The Mystery of the Monkey Flower in full bloom 2024!

Teacher and staff interacting and participating in the tour of the Lowry Lab
February 22, 2024

It’s that time of year again for the Mystery of the Monkey flower to begin in high school classrooms. To start, teachers get prepared with professional development.This two day experience took place over zoom and on the Michigan State University campus. The Mystery of the Monkey flower is a 10 -12 week highschool life science curriculum. High School students use a monkey flower plant experiment and a graphic novel developed to learn how traits evolve over time through natural selection. 

A total of 6 teachers from 3 school districts and 2 staff members from MSU Kellogg Biological Station were present for professional development. These science teachers from Flint Southwestern Classical Academy, Troy High School and Gull Lake Community Schools prepared by experiencing parts of the curriculum as learners. They participated in a “sample teach” where the teachers experienced initial immersive activity from the students’ perspective where they were introduced to two plants which raised many questions about why they were so different. The teachers were also introduced to an innovative comic book which accompanies the unit.

Teachers and biological station staff also had the opportunity to tour the Monkey flower Lab which is part of the Lowry Lab on the MSU campus courtesy of Dr. David Lowry, the research partner who inspired the Mystery of the Monkey Flower curriculum. 

The Mystery of the Monkey Flower is part of the Health in Our Hands Project. Research reported in this publication was supported by the Science Education Partnership of the National Institute Of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R25GM132964. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. Learn more about the journey by visiting