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High school students from the Horticultural Science Summer Institute learn to make soil sensors in the N.C. PSI Demo Lab.

K-12 Engagement

Seeding the Future of Plant Sciences

N.C. PSI provides a unique training ground for a new breed of problem solvers. Our focus is on training and deploying the next-generation workforce that will not only solve the challenges of the future but serve communities and economies that look vastly different from those of today. For K-12 students, this means building awareness of future workforce opportunities and generating excitement for the plant sciences.

We collaborate to provide educational opportunities to K-12 students across North Carolina.


  • Collaborate with high school educators to provide messaging and experiences to students, particularly in lower-income areas, that promote agricultural career opportunities
  • Work with K-12 administrators and teachers to develop and foster robust teacher training programs focused on longer-term research and learning activities
  • Develop program and best practices for N.C. PSI projects to integrate community and K-12 outreach into their research projects and grants
  • Collaborate with industry partners and existing university programs to facilitate K-12 engagement with N.C. PSI through the development of curriculum, educational programs and camps

N.C. PSI Demo Lab

Designed to showcase ongoing N.C. PSI research projects to the public and serves as a hands-on educational area for students, teachers, extension agents, and others groups.

Demo Lab

K-12 Partnerships

N.C. PSI at BugFest 2023

On September 16, 2023, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences hosted it’s annual BugFest. During this event the N.C. PSI engaged hundreds of students with “Bug Spray – The Plant Way!”, an activity about secondary metabolites.

N.C. PSI Table at BugFest 2023

K-12 Teacher Opportunities

Schedule a Class Visit

We are always excited to engage with K-12 students, both in our Demo Lab and for tours of the Plant Sciences Building. To schedule a class or group visit for your students, please complete this form, and our Program Manager will follow up with you directly. Typically student visits geared toward high school level students.

K-12 Activity Resources

Explore our K-12 lab protocols and learning materials to provide instruction for a variety of fun and educational activities for educators. Additionally, Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center within the N.C. PSI has activities and teacher resources as well.

Contact our Education Program Manager to learn more about our K-12 teacher opportunities.