Botany Books

David W. Kramer kramer.8 at OSU.EDU
Thu Apr 2 11:43:14 EST 1998

You don't indicate whether your course is for majors or non-majors.  I
teach our two-quarter course for non-majors called "Introduction to Plant
Biology I-II".  We, too, assume no prior knowledge of plants, chemistry,
etc. and the course has no prerequisites.  This course was redesigned and
expanded (from a one-quarter course) about 6 years ago, following
guidelines established by a university-wide committee revising the core
curriculum.  I can't quote their guidelines for science courses verbatim
but essentially...
1) the science courses are 2 quarters with at least one of those quarters
being a lab course.
2) the course should emphasize science as a process (the methods of
science) rather than science as an encyclopedia of facts... students should
be taught principles/ concepts, how to think, how to deal with new
concepts... not just to memorize and regurgitate
3) much of the learning is to be through hands-on experience rather than
"talking- head" lectures
4) the course content should emphasize those aspects of the science that
integrate with other parts of the core curriculum (social sciences,
literature, the arts, etc.) and should require writing.  In other words,
the course is not be be a "watered down" majors course, preparing them for
advanced courses they probably will never take!
5) I have taken the additonal step of integrating technology... lectures in
presentation software, use of CD-ROM, videodisc, spreadsheets, e-mail, WWW,

Plant Biology 101 is 5 cr and has four lectures per week plus a 2-hr
recitation (where hands-on discovery of structure is the emphasis...
traditional microscope work PLUS help with concepts and details of
photosynthesis and respiration, etc.)

PB 102 is 5 cr with three lectures per week plus a 3-hr laboratory (where
the emphasis is on experimentation with the students responsible for
monitoring experiments that run through most of the quarter.  We wrote our
own lab manuals for both courses.  Our colleagues in ag research helped us
design several of the experiments (one on symbiotic nitrogen fixation,
another on intra- and interspecific competition, etc.) from actual
experiments done to provide our ag industry with info.  Partly this is to
demonstrate the importance of ag research but the experiments also are at a
level of complexity that is understood intuitively by most of the students.
In one of the labs we make bread (starting with wheat!) and tofu to
demonstrate how dry plant parts that are easily transported and stored
without modern refrigeration can be converted to nutritious food,
especially in Third World countries.  We also do an experiment with pond
water where we determine the effects of nitrate or phosphate (and both!
and neither!) and have a discussion of the role of wetlands as filters for
clean water in Lake Erie.

We divided the subject matter as follows:
*Science as a method of inquiry
*Botany as a science
*Attributes of life (the rest of the course explores these attributes as
exhibited by plants)
*The structure of plants (from atoms to molecules to cells to tissues to
organs)... rather than simply describe the structures, the emphasis is on
morphogenesis and function.
*Metabolism (photosynthesis and cellular respiration)
*Growth regulation and response to stimuli
*Sexual reproduction in plants
*Biodiversity (we exclude Kingdom Mycota and, of course, Animalia)
*Ecology (emphasis on carbon cycle, energy conversions, wetlands, biomes)
*Ethnobotany (the students do most of this by writing a term paper on an
economically important plant and presenting their findings to the class)

Throughout both courses we emphasize the relevance of the information for
gardening, farming, government policy, stewardship of resources, etc.

[material deleted]

>Opinions re any of these?:
>Mauseth    Botany an introduction to plant biology 2/e
I'm strongly considering adoption mainly because of its ties to the CD-ROM
and WWW.  I think students would like that.  However, probably too detailed
for our non-majors course.
>Mauseth  Botany [large version]
Too detailed for our course.
>Stern: Introductory Plant Biology, 7/e
I use this now.  Needs more chemistry for our course.  We especially like
that the life cycles are drawn on the same format... easy for students to
understand and compare.  No complaints from my students about readability
(maybe they don't read it!!??) though they had some complaints on the
Columbus campus.
>Rost, Barbour, Stocking, Murphy;Plant Biology
Too detailed for our course.
Too detailed for our course.

Berg; Introductory Botany (Saunders)
They use this on the Columbus campus of OSU as of Autumn 1997.  I don't
have feedback from them yet.  Probably OK for our course but I think many
of the illustrations are too generalized, not sufficiently detailed, like
something you might find in a junior high school text.  Life cycles not
drawn in a uniform format, etc.

Moore, et al.  Botany (McGraw Hill)
Beautifully done but perhaps "too busy" for some tastes.  Too much info for
our course?

Dr. David W. Kramer
Department of Plant Biology
Ohio State University at Mansfield
1680 University Drive
Mansfield, OH  44906-1547
(419) 755-4344  FAX:  (419) 755-4367
e-mail:  kramer.8 at

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