Fast Plants® manuals feature a series of complete classroom activities for all grade levels.

Manuals Include:
  • Instructions and materials lists
  • Growing instructions
  • Data sheets
  • Illustrations and black-line masters for easy photocopying
  • Resources and references
Reading Green
Level: Elementary - Middle school*

Reading Green is a research-based learning activity that integrates learning in both science and literacy. Students plant Wisconsin Fast Plant® seeds and observe them growing and flowering in just 14 days. While their plants grow, students read short stories that were written to capture young readers’ imaginations as middle-school-age twins travel around the world with their scientist parents, learning about what plants need to grow.

Teacher's guide, student books, seeds and planting materials are available from Carolina Biological Supply Company. Supporting materials, including student notebooks and how to build lighting and deli-container growing systems are available on the Fast Plants website.

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Teaching with Fast Plants
Level: All Grade Levels*

Our newest manual for teaching with Fast Plants (© 2011): Kindergarten through college level students who grow Fast Plants (rapid-cycling Brassica rapa) through a life cycle, from seed to seed, can learn many aspects of biology that are relevant to understanding themselves as individual organisms among the many others that make up the living systems on Earth. By looking at the life cycle of Fast Plants from the perspective of the stages of growth and development from seed germination to seed production, students can understand the nature of the dependency among organisms and their environment.

The activities in this manual are all founded on an understanding of the Fast Plant life cycle as a model organism. Each chapter in the manual focuses on stages of the Fast Plant life cycle. Students can take a plant through its entire life cycle following all activities or focus on a single chapter or even on a single activity. While each activity stands on its own and can be performed in isolation, the investigation of more activities in many or all chapters will lead to a deeper understanding of how the various portions of the life cycle interact and interrelate. Further, the chapters focus on different skills such as observation, experimentation or data analysis.

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Spiraling Through Life with Fast Plants®
Level: Middle - High school*

Teach inquiry-based sciences with the Fast Plants® manual. Meet the high-school science standards using the Spiral of Life activities and "Inquiry Launch Pads."

Also available in Spanish.

Over 25 explorations in:
  • Germination
  • Growth and Development
  • Flowering
  • Pollination
  • Fertilization

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Bottle Biology
Level: All grade levels*

Grades 2 and up. Developed by the Wisconsin Fast Plants® program, this innovative book is a perfect companion to Exploring with Wisconsin Fast Plants®. Bottle Biology is full of ways to use plastic soda bottles and other recyclable materials to teach about science and the environment. The projects promote science as a tool everyone can use to explore the world. Use Wisconsin Fast Plants® materials or other living organisms to model a rainforest, create a spider habitat, explore an ecosystem, or learn about composting. Each chapter contains background information, activities, and teaching tips.

Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 127 pages.

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Exploring with Wisconsin Fast Plants®
Level: Elementary - High school*

Exploring is an elementary/ middle school teacher resource manual. This fully indexed version includes new activities, a new section entitled "Variation, Heredity and Evolution," and another new section on lighting and environmental requirements. "Concept" statements have been added to the beginning of four sections: these statements are meant to assist teachers in aligning Fast Plants® with the AAAS Benchmarks and Science Standards. This teacher resource manual emphasizes an open-ended, process science approach. Originally targeted to lower grade levels, it is widely used as a source of ideas by high school and college educators and for in-service training. Exploring contains all information for growing Wisconsin Fast Plants® seed as well as ideas for explorations of the entire life cycle, physiology, and ecology.

Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 288 pages. 

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Wisconsin Fast Plants® Manual
Level: Middle - College*

This complete manual contains background information, taxonomy of Brassicas, growing instructions, and procedures for Wisconsin Fast Plants® exercises and activities. Although not all activities may be suited for lower grade levels, many can be adapted for younger students by simplifying the instructions and leaving out the more sophisticated portions of some exercises. Wisconsin Fast Plants 185 pages.

  • Investigating Growth and Development.
  • Exercises on germination, seedling development, and tropism Investigating Plant Physiology.
  • Exercises on plant responses to a growth hormone and to various amounts of fertilizer.
  • Investigating Mendelian Genetics. Exercises on Monohybrid and Dihybrid genetics
  • Investigating Non-Mendelian Genetics. Exercises on cytoplasmic (maternal) inheritance
  • Investigating Ecology. Exercises studying salt pollution, acid rain, ionizing radiation, and other ecological conditions
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STC (Science and Technology for Children) Curriculum Unit
Level: Elementary (Grades 2 & 5)
  • Plant Growth and Development unit. Grade 3. Teacher's guide and student activity book.
  • Experiments with Plants unit. Grade 6. Teacher's guide and student activity books.

Science and Technology for Children (STC) is a complete science program for children in grades 1-6. Filled with innovative hands-on activities designed to motivate your young students, it is the result of a joint effort by some of the leaders in the fields of education and science. The National Science Resources Center (NSRC), operated by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Academy of Sciences to improve the teaching of science in the nation's schools, began developing STC in 1988; the curriculum was completed in 1997.

The NSRC evaluated each STC unit's effectiveness with children by nationally field-testing it in diverse urban, rural, and suburban public schools. The assessments in each unit were evaluated by the Program Evaluation and Research Group of Lesley College, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Each unit also reflects the incorporation of teacher and student field-test feedback and of comments on accuracy and soundness from nationally known scientists and science educators who serve on the STC Advisory Panel. This thorough research and development process ensures all STC units are scientifically accurate and pedagogically appropriate for children.

For more information on STC materials with Fast Plants: Visit this link at Carolina Biological.

*The investigations and ideas from each of these manuals can be adapted to scale up or down to meet elementary - college classrooms. The levels indicted are only mentioned as a starting reference.
Fast Plants® is a registered trademark of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.
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