Places to Publish Plant Education Articles

Susan Singer ssinger at CARLETON.EDU
Mon Dec 4 16:14:48 EST 1995

    A very exciting addition to David Hershey's list of places to publish
plant biology education articles is the ASPP journal Plant Physiology!
Maarten Chrispeels (the editor) is willing to publish peer-reviewed, high
quality, scholary articles on plant biology education. What a wonderful
step forward for plant biologists!

Susan Singer

>I missed the November 1994 discussion about the establishment of
>a plant education journal, a publication sorely needed to
>strengthen plant education. Despite the lack of such a journal,
>plant educators have many outlets for education articles. I have
>published over two dozen such articles in a variety of refereed
>science education journals. Some places to publish plant biology
>teaching articles are the following:
>The AMERICAN BIOLOGY TEACHER, published by the National
>Association of Biology Teachers (NABT), is probably the single
>biggest source of plant biology teaching articles. It has a
>circulation of about 11,000, and its readers are about 75% high
>school biology teachers, yet most articles are written by college
>faculty. Surveys indicate the most appreciated articles are of
>the How-to-do-it type, which give directions for hands-on labs or
>teaching techniques. Other articles are reviews of particular
>biology topics or teaching techniques.
>BIOSCIENCE has an Education department that only occasionally
>appears but is a good place for plant teaching articles. I have
>also published plant teaching items in the Biologist Toolbox and
>Viewpoint departments.
>The British quarterly, JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL EDUCATION, publishes
>a great many plant articles and is one of the few that gives free
>reprints to authors.
>The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) publishes four
>general science teaching journals: SCIENCE & CHILDREN for
>elementary teachers, SCIENCE SCOPE for middle school teachers,
>THE SCIENCE TEACHER for high school teachers, and JOURNAL OF
>COLLEGE SCIENCE TEACHING. All often contain plant articles. An
>advantage of NSTA journals is that they have artists who can take
>an author's rough sketches and make professional drawings. The
>JOURNAL OF COLLEGE SCIENCE TEACHING is aimed primarily at faculty
>who teach introductory courses and has a Favorite Demonstration
>section that is ideal for 1 to 2 page articles.
>CAROLINA TIPS is a newsletter distributed free to science
>teachers by Carolina Biological Supply Company. It is unique
>because the articles often contain color illustrations. Articles
>are refereed by Carolina's staff of PhD biologists, and authors
>are provided with free reprints.
>SCIENCE ACTIVITIES is a quarterly general science education
>journal focusing on hands-on activities and often publishes plant
>The JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL EDUCATION sometimes publishes articles
>that deal with plant and soil chemistry.
>The American Society of Agronomy publishes the JOURNAL OF NATURAL
>AGRONOMIC EDUCATION. It has the rare distinction, for a science
>education journal, of having one of its articles cited in a
>textbook (PLANT PHYSIOLOGY by Salisbury & Ross). Unlike the above
>journals, it has page charges.
>the Association of Midwest College Biology Teachers. It contains
>many plant articles. All its 21 volumes are being archived
>online, which will make it one of the most easily accessible
>Research journals sometimes publish teaching articles as well.
>GAZETTE) recently published an article on teaching use of
>Ceratopteris. The AMERICAN JOURNAL OF BOTANY publishes occasional
>special articles that could be considered educational. The PLANT
>SCIENCE BULLETIN publishes education articles, and the ASPP
>NEWSLETTER has an Education Forum for short items. Most states
>have science teacher and biology teacher organizations, some with
>Before publishing, it is worthwhile to search the ERIC database
>for articles on the manuscript's topic that have appeared in the
>science education literature. Although far from complete, ERIC
>does include most of the journals that publish plant teaching
>articles. However, it only started in 1966, so misses the earlier
>literature, much of which is still useful.
>Plant biologists who never publish in it can still help
>strengthen the plant education literature by introducing it to
>their students, particularly to graduate students who plan on
>teaching careers. Introductory botany courses should provide
>students with information on plant biology teaching, which would
>include resources and techniques for precollege teachers and
>parents. Topics could include sources and types of plant biology
>science fair projects, plant biology curricula (e.g. Wisconsin
>fast plants, GrowLab, Lifelab, etc.), and plant projects that
>parents can do with their children (e.g. making a terrarium,
>growing plants from supermarket produce, hydroponics, forcing
>spring bulbs, growing novelty plants, using plants as toys,
>etc.). A useful book on the latter topic is Chesanow, Jeanne R.
>1987. Honeysuckle Sipping: The Plant Lore of Childhood. Camden,
>ME: Down East Books.
>Most of the rewards for publishing in science education journals
>seem to be of the personal satisfaction kind. Although usually
>not recognized as such by administrators, an innovative science
>education article is a scholarly achievement that will probably
>have a wider readership and greater impact than most research
>articles. Sharing your tried and true plant teaching techniques
>is also a service to colleagues and plant biology education in
>general. It may also enable botanically challenged science
>teachers to add some plant content to their general biology
>courses. I use several of my teaching articles as handouts in my
>undergraduate classes. Students are impressed, and they can
>actually understand the articles, something not possible with
>most research articles. A final caution, tenure-track faculty
>should be wary about publishing teaching articles. At some
>institutions, they are considered a negative, rather than a
>positive, part of the tenure package.
>David R. Hershey
>Snail mail:                     Adjunct Professor
>                                Biology/Horticulture Department
>6700 Belcrest Road #112         Prince George's Community College
>Hyattsville, MD 20782-1398      Largo, MD 20772-2199
>Email: dh321 at

Susan Singer
Department of Biology
Carleton College
Northfield, MN 55057
Phone:  507-663-4391
Fax:  507-663-5757
e-mail: ssinger at

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