Dartmouth Montshire Institute for Science Education
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Using Plants as Model Organisms
A Middle School Experimental Design Curriculum

The project augments another Dartmouth-Montshire Institute curriculum program, Environmental Detectives. The addition of Dr. Mary Lou Guerinot's lab and her resources to the Environmental Detectives program enabled project staff to develop a series of bioassays using plants as the model organism. Project staff found that for certain teachers, the logistics and ethics of keeping live animals in their classrooms to use as experimental organisms, even aquatic invertebrates, proved to be a barrier to middle school students successfully designing, implementing, and finding measurable results in their own dose-response experiments. This project supported the successful introduction of using plants for a variety of toxicology experiments in which teachers and students develop bioassays such as radish seed germination under different conditions and others.

Project Principals:

Scientific P.I.: Mary Lou Guerinot
Professor of Biological Sciences, Dartmouth College

Educational Programming: Gregory DeFrancis
Director of Education, Montshire Museum of Science

Educational Programming: Rachel Donegan
Science Educator, Montshire Museum

Project dates:

9/1/01 - 8/31/02

Project funding:

National Science Foundation
Grant Recipient: Guerinot, Dartmouth College

Project outreach budget:


For project information, contact any of the project principals.


Dartmouth-Montshire Institute for Science Education