Plants in the News, October 9 2015: Artemisia annua and coral bleaching

The biggest news in plant science is the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Tu Youyou for her discovery and development of the antimalarial drug artemisinin from the plant Artemisia annua. The other half of the prize was shared by Satoshi Ōmura and William C. Campbell for the development avermectins, also … Read more

Winning entries of the August 2015 “Teaching Tools Proposal” competition

We had many excellent proposals submitted for the second round of the the “Teaching Tools in Plant Biology” competition, from which we selected two for further development. The competition has one additional submission deadline December 31 2015, and full details can be found at Here are the two winning proposals and their authors from … Read more

Plants in the News, 2 October: Cannabis, entry point to plant science or plant-that-must-not-be-named?

  This week, Nature published an excellent Outlook on cannabis science and policy. How do you feel about cannabis as a topic of discussion in the classroom? I’ve tended to shy away from it – in my experience the benefit of increased interest can be outweighed by the distraction of giggles and jokes. However, this … Read more

Countdown to The Martian

I’m excited to see so many people writing about The Botanist .. er The Martian, including: Alun Salt in AoB Blog (Incidently, Alun wrote about the book back in 2014, inspring me and others to read it), Adam Rutherford in the Guardian, and Chris Martine in HuffPost (who, very coolly, just named a new species … Read more

Plants in the News, Sept 25 2015: Wheat

In honor of the International Wheat Conference 2015 (#IWC2015), this week’s Plants in the News focuses on wheat. For an overview, one of the best sources of information about wheat science is Peter Shewry’s Darwin Review, simply titled “Wheat”; see also an excellent perspective in the Economist. Global wheat production Wheat provides 20% of global … Read more

“From atom to planet in 90 seconds”: my experience and tips from the ‘Discover Plant Science’ micro-film

Mary Williams spoke about the potential for plant science outreach films in a recent blog post. In this blog post, I’ll share my own experience in commissioning a 90-second film for “For biology, it has to be visual,” Katie said. A 17 year old who’d left behind her old friends to transfer to a … Read more

Plants in the News, September 11 2015

This week’s episode has the theme of “Videos”. There are not enough good videos about plant science, but there’s a lot of talent out there, how about making an engaging video as your outreach project for the year? To get you started, here’s a video from the Eden Channel about how to make a great … Read more

Plants in the News, September 4 2015

Welcome to Episode 4 of our weekly feature, Plants in the News. These stories are selected to provide educators with interesting and accessible news from the world of plant science. Although some of the stories we feature are based on articles with restricted access, we also provide links to news summaries that are available without … Read more

My introduction to Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) ~ thanks to Master Educator Program

Engaging through POGIL – I had the opportunity thanks to the ASPB Master Educator Program to attend my first POGIL workshop ( in June of this year, accompanied by three of my Alfred University Biology colleagues. Our curriculum is in the process of revision to meet Vision and Change and the ASPB Core Concepts in … Read more

Creating a Pipeline for Food & Ag Careers Starts in Elementary School

Re-posted with permission from Robin Habeger’s blog A strong food and agricultural science education system is important for many reasons. The current release of the AGree paper titled Food and Agricultural Education in the United States highlights the need for parents, educators and policy makers to advocate for the inclusion of food and agricultural science … Read more

Lights, camera, action! Prepare for a botanist to take center stage!

“The Martian” opens October 2. Why should you care? Because it is one of the most-anticipated movies of the year and it features a botanist, played by Matt Damon, in the lead role. Here’s the trailer. Botanists have appeared in big films previously; Laura Dern’s character in Jurassic Park (1993) was a paleobotanist, which is … Read more

ASPB’s Newest Education & Outreach Partner: the Wiki Education Foundation

  The debut of Wiki Edu’s new course design tools  at Plant Biology 2015.   Wiki Ed has been eager to show off the course design and monitoring tools that we launched last month. We had our first chance to do so in late July, when Outreach Manager Samantha Erickson and I attended the American … Read more

Conference Tweeting for Plant Scientists Part 1: Twitter basics

Twitter is quickly becoming the platform of choice for connections and communications at scientific conferences and beyond. The current culture of science, which values openness, accessibility and broad participation, is enhanced by the barrier-free Twitter environment; everyone has an equal right to participate in Twitter conversations. At several conferences this summer I’ve been asked for … Read more

PB15: Plant Biology Education Research

Education Minisymposium (#27) Wednesday 3:45-5:10, Room 101 I-J Berkley Walker: The Sounds of Science collaboration between plant biologists and music composition students Sue Wick:  Sharing the Wealth – Mentoring other colleagues and the next generation of undergraduate teachers in evidence-based (scientific) teaching. Marian Quain:  Introducing basic biotechnology teaching techniques in high schools in Jessamina Blum: Introducing … Read more

PB2015 – Lessons on How to Study: Evidence from Cognitive Psychology

The Plant Biology 2015 Education Workshop Wednesday 12-1:30, Room 205 A-D Lessons on How to Study:  Evidence from Cognitive Psychology Guest moderator: Nate Kornell, Williams College Learn which study methods are effective, and which, despite what we might think, are not.  In this workshop, we will discuss research from cognitive psychology that shows which study … Read more

PB2015: Education & Outreach Options

Need resources for K-16 learning or public engagement? Visit the PB15 Exhibit Hall Education & Outreach Booth. Meet with experts and discuss: o HHMI BioInteractive video: Popped Secret: The Mysterious Origin of Corn o Wiki Education Foundation – a new ASPB partnership to enhance plant science content on Wikipedia – opportunities to pilot a new … Read more

BLOOME Grant Update: 19 Teachers + Forest Ecosystem Functions = 100s of student engagement opportunities

Thinking about Forests – What happens when nineteen teachers have the opportunity to study how forest ecosystems function? You get the potential to engage hundreds of students in thinking about forests as dynamic, exciting systems that shape the quality of the world we live in, from cleaning water and cooling the environment to preserving biodiversity. … Read more

 A Master Educator: Making a case for case studies

Tremendously beneficial: As a 2014 recipient of ASPB’s Master Educator Program (MEP) award, I received funding to attend the National Case Studies 2015 summer workshop in Buffalo, NY. Prior to attending the workshop I had used a few case studies in my classes but attending the workshop was tremendously beneficial because it examined the structure … Read more

Winning entries of the April 2015 “Teaching Tools Proposal” competition

Earlier this year we announced a competition for proposals for the “Teaching Tools in Plant Biology” series of educational articles published by The Plant Cell. We had many excellent proposals submitted from which we selected three for further development. Sound intriguing? The competition has additional submission deadlines of August 31 and December 31 2015, and … Read more

Teaching Tools tackles Micronutrients and Metals

The latest Teaching Tool in Plant Biology explores the theme of “Micronutrients and Metals”. By definition, the micronutrients (Fe, Cu, Zn, Mn, Mo, Ni, B, Si and Cl) are essential for plant life, and most are also essential for human and other animal life. About a quarter of cellular proteins are metalloproteins that associate tightly … Read more