Boyce Thompson Institute


Summer Institutes

Curriculum Development Projects in Plant Biology

Click to download a PDF of the 2016 BTI CDP Institute postcard

The Curriculum Development Projects in Plant Biology is a one-week intensive professional development opportunity for 7-12th grade and community college science teachers interested in enhancing their content knowledge and classroom curricula around recent advances in plant biology, science teaching and the Next Generation Science Standards. This summer institute consists of a series of workshops which are especially relevant to agriculture, life science, biology, chemistry, and environmental science teachers interested in implementing scientific inquiry into their classrooms.

The CDP Institute consists of hands-on laboratory investigations designed for the classroom, lectures, seminars with BTI faculty, and resources on current topics in plant biology and science education. Participating teachers begin ongoing collaborations with scientists, graduate students, science educators, and each other to develop standards-based curricula that help students understand essential life science concepts using plants as model and relevant organisms. Tours of the Boyce Thompson Institute research facilities and greenhouse are included.

Applications for the 2017 Institute will be available in January, 2017.

What do teachers gain by participating in this program?

Tom Freeman, teacher from Anaheim, CA, shows off a hydroponically grown rice plant after imaging the roots during the 2015 CDP Institute.

  • Deeper Content and Pedagogical Knowledge: Teachers are immersed in recent advances in plant biology research, laboratory techniques and inquiry-based science teaching. Faculty-led seminars focus on plant biology content including, photosynthesis, agriculture, biomass-to-biofuels, cell wall biology, biotechnology, and genetics and diversity. Learning-labs, field trips, discussions,  and educational resources build on seminars and relate to your work in the classroom.
  • Collaborative Curriculum Development Experience: Teachers collaborate with scientists, science educators, graduate students, and each other to develop lesson plans, inquiry-based labs, and demonstrations related to plant biology for use in their classrooms. Collaborating teachers also pilot BTI-developed classroom curricula that emphasize:
    • Alignment with AAAS Benchmarks for Science Literacy, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and NYS Core Curriculum Standards
    • Engagement of diverse students
    • Building student understanding of essential life science concepts using scientific inquiry and plants as model organisms
    • Connecting science concepts to issues like food production, environmental stewardship, bioenergy and human health
  • Classroom Support: With remote classroom visits, classroom materials and experiment kits, BTI educators support teachers in the implementation and assessment of new plant-based curricula.
  • Ongoing Professional Development: Upon completion of the workshop…
    Teachers Nicole Kravis and Elena Oldendorf look for beet army worm caterpillars on maize plants in the Kohut Teaching Lab during the 2015 CDP Institute.

    Teachers Nicole Kravis and Elena Oldendorf look for beet army worm caterpillars on maize plants in the Kohut Teaching Lab during the 2015 CDP Institute.

    •  Each participant earns up to 70 professional development hours
    • Teachers stay in contact throughout the year and have opportunities to return to BTI and present at Spring or Fall STEM Teacher Workshops.
    • Classroom-tested curricula will be published on our BTI education webpages and/ or nationally recognized education journals for use by other science teachers
  • Eligible Participants: Informal science educators, in- and pre-service 7-12 grade science teachers, and community college faculty are eligible to apply. Please note, the BTI Summer Institute is supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF); therefore, applicants must be either citizens or legal residents of the U.S.
  • Funding: Housing, travel assistance and a stipend are provided to help offset the cost of the workshop.

NSFTeacher Programs are funded by the National Science Foundation, individual faculty grants, and the generosity of private donors.

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