Wisconsin Fast Plants Network

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All Blog Posts (57)

In Support of Trichome Selection

Hello Fast Plants Colleagues,

In support of those of you attempting the Artificial Selection lab, selecting for trichome density, we’ve compiled the following in the hopes that it may assist you.

Please check out the photos and especially the PDF for tips on identifying trichomes (hairs), ways to count them (including a method utilizing free, easy-to-use ImageJ software). Please comment if you’d like clarification or more information on anything!…


Added by Jackson Hetue on March 24, 2015 at 11:30am — No Comments

Pollination & Making Bee Sticks

A little curiosity

I tried to design and print in 3d an artificial bee (the prototype is still a bit to big).

This first prototype allows to insert and change (after washing the bee) a q-tips which acts as  a fuzzy thorax for the collection of pollen. Once I have a satisfactory prototype I will try it on Fastplant ! (and if possible will upload the file .stl on this platform ... )…


Added by Mattia Rossi on February 20, 2015 at 9:30am — 2 Comments

Who is the father?

This year, with 4 classes (students are 14-15 years old) we are going to try the experience "who is the father" to introduce  some of the concepts of genetics.

The students will use a laboratory notebook and the teachers  decided to not introduce concepts of mitosis, gene or allele. In this way, we would like to encourage the construction by students of original interpretative models (based on collected data ) .


In this first month we focused on…


Added by Mattia Rossi on October 6, 2014 at 2:30pm — 3 Comments

NSTA presentations

As I am starting my time in the presenting chain for NSTA I am developing a presentation that I can share at state science conferences focusing on inquiry using Wisconsin Fast Plants. My first presentation will be at the Nebraska State Science Teachers meeting in September. It will fit into my theme while president of "Developing a Creative Culture."

Added by Carolyn Hayes on August 1, 2014 at 4:05am — No Comments

Teaching Genetics with Fast Plants--Abbreviating Procedures to Fit Busy Schedules

I'm sharing here a DRAFT document that describes options for teaching genetics with our "Who's the Father?" procedures in ways that reduce the amount of class time required. We receive quite a few requests for help with timing these…


Added by Hedi Baxter Lauffer on May 1, 2013 at 12:37pm — No Comments

Mung Bean Excel Data


Added by Cherie thunder on April 18, 2013 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Mung Beans Experiment Data

See the next blog post for an excel sheet with the data from the first two days after watering.

The third day of measuring was missed, this lead to only having a measurement of beans on the 4th day. Another issue I encountered was the amount of time that elapsed before I measured the amount of water left over. This left space for error in the experiment because some of the water may have evaporated overnight.

I will be starting another experiment soon and account for any errors…


Added by Cherie thunder on April 17, 2013 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Using Mung Beans to Demonstrate that Plants Gain Mass from Carbon in the Air

One common misconception held by students is that plants gain mass only from water and things they absorb from the soil they are grown in--not recognizing the mass that comes from Carbon taken in from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. There have been problems with demonstrating to students the mass from carbon by growing Fast Plants and then drying them to show the change in mass from seeds to mature plant. The biggest issue was the water lost during the drying process was so great it…

Added by Cherie thunder on April 10, 2013 at 5:10pm — No Comments



I started to cultivate Brassica rapa in November 2012.

For my growing system I chose more expensive fluorescent lamps (Philips 660, 36W) instead of « traditional » cool white neon (Philips 290, 36W).

Philips 660, 36W neon cost three times more.

I wonder if this price difference is really justified by the performance of the lamp. I had the opportunity to borrow a spectrometer and to analyzed the light emitted ... what do you think ? … in addition … is it…


Added by Mattia Rossi on March 29, 2013 at 1:16pm — 3 Comments

Strange plant growth- disease or ???


We are doing an experiment testing different soils in 7th grade. We have done similar experiments for the last 7 years. This year is the first time we have used the dilute recipe for Peter's Pro fertilizer in the water reservoir. In  previous years we have fertilized once a week as per older directions from the Fast Plant manual.…


Added by Rosemary Peck on May 11, 2011 at 10:30am — No Comments

Earth Day 2011

With Earth Day approaching, I'm thinking about how important it is--now more than ever--for learners to have a grasp of how scientific practices involve models and modeling. For example, models and model organisms are used extensively by scientists who are involved in the types of systems thinking that are necessary for understanding pressing concerns such as climate change, the impact of the nuclear disaster in Japan or the oil pollution in the gulf. Our students need to develop an… Continue

Added by Hedi Baxter Lauffer on April 19, 2011 at 9:45am — 2 Comments

NSTA Presentation

Three teachers from Chicago (including me) will be presenting 'Using Inquiry to Study Global Sustainability Issues' Thursday.  Fast Plants are our model organism for this project.  Come check it out!

Added by Elizabeth Druger on March 4, 2011 at 10:12am — 1 Comment

NSTA in San Francisco

We are hoping to see those of you going to San Francisco next week for the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference at our booth, #600, in the exhibit hall! Did you know this is our 25th anniversary as a Program? We'll write more about that in the next blog entry . . .

It's always great to connect in person and share our latest ventures with those of you who are able to make the trip to NSTA. We will be making discovery necklaces and lenses (with a bit of…


Added by Wisconsin Fast Plants Program on March 4, 2011 at 9:42am — No Comments

Soil Carbon Cycling Outline

Activity Title: Soil Carbon Cycling.



Added by Craig A. Kohn on September 1, 2010 at 9:05pm — 1 Comment

Ag Standards

GLBRC Soils Lesson – Ag Standards

Wisconsin’s Model Academic

Standards for Agricultural Education

B.12.1 Apply knowledge of technology to identify and solve problems (see SC H.12.3, H.12.4, H.12.5)

B.12.2 Select and communicate information in an appropriate format; e.g., oral, written,graphic, pictorial, multimedia (see LA B.12.1, C.12.1)

B.12.3 Use technology to acquire, organize, and communicate information by entering,modifying, retrieving, and…


Added by Craig A. Kohn on September 1, 2010 at 8:23pm — No Comments

Soil Carbon Cycling Lesson Plans - Middle Grades

Soil Carbon Cycling Lesson Plan


The students will learn about the importance of carbon sequestration in soil. The students will use a variety of methods to learn how much the soil sequesters carbon/

Levels: Middle School

Subjects: Earth Science, Environmental Studies

Materials: Apple (Earth as an Apple Demo)

Soil Core Sample

Cards with the letters “C”(arbon), “H”(ydrogen), and “O”(xygen)

(amount of cards determined by number of… Continue

Added by Ken Lehman on August 30, 2010 at 8:30pm — No Comments

Soil Carbon Cycling

Soil Carbon Cycling Plan

Target Concept:

The students will be able to:

A. Predict and evaluate the ability for soil to sequester carbon.

B. Construct a cause and effect relationship between soil management and climate change.

Driving Questions:

1. What is soil?

2. What role does soil play in the carbon cycling plan?

3. How do people affect the amount of carbon found in the soil?

4. What is the relationship between soil and human needs?

Evidence… Continue

Added by Ken Lehman on August 4, 2010 at 2:32pm — No Comments

Elementary Learners, Fast Plants and The Science of Spring

Happy Spring and Hello, Fellow Fast Plant Educators!

You may be interested to know about an online resource for students that was started by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to accompany the traditional White House Easter Egg Roll yesterday.

The site is called The… Continue

Added by Wisconsin Fast Plants Program on April 7, 2010 at 9:13am — No Comments

Getting Started on our Social Network

WELCOME to the Fast Plants Social Network! Help us build

our community of educators sharing ideas about using Fast Plants to

teach important science ideas.
Here's a link to a Plain English video that explains what a

social network is and gives an overview of how it works.

We've put together a short "road map" about ways to participate on the… Continue

Added by Wisconsin Fast Plants Program on March 4, 2010 at 12:30am — 1 Comment

National Lab Day

Have you heard about National Lab Day? I learned about it through the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) when I was invited to write a "testimonial" with my hope for how National Lab Day could inspire a stir in science education (and you can write a testimonial, too!).

If you haven't heard about it, check out their website; it is an… Continue

Added by Hedi Baxter Lauffer on February 24, 2010 at 7:00pm — No Comments



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