PlantLab Student Scientists

Calling all teachers of Grades 3–5!
Now accepting applications for NEW 2019–2020 program!

    PlantLab Student Scientists logo
  • Experience the extraordinary world of plants and the natural world at the Missouri Botanical Garden and in your own school campus and community
  • Practice STEM skills that can tackle real-world environmental challenges
  • Connect with field professionals in plant science, horticulture, conservation, education, and sustainability
  • Help students develop stronger self-identities as critical thinkers and creative problem-solvers
  • Spark interest in careers that can lead to a more sustainable future


About the Program

Everyone is a scientist.

This simple but powerful concept is at the core of a new program taking root at Missouri Botanical Garden—PlantLab Student Scientists: Growing the Future. As a world-renowned center for plant science and conservation, the Garden is in a unique position to forge relationships between students and the increasingly crucial fields of plant science, horticulture, ecological restoration, and sustainability.

Through immersive lab experiences, interactions with plant science professionals, and compelling curriculum inspired by real-world challenges, both students and teachers with grow stronger as scientists. Participants will be able to collect and use data and evidence to inform decisions, solve problems, and maybe even save the world. Let’s do this, St. Louis!


How Does a School Benefit from the Program?

  • Free field trip programming and bus transportation | Field trip programming and transportation scholarships will be provided for all classes piloting PlantLab Student Scientists units with students.
  • Stipends for participating teachers | Teachers can earn up to $200 for each unit piloted with students, for a maximum of $600. Stipends are earned by attending the orientation session, participating in pre/post unit workshops, and submitting evaluation data.
  • Tools, equipment, and support provided | The Garden team will provide all the supplies needed for student investigations and learning experiences.
  • Professional development and networking | Hands-on professional development workshops will help participants delve into their chosen unit(s), learn current research and best practices, make connections to standards, and develop strategies for making the most of their school community as one ginormous outdoor learning lab. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to form connections with field professionals as well as fellow 3rd–5th grade educators throughout the region.
  • Invitations to special events | All participants, including teachers, students, families, administrators, and staff who comprise the participant school’s immediate community, will be invited to attend the Missouri Botanical Garden’s annual Family Night for Partner Schools held in May. This same event will feature the PlantLab Student Showcase, a culminating exhibit of student projects inspired by the program.


What Is Required of Participating Teachers?

  1. Must attend one (1) program orientation session in August 2019.
  2. During the 2019–2020 school year, participants must pilot one (1) or more of three new cross-curricular units with students, comprising 8–10 sessions each. Unit options: Botany & Biodiversity, Plants & People, Ecology & Engineering. Each unit aligns with Next Generation Science Standards and Missouri Learning Standards. All unit equipment, supplies, and resources will be provided by the Missouri Botanical Garden.
  3. Meet with Garden educators for one 3-hour workshop to receive in-depth training on chosen unit and activities within. Allow Garden educators to help with and/or observe up to two lessons during the unit.
  4. Schedule a PlantLab field experience at the Missouri Botanical Garden for students, including booking dates and arranging transportation. All program and transportation fees will be covered by the Garden.
  5. Complete and submit program-related evaluation designed for both teachers and students.


How to Apply

Who may participate?
For the 2019–2020 school year, eligible participants include public and charter-school teachers serving students in grades 3–5 at local St. Louis-area schools.

To apply:
Visit to complete the online application. Deadline to register for the 2019–2020 school year is August 30, 2019. Call the Missouri Botanical Garden School Programs office at (314) 577-5185 if you have questions or would like additional information.

Online application
Download a flyer

Important Info and Dates

Program Orientation Sessions* at Missouri Botanical Garden
Choose either:

Tuesday, August 20
5–8 p.m.
(dinner provided)


Saturday, August 24
9 a.m.–noon
(light breakfast provided)

Program application deadline
for the 2019–2020 program:
August 30, 2019

*Attendance at one orientation session is required to be eligible.