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Coker receives grant for plant biology project

Jeffrey Coker, an assistant professor of biology at Elon, and a team of two additional biology professors have received a $30,000 grant from the American Society of Plant Biologists Education Foundation for their science education outreach program. It is the second grant in as many years for the team.

Jeffrey Coker

Based on the "12 Principles of Plant Biology," a set of basic concepts established by the ASPB to help students understand the subject, Coker and his team created The Twelve Activities to Accompany the Twelve Principles of Plant Biology. The program provides active-learning techniques for teachers helping students to understand the 12 principles.

The team used ASPB Foundation grant funding in 2007 to create activities related to the first six principles. The 2008 funding will allow the professors to complete activities for the other six principles. When finished, the team will disseminate the project to thousands of new people around the nation every year.

“We have received numerous requests from teachers and organizations for well-constructed (‘foolproof’) hands-on, active-learning opportunities with plants that coordinate with these principles,” Coker said in a news release from the ASPB.
The ASPB, a professional society and publisher of two world-class journals, has dedicated itself to the study and progression of plant science since 1924. The ASPB Education Foundation awards up to $30,000 to ASPB members conducting research projects that will advance plant biology through K-16 education and public outreach activities.

With this year’s grant, the team can complete the program and promote it to schools and public science events across the country through the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the ASPB.

Jane Ellis, an associate professor of biology at Presbyterian College, and Mary Williams, an associate professor of biology at Harvey Mudd College, join Coker on the team.

- Written by John McManus '11

Eric Townsend,
7/17/2008 8:24 AM