• Science and Plants for Schools logo

Teaching Biology: Inspiring Students with Plant Science

Learn how to keep your biology students engaged by teaching practical science with plants. This course is ideal CPD for teachers.

5,037 enrolled on this course

Teaching Biology: Plants
The CPD Certification Service

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. Find out more.

Support the biology curriculum with plant science

Biology lessons provide opportunities to inspire students with practical examples of science. On this course, developed with specialists at Science & Plants for Schools (SAPS), you will learn how to use plants to teach biology and support secondary students’ learning.

You’ll improve your knowledge of plant science and learn how to incorporate it into the curriculum. You’ll be able to share examples of hinge-point questions to address student misconceptions. You’ll also explore how to help your students apply what they’ve learnt to new contexts and increase their engagement in the classroom.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds ALEX JENKIN: How would you answer the question, is an apple alive? Teaching, using plants, can help students to make connections across the biology curriculum, to see the bigger picture, and develop the comprehensive knowledge and understanding that biologists require to succeed.

Skip to 0 minutes and 22 seconds BEVERLEY GOODGER: Scientific research using plants has led to an increased understanding of key biological processes that are fundamental to the survival of all living organisms.

Skip to 0 minutes and 31 seconds ALEX JENKIN: This research is right for you to bring into the classroom, as plants are an important source of living material when teaching biology. Easily sourced throughout the year, and cheap to grow and maintain in school labs.

Skip to 0 minutes and 42 seconds BEVERLEY GOODGER: As a teacher, your knowledge of plant science will allow you to bring novel and inspiring contexts into your classroom to engage your students and provide increased opportunities for your students to develop their practical skills.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds ALEX JENKIN: This course will increase your awareness of how and why plants can be used to teach key biological principles. You will discover year-round, reliable, affordable, relevant, and engaging practicals, which illustrate the connections between processes that are fundamental to biology.

Skip to 1 minute and 11 seconds BEVERLEY GOODGER: These cross-curricular connections are key to helping students apply their understanding of biology to new problems.

Skip to 1 minute and 18 seconds ALEX JENKIN: By the end of this course, you’ll be able to identify areas of the biology curriculum where plant science can be used to challenge your students’ misconceptions, deliver key concepts and novel contexts, and enrich the curriculum.

Skip to 1 minute and 32 seconds BEVERLEY GOODGER: Working with the course mentors and other teachers, you’ll create a plant-rich curriculum that supports your students.

Skip to 1 minute and 38 seconds ALEX JENKIN: Join us online to find out how teaching with plants can inspire your students across the biology curriculum.

What topics will you cover?

  • Practical work in secondary biology for the key topics of: osmosis, respiration and stem cells.
  • Using inspirational examples from plant science to contextualise the curriculum.
  • How making links across the curriculum impacts on students’ learning.
  • Addressing students’ misconceptions.
  • Approaches to teaching practical science that can be applied to other topic areas.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996 and is the leading independent CPD accreditation institution operating across industry sectors to complement the CPD policies of professional and academic bodies.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Modify your scheme of work to incorporate a greater variety of contexts using plants.
  • Identify opportunities to challenge and address students' misconceptions in biology.
  • Explore the use of plants for teaching key biological principles.
  • Improve your subject knowledge in plant science.
  • Collaborate with colleagues to share and critique ideas for teaching practical science.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed as professional development for secondary science and biology teachers who are teaching students aged 11-16 years old. Newly qualified teachers (NQT), early career, returning, and non-specialist teachers will also benefit from this course.

To get the most out of this course, it is recommended that you have access to a school laboratory to evaluate approaches to practical work.

Who will you learn with?

I taught science for ten years and was Head of Science for three years, before becoming a subject specialist at the National STEM Learning Centre.

I am a biology teacher with over thirty years of teaching experience. I have been an ambassador for Science and Plants for Schools for nine years, working with them to develop practical resources.

I manage the Science and Plants for Schools project and have worked in roles supporting science education for eight years. I specialised in plant sciences in my undergraduate degree.

Who developed the course?

National STEM Learning Centre

The National STEM Learning Centre provides world-class professional development activities and resources to support the teaching of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS)

Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS) is the leading provider of free plant science teaching resources in the UK. We create opportunities for teachers and students to find out more about plants.

What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

Still want to know more? Check out our FAQs

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Learner reviews

Learner reviews cannot be loaded due to your cookie settings. Please and refresh the page to view this content.

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...

You can use the hashtag #FLSTEMPlantScience to talk about this course on social media.