Understanding the Mentor's role in the PlantingScience project
How the process works
We offer a spring session and a fall session each year. Signing up as a mentor does not obligate you to mentor every session. Before a session we email mentors to ask if they are available. You can choose to participate if the session works well for your schedule.
Here is our upcoming 2013-2014 session schedule:
Fall 2013 Session: September 23 – November 22
Spring 2014 Session: mid-February – April 18
A special opportunity for graduate students and post-doctoral researchers is available to those interested in a year-long commitment mentoring 4-5 teams per session in exchange for great benefits. For information and an application to the Master Plant Science Team, click here.
Your role as a mentor
Your role is to encouragingly guide student research teams as they design and carry out plant investigations:
- Offer insights about plant biology and demonstrate how scientists approach scientific research.
- Ask friendly probing questions that encourage students to reflect and clarify their thinking.
- Point to resources.
Student projects usually last only a couple of weeks---so your input is vital to them! We ask that you post online comments and/or questions to your teams at least 2-3 times per week. Reflecting and communicating are critical, often missing, components of student scientific research. Your contributions as a scientist mentor to student teams support the doing of science as well as the talking and thinking about it.
For an overview of the mentor’s role and suggestions, please see our Mentor Guide.pdf
Key Tips from the Mentoring Guide
Communicate early and often. Set a friendly expectation for active engagement at the outset. Several short, simple comments or questions are usually more effective than a few long paragraphs.
Establish realistic expectations. Most students (and teachers) have little or no prior experience studying plants or designing science investigations.
We provide teachers with adaptable investigation guides that have open-ended possibilities for team projects. When student teams to which you are matched register on the site, we will welcome them and introduce you as their scientist mentor. You will receive an email notice letting you know your team is online, and on subsequent days when the projects are updated. You'll also see links to your team's name on your Scientist page; clicking that link will take you to your team's Research Web Page.
Please contact PlantingScience staff by email (email@example.com) or phone (314-558-2307) if you have any questions about the program or how to join.