Wisconsin Fast Plants® are ideal for demonstrating plant concepts. These resources can guide you for a successful experience.
Wisconsin Fast Plants® are model organisms perfect for allowing students to experience a broad range of plant-related concepts. From plant growth and development to plant growth requirements to genetic inheritance and artificial selection, a small package of the plants packs a powerful learning punch.
Following are some of the many resources we have available to help you succeed in growing plants in the classroom.
As with all our living organisms, the best quick-start guide is our Living Care Information.
With so many varieties, Fast Plants® have just the right characteristics to demonstrate most plant science concepts. But with so many to choose from, knowing which is best for your purpose can be confusing. Below are recommendations for getting started.
Any Wisconsin Fast Plants® seeds make a great organism for exploring growth and development. Why settle for just sprouting seeds when you could observe plants grow to flowering in the same amount of time? In 40 days, you can be planting a second generation while most beans and peas are just dropping their petals.
Learn more about using Wisconsin Fast Plants® for plant growth and development.
Learn more about using Wisconsin Fast Plants® for student-driven ecosystem inquiries.
Mendelian Genetics and Linking Phenotype to Genotype
As a model organism for breeding studies, several Mendelian genetic traits have been identified and true breeding seed lines have been established. Stick with our most popular line, the purple stem trait, which can be observed in the seedling stage. Or for other options, review the article “Which Genetic Stock Do I Use?” For more advanced classes, explicitly link genotype to phenotype with one of the Identifying the Mutation in Non-Purple Stem Wisconsin Fast Plants® kits.
See how to implement three-dimensional instruction in a Mendelian lesson using Wisconsin Fast Plants®.
Encourage sensemaking in data analysis.
Variation, Natural and Artificial Selection
Younger students can identify a wide range of varying characteristics by growing seeds from the Confetti mix. Older students can examine the effects of selection using the new Polycot Seeds, or AP® students can apply selection pressure directly to a population of plants with the Wisconsin Fast Plants® Investigating Artificial Selection Using Plant Populations Kit.
Learn more about the polycot trait and using polycot seed lines to teach natural selection.
No matter which seeds or kits you choose, Fast Plants® require a 24-hour source of bright light. How many plants you want to grow and how much space is available in your classroom determines which lighting solution will work best for you. All Carolina lighting solutions provide optimal light conditions for your plants.
The Plant Light Bank comes preassembled and provides excellent lighting for growing plants from multiple classrooms at the same time. The Plant Light House® snaps together for easy setup and take down and can grow 64 plants to maturity (enough for a class of 32 students).
If you plan to grow your plants beyond the seedling stage, you will need a planting system. Wisconsin Fast Plants® kits from Carolina provide all the necessary materials for growing your plants.
For DIY-ers–we have products to support you as well.
The Classroom Plant Watering System is a great way to manage all the individual plants in your classroom. Growing populations is easy with this unique, automatic system.
Fast Plants® require a lightweight soilless potting medium. Carolina’s potting medium is specifically formulated without additional fertilizer. This makes it perfect for designing experiments that manipulate fertilizer levels.
A time-release formula provides Fast Plants® with a continuous source of nutrients.
If you want to produce a strong crop of seeds for selection studies or to complete the life cycle, you’ll need to pollinate the Fast Plants®. In nature, these are bee pollinated, so pollination wands made from dried bees work best. But if convenience is paramount, we also offer pollination wands.
Our webinar “How to Succeed at Growing Plants in the Classroom” has tips and tricks to get the most out of your Fast Plants®.
Need more help? Check out these resources.
Free Investigations and Lessons
|Lesson/Investigation||Grades||Overview||Disciplinary Core Idea|
|Bee-ing an Engineer with Wisconsin Fast Plants||K-2||Students are challenged to design a model that mimics the way a bee pollinates flowers.||ETS1.B Developing Possible Solutions|
LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems LS1.A Structure and Function
|The TerrAqua Column||All||Create an ecosystem column with Wisconsin Fast Plants.||LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems|
|Wisconsin Fast Plants Monohybrid Crosses Inquiry||9-12||Students germinate F2 generation Wisconsin Fast Plants seeds and identify the phenotypes and possible genotypes of the F2 generation plants.||LS3 Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits|
|How Do We Grow? Light vs. Dark||Elementary||Students observe the effects of light and dark conditions on seedlings and develop evidence-based explanations for what is observed.||LS1.C Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms|