Professional Development for Teachers


Teaching American History     •     Grounding in Botany

Teaching American History


The United States Department of Education has created the Teaching American History (TAH) program to raise student achievement by improving teacher knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of American History.

TAH grants are available to school districts who in turn partner with research institutions like The Huntington to provide teacher training and scholarly seminars that enable teachers to expand their students’ awareness in American History.

To date, The Huntington Library has partnered with seven school districts under the TAH program, to develop lesson plans, provide scholarly lectures, and develop classroom and resource materials for the teachers.

Lesson plans developed through this grant in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District are available online, under Library lesson plans.

For more information about the Department of Education TAH program, visit

Grounding in Botany: Integrating Plants into the High School Science Classroom

Course Overview
Grounding in Botany is a hands-on, fun, intense, and exciting professional development opportunity for high school teachers. The course will bolster the professional skills of secondary school science teachers by helping integrate standard-based lessons with real plants and real science. With a focus on scientific investigation supplemented by in-class lecture material, the course will enhance teachers’ knowledge of basic botany and provide a context for using plant material in the classroom to enliven state science standards. The course consists of a 4-week-long summer institute and, for local participants, 5 follow-up workshops throughout the year. Financial support for Grounding in Botany is provided by grants from the National Science Foundation and Arthur Vining Davis Foundation.


Lesson Plans

Lesson plans for this course are available online.

Dates and Location
We are not currently offering the Grounding in Botany program. We will update our site when the status of this program changes.

Each participant will receive a $1,500 stipend for completing the summer institute, and $100 for each of the five follow-up workshops (contingent upon completion of course requirements). All participants will receive a $500 supply grant for classroom implementation of inquiry-based plant lesson plans. Participants from out-of-the-area (100 miles or farther from The Huntington) will receive a $2,600 stipend to cover travel and lodging. 

Course Application
We are not accepting applications for this program at this time.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of 4-week program “Grounding in Botany,” participants will be able to:

  • Construct a growing system for Arabidopsis and Wisconsin Fast Plants
  • Identify the key characteristics in the structure and function of a plant cell 
  • Understand the nature of the semi-permeable plant cell membrane
  • Discuss mitosis and demonstrate with a lab experiment
  • Understand the role surface area plays in limiting cell growth 
  • Discuss differential gene expression 
  • Conduct mono- and di-hybrid crosses using plants
  • Compare photosynthesis and respiration and demonstrate with living plant material
  • Provide visual lab evidence of plant photosynthesis and respiration
  • Contrast CAM, C3, and C4 photosynthesis 
  • Discuss the water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles and cite lab experiments to accompany each
  • Cite recent scientific discoveries based on experiments with plants
  • List several plant science resources from professional organizations, websites, curriculum guides, and literature
  • Discuss the differences between cause, effect, and coincidence and how scientifically we can demonstrate causality
  • List several ways man has impacted agricultural history
  • Conduct a genetic screen with Arabidopsis
  • Contrast pollination and fertilization
  • Discuss the full sporic life cycle of angiosperms
  • Discuss the action of digestive enzymes in germination and demonstrate with a lab experiment 
  • Compare plant adaptations in different environments, using specific physical and physiological traits as examples
  • Write a scientifically-formatted laboratory report
  • Identify the parts of angiosperm flowers and common fruit 
  • Write a usable lesson plan based on course material

Sample Labs  

  • “Photosynthe-Soda” 
  • “DNA in My Lunch: A Simple, Cheap DNA Extraction” 
  • “Cause, Effect, and Coincidence”
  • “Effects of Agrobacterium tumaficians Infection in Sunflowers”
  • “DNA Microarrays” 
  • “Identify the Mutant” 
  • “Design a Screen : Usin g Mutagenized Arabidopsis Seed in the Classroom” 
  • “Mutants and Hormones: Gibberellin’s Effects on Fast Plant Growth” 
  • “Know Your Onion: Visible Mitosis” 
  • “Enzyme Action in Germinating Seeds” 
  • “The ‘You’ in Diffusion” 
  • “BEAN There, Done That: A Hardy-Weinberg Simulation”
  • “3, 2, 1 Countdown to Genetics” 
  • “Natural Selection: For the Birds” 

Nightly and overall homework assignments are a required part of the course.


nsf_logoNational Science Foundation

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. 0330786. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. For more information on this grant please see the Computable Plant website.

About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington, a key figure in the...

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