TPS Fellows Facilitate a New Plant Science Program at COSI

April 11, 2017
Parker at COSI

CAPS is pleased to announce that we have officially kicked off the pilot session for our new interactive videoconference program in partnership with our local science center, COSI. This new program, titled Plant Solutions for Global Problems, is the first significant representation of plant science in COSI's education programs. Over three days we facilitated four pilot sessions, connecting virtually from the studio at COSI to classrooms in Central Ohio. So far, we have provided programming to approximately 182 students in 6th-10th grades in three different school districts. 

Control Booth at COSI

A view from the COSI Studio with Katie Trausch from COSI serving as the program director controlling cameras and sound during one of the first pilot programs. 

The development of this program, along with the creation of four educational videos focused on plant science, is funded by the American Society of Plant Biologists' Plant BLOOME grant. Thanks to this support, CAPS and COSI have been able to significantly expand the partnership efforts that were already underway when CAPS was awarded the grant last summer. Together, staff, faculty and graduate students from CAPS co-developed program materials with educators from COSI's Center for School and Community Partnerships. The one-year grant cycle fully supports the development and implementation of the pilot program, which will allow us to test and refine the program before making the final version available nationwide to students in 6th-12th grades for the 2017-2018 school year. In addition, grant funds will support the filming and editing of the educational videos, which when complete will be available on the CAPS website. 

Prior to the scheduled program, teachers receive a kit of materials (each weighing 26 pounds!) that includes everything needed to conduct a variety of pre-post program activities as well as the in-program experiement. The one-hour live program consists of discussions, hands-on experiments and demonstrations of various topics related to plant science including food waste and loss, the impact growing conditions on plant development, bioproducts (with an in-depth look at natural rubber), plant needs, plant-microbe interactions and careers in plant sciences. The four pilot sessions have provided us with valuable insight into opportunities to improve the program before rolling out the final product nationwide for the 2017-2018 school year. 

Rebecca and Jordan

TPS Fellow Rebecca Kimmelfield and COSI's Jordan Rader co-facilitated a pilot program in front of the green screen at COSI. 

Each pilot program was co-facilitated by an educator at COSI and a PhD fellow in the Translational Plant Sciences Graduate Program at The Ohio State University. A total of seven PhD fellows have been trained to facilitate the program, and those seven will share the responsibility of presenting the program in the future. As our graduate program accepts more students, those interested in outreach will also be trained to lead this outreach program. 

Katie Presenting

TPS Fellow Katie D'Amico presents alongside COSI's Katie Trausch for the first pilot session with Buckeye Valley Middle School.

Are you an educator interested in learning more about this and other plant science program opportunities? Contact Courtney Price (, Education and Outreach Specialist, for more information.