Teaching biology: inspiring students with plant science NE206 / C19

3 Weeks
Learning Method
Online Delivered CPD


Free online course to develop the way you use plants to teach across the secondary biology curriculum.

The use of plants can provide novel contexts, challenge students’ preconceptions and enrich the curriculum. You will develop your confidence in using plants to teach key biological principles, explore a range of practicals and consider how these can be used to support student learning.

Free for five weeks from when you join.

In this course you will improve your subject knowledge in plant science, consider students misconceptions and how biological principles are linked across the curriculum. Through practical tasks, you'll help students make links with previous learning, apply their learning to new contexts, and increase engagement. 

Who is it for?

The course is designed as professional development for teachers of science or biology for 11-16 year olds. Teachers of biology, early career teachers, returning teachers, non-specialist teachers, technicians and teaching assistants will gain from the peer learning and resources available on this course.

Departments and schools can use this course to structure their own CPD, with support from local CPD providers.

What topics are covered?

This course is structured into three weeks and covers the following topics:

  • 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.

This course takes around three hours per week to complete. You can choose when and where to participate, studying around your work and life commitments. You are supported and encouraged to discuss your ideas with fellow teachers, try out activities, apply concepts to your teaching context and reflect on your practice. You will have access to high-quality resources, including detailed practical demonstrations and guidance from experts in STEM education and assessment.

Who are the course leaders?

This course has been developed by the National STEM Learning Centre in collaboration with Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS). SAPS have built a reputation since launching in 1990 as the ‘go to’ source of inspiration for teaching using plants. Their expert authors combine educational experience and cutting-edge plant science.


By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • modify your scheme of work to incorporate a greater variety of contexts;
  • identify opportunities to challenge students’ preconceptions;
  • explore the use of plants for teaching key biological principles;
  • improve your subject knowledge in plant science;
  • collaborate with peers, educators and mentors to share and critique ideas for teaching practical science. 


Teaching biology: inspiring students with plant science22 June 202000:00-00:00


The email address you give when you apply will be used to send you joining instructions and information about your course. Please make sure you can be contacted directly with this email address.

This course is hosted on FutureLearn. By booking on this course you are consenting to your details being shared with FutureLearn under their Terms and Conditions for Invited Learners. You will be sent an invitation to join the course on FutureLearn no later than the course start date. By accepting this invitation, you agree that your information will be held by FutureLearn and National STEM Learning Centre as data controllers in common.

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State-funded school or collegeActivity feeFree
Fee-paying school or college (independent)Activity feeFree

Participants from outside the UK will be charged the course fee and an additional £120 per day plus VAT.

Outside the UK? Fee information

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