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32 Standards Met with Wisconsin Fast Plants®

Hedi Baxter Lauffer, PhD
Director of the Wisconsin Fast Plants® Program
University of Wisconsin-Madison

August 2016


Background

More than ever, global citizens need a solid foundational understanding of plants to grasp their significance in carbon cycling, ecosystem resilience, food, and sustainability. This importance is reflected in the prominence of plants in the NGSS Performance Expectations. Wisconsin Fast Plants® are a classroom-tested, tried-and-true way to bring plants into any science curriculum at all grade levels. Their superfast life cycle—seedlings observable after only 3 days, flowers in just 14 days, and viable seed produced in just over a month—holds students' interest and aligns with teachers' busy schedules.


Seeds of genetics

The family of Wisconsin Fast Plants® includes a number of specialized seed stocks that were developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to teach about variation and inheritance. These select genetic seed stocks (produced through selective breeding, not molecular genetic modification) have easily observable and quantifiable traits, like stem and leaf color, that are regulated by the straightforward inheritance of dominant or recessive alleles. Using Wisconsin Fast Plants® genetic stocks, students can see results from artificial selection or observe and figure out for themselves the genetics that are typically taught with a Punnett square. Carolina Biological Supply Company and Wisconsin Fast Plants® can even help you with lessons to explore variation and genetics in just 72 hours, depending on your teaching goals.


Addressing NGSS at all grade levels

The following grade-level tables (elementary, middle school, and high school) relate ways that Wisconsin Fast Plants® are used in investigations to teach the Performance Expectations in NGSS that directly involve plants. Many teachers design lessons so that classes grow a crop of Fast Plants® through an entire life cycle (or more), and students conduct multiple investigations (aligned with multiple performance expectations) as plants grow through the developmental stages of their life cycle. Hands-on investigations with Fast Plants® that are supported with additional resources (readings, textbooks, research, simulations, etc.) naturally integrate literacy and mathematics learning into science.

Also included in the tables are recommended Wisconsin Fast Plants® kits that include all the materials for teaching these investigations. If you're just getting started with Fast Plants®, these are great first steps for your grade level. There are many more outstanding kits available from Carolina.


Elementary (K–5)

Standards Wisconsin Fast Plants® Investigations Recommended Carolina Kits
K-LS1-1
K-ESS2-2
K-ESS3-1
1-LS1-1
1-LS1-2
1-LS3-1
2-LS2-1
2-LS2-2
3-LS3-1
3-LS3-2
3-LS4-2
4-LS1-1

Grow Standard Wisconsin Fast Plants® from seed, through their life cycle, making and recording observations as follows:

  • Germinate the seeds in a Petri dish or deli container; observe and study the structures and functions of seeds, roots, shoots, and leaves.
  • Study flower and bee structures and their functions in pollination; design a pollination device that transfers pollen like a bee.
  • Observe and record the changes that occur through the Fast Plants® life cycle and compare to other organisms' life cycles.
  • Harvest and plant seeds to observe the offspring generation and compare to parents.

Wisconsin Fast Plants® Elementary Exploration of Plant Life Cycles Kit (item #158973)
This is a complete classroom kit for getting started with Wisconsin Fast Plants® written for elementary teachers. Includes step-by-step instructions for planting, tending, pollinating, and producing seed for an offspring generation. All you’ll need is a light source.

Reading Green™ Stories, Pack of 5 (item #158698)
Written at a 4th grade reading level, each book contains 5 fiction stories with factual information about plants’ needs. These work well as read aloud books for younger students to follow along with as their Fast Plants® grow. Great for integrating literacy and science.

3-LS3-1
5-PS3-1
5-LS1-1
5-LS2-1
Germinate Standard Wisconsin Fast Plants® or grow them in soil as part of controlled experiments to learn about plants' needs, investigating environmental factors such as:

  • Light versus dark conditions
  • Water (allow 1 or 2 plants to dry out as evidence that plants need water)
  • Fertilizer levels (no fertilizer or too much versus recommended amount)
Build on experimental evidence with information about plants' needs in readings and other media (e.g., Reading Green™ Stories).


Middle School (6–8)

Standards Wisconsin Fast Plants® Investigations Recommended Carolina Kits
MS-LS1-4
MS-LS3-2  
Grow Standard Wisconsin Fast Plants® or specialized seed stocks (Fast Plants® bred for a heritable, observable phenotypic trait). Grow plants to flowering or through their full life cycle. Observe and record quantitative and qualitative data. Investigations may include:

  • Dissect a flower, pollinate and observe seed development, and research flower structures and their functions in reproduction.
  • Observe and quantify the variation that occurs in traits because Fast Plants® result from sexual reproduction (e.g., height, number of leaves, number of days to flower, and stem and leaf color).
  • Harvest and plant seeds to observe the offspring generation and compare to parents.
  • Observe dominant/recessive patterns of inheritance in offspring that have a different phenotypic trait (e.g., stem color) than their parents.

Wisconsin Fast Plants® Growth, Development, and Reproduction Advanced Classroom Kit (item #158702)
This is a complete classroom kit for getting started with Wisconsin Fast Plants® written for the middle/high school level teacher. Includes step-by-step instructions for planting, tending, pollinating, and producing seed for an offspring generation. All you will need is a light source.

Wisconsin Fast Plants® Who’s the Father? Investigating Genetics Monohybrid Kit (item #158963)
Everything needed for students to use observations and plant breeding to figure out why the recessive, non-purple stem is masked by the dominant purple stem phenotype. Replace Punnett square lectures or pesky fruit flies with this highly interactive way to learn genetics.

MS-LS1-6
MS-LS1-7
MS-LS2-1
MS-LS2-3
MS-LS2-4
Grow Standard Wisconsin Fast Plants® as part of controlled experiments to learn about the role that plants play in the cycling of matter, flow of energy, and interdependence in ecosystems:

  • High-light levels versus low-light levels and dark conditions
  • Nutrient availability (no fertilizer or too much versus recommended amount)
  • Soil types (recommended soilless mix versus sandy soil, clay, etc.)
  • Densely planted Fast Plants® (crowded population) versus Fast Plants® growing with ample room


High School (9–12)

Standards Wisconsin Fast Plants® Investigations Recommended Carolina Kits
HS-LS1-5
HS-LS2-4
HS-LS3-1
HS-LS3-2
HS-LS3-3  
Grow specialized Wisconsin Fast Plants® seed stocks that were bred for 1 or 2 heritable, observable phenotypic traits. Germinate seedlings and observe variation and heritable traits in just 72 hours, or grow plants to flowering or through their full life cycle. Observe and record quantitative and qualitative data. Investigations may include:

  • Observe, quantify, and explain the phenotypic variation that occurs when dominant versus recessive alleles (that regulate easily observable traits, such as stem or leaf color) are passed from parents to offspring.
  • Use statistics to analyze data collected from Fast Plants®, and explain easily observable, dominant/recessive inheritance patterns.

Wisconsin Fast Plants® Who’s the Father? Investigating Genetics
Monohybrid (1 trait) Kit (item #158963)
Dihybrid (2 traits) Kit (item #158964)
Everything needed for students to use observations and plant breeding to figure out observed inheritance patterns for 1 or 2 dominant/recessive inherited phenotypes. Replace Punnett square lectures or pesky fruit flies with this highly interactive way to learn genetics.

Wisconsin Fast Plants® 72-Hour Monohybrid Genetics Kit (item #158940)
Similar to the "Who's the Father?" kit described above, this monohybrid alternative kit has students germinate Fast Plants® seeds without using soil and observe the stem color of 3-day-old seedlings.

HS-LS2-1 Grow Standard Wisconsin Fast Plants® as part of controlled experiments to learn about cycling of matter, flow of energy, interdependence, and carrying capacity in ecosystems. Investigations may include:

  • Test how varied nutrient availability impacts Fast Plants® growth and development.
  • Test environmental stresses, such as acidity or salinity, on Fast Plants® reproductive success.
  • Measure how light intensity and/or leaf type impact rates of photosynthesis.
Wisconsin Fast Plants® Growth, Development, and Reproduction Advanced Classroom Kit (item #158702)
This is a complete classroom kit for getting started with Wisconsin Fast Plants® written for the middle/high school level teacher. Includes step-by-step instructions for planting, tending, pollinating, and producing seed for an offspring generation. All you will need is a light source.
HS-LS4-2
HS-LS4-3
AP® Biology Inquiry #1
Grow a class population of Standard Fast Plants®, and then develop selection criteria for a particular phenotype that students can breed to increase. Select and inter-pollinate only a few parent plants to try to increase the trait's frequency in the offspring population. Use statistics to determine the impact. Wisconsin Fast Plants® Growth, Development, and Reproduction Advanced Classroom Kit (item #158702)
See description above.


AP® is a trademark registered and/or owned by the College Board®, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, these products.

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