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Plant Propagation

  • HORT 1001, 4 credits
  • Faculty Coordinator: Tom Michaels
  • Sponsoring U of M Department: Horticultural Science
  • Fulfills U of M Requirement(s): Liberal Education—Biological Science
  • Teacher Applications: 2018-19 is the last year this course will be offered.

Course Information

Plant Propagation offers students the opportunity to learn fundamental biological concepts of plant morphology, physiology, and reproduction, and to apply these concepts in a greenhouse or growth facility to the techniques of ornamental, fruit, and vegetable plant propagation. The lecture section focuses on plant structure and function, while the labs highlight how to grow and multiply plants.

By the end of the course, we expect that students will know how to recognize, describe, and define key concepts of plant structure and function using the language of biology, and know how these concepts are interconnected in the big picture of plant growth and reproduction. Students will also know how to use scientific ways of inquiry to investigate plant propagation questions. As a result of the lab exercises, we expect students to be able to successfully propagate plants using several different methods.

The lecture content for this course will be available through 28 online lectures formatted as text-based, image-rich web pages hosted on the University’s course management system. Each lecture is accompanied by an MP3 audio lecture companion. At the University of Minnesota two lectures are assigned each week, but the pace of the course may be adjusted to fit the high school term. Teachers are strongly encouraged to supplement the online lectures with one or more class meetings to review, extend, and discuss the online course content. Weekly homework assignments utilize digital photography to reinforce lecture subjects by documenting horticulture in the world around us. Students will post at the course management system site and share with their classmates their digital images and descriptions of the principles that they illustrate.

This course uses teaching strategies that address a range of student learning styles; these strategies are to be included in the CIS offering at high schools. High school teachers are encouraged to consider incorporating additional teaching and learning strategies. These strategies should be discussed with the faculty coordinator prior to implementation in the course. There are excellent opportunities for generating student interaction among high schools and also with students taking the course at the University. Laboratory exercises and readings are provided in a laboratory manual that is distributed in electronic format.

Class size limit: Capacity of lab, up to 30

Sample Syllabus

U of M Catalog Description

Principles and techniques of propagating plants by seeds, cuttings, grafts, buds, layers, and division. Lectures on principles; labs on practice of various propagating techniques.

Student Qualifications

Students enrolling in HORT 1001 must be juniors or seniors in high school and in the top 50% of their class to participate.

Instructor Qualifications

Instructors apply and are selected by faculty in accordance with the U of M policy governing Academic Appointments with Teaching Functions. Once approved, an instructor is appointed as a Teaching Specialist 9754 (University Job Title and Code) in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. Instructor qualifications are determined by the sponsoring University department.


Required textbook: Plant Propagation by Toogood (ISBN: 9780789441164) ($25.73 on Amazon.com in 2016)
Recommended textbook: Botany for Gardeners, Rev. by Capon (ISBN: 9780881926552) ($12.81 on Amazon.com in 2016)

A sufficient supply of these textbooks should be available for reference by the students, but schools do not need to stock one copy for each student.

High school teachers and their students must have regular access to a greenhouse with natural lighting or an indoor growth facility with high-intensity grow lights, as well as plant materials, growth media, containers, nutrients, and a readily available source of water. Each student will need approximately 4−6 square feet of greenhouse or growth room bench space for their laboratory experiments.

Students will be required to upload to social networks or discussion groups, on a weekly basis, digital photographs they have taken that demonstrate their integration of lecture content. Therefore, students must have access to a digital camera that is capable of taking clear, close-up images of flowers so that individual floral parts can be distinguished and identified in the image. Students should also have access to digital image editing software that is capable of adding labels to images.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are the texts and readings specified or mandated by the University of Minnesota? If not, what are some of the choices? 
The lecture content, including required texts and readings, is determined by University faculty, but teachers may choose to supplement lecture content with additional materials.

Do teachers have a choice in assignments? Are there required assignments?
CIS Teachers must assign the same number of laboratory reports, techniques, lecture assignments, and quizzes as are assigned in the on-campus course. These may be modified, in consultation with the course coordinator, to accommodate the time of year and plant materials available to the teachers.

Who creates the exams?
University faculty set identical exams for the on-campus and CIS versions of the course. The exam questions are set in a variety of formats: short answer, brief essay, drawing and labeling diagrams, multiple choice, matching, etc. The final exam is comprehensive.

Is there a training and mentoring system for plant propagation teachers new to CIS?
In all CIS cohorts, experienced instructors help new teachers get accustomed to the system. Teachers frequently email one another with questions and share materials with the whole group. New teachers also benefit from workshops that focus on course content and University processes, as well as an orientation to College in the Schools that will familiarize them with the support available through CIS and prepare them for administrative tasks such as registering students and posting grades.

High school class schedules vary; can a teacher in the block system teach plant propagation?
Yes, as long as the high school term allows sufficient time for students to engage in 28 online lectures, approximately 14 class meetings in support of those lectures, and 14 or more weeks' growth of plants and plant materials in the laboratory section, as well as time to complete the assignments noted above.

What happens at typical teacher workshops?
Typical activities at CIS workshops include meeting University faculty and hearing about their recent research in the discipline; reviewing and/or developing student assessment tools; sharing instructional materials; discussing particular content, pedagogy, or assessment of the University course; and receiving updates on CIS program policies and practices.

What happens at typical student field days?
Student field days provide an opportunity for CIS students to meet their peers, practice skills they have learned in class, and explore the Twin Cities campus. Students attending the CIS Plant Propagation field day gather in the University's Plant Growth Facility on the St. Paul campus for a half-day session involving discovery, problem solving, and sharing.

High Schools Offering This Course

Lac qui Parle Valley High School
Lanesboro High School
Martin County West High School
Plainview-Elgin-Millville High School
Russell-Tyler-Ruthton High School