deciding what kind of growing system to use in your situation. Since you already have a lighting system, select that you'll "build it" and go on from there. Depending on the type of lights you have (and so the space you have beneath), you'll have different options for growing systems. It sounds like you might want to choose between building bottle growing systems or deli-container growing systems.
Here's a link to the "getting started" tool: http://www.fastplants.org/how_to_grow/getting_started.php
Then, you might also take a look at the genetics decision tree we have online here: http://www.fastplants.org/resources/compare_plants.php
Who's the Father is a great inquiry, and it can be done in a variety of ways. After you've taken a look at the resources above, let me know if you're still wondering about how to facilitate a version of that inquiry to meet your learning goals and timeframe. 

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Thank you for you quick reply to my inquiry. I am going to proceed with purchasing the kit for the "who's the father" activity. Both of the resources you directed me to seemed to lead me to the same conclusion. I am ordering them today and using my own light banks. I would be interested in hearing from others who used this activity for the monohybrid application just to get ideas. 

Thanks again for your help, 

Adam

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