Student preference for plants versus animals in teaching

David Hershey dh321 at
Fri Aug 20 19:29:54 EST 1999

A 1999 article in Journal of Biological Education by I.M Kinchin titled
"Investigating secondary-school girls' preferences for animals or
plants: a simple 'head-to-head' comparison using two unfamiliar
organisms" compared student preference for Arabidopsis versus Mellitoba
digitata, so-called Wow Bugs. Not surprisingly, the Wow Bugs won because
they moved. 

Unfortunately, the study seemed flawed because it compared a model
animal for teaching with a bland research plant. The Wow Bugs came from
Carolina Biological Supply Company who also sell the very successful
Wisconsin Fast Plants, a model plant for biology teaching. The author
also reported that the Arabidopsis were not even in flower when they
were shown to the students.

A fair comparison would have used Wisconsin Fast Plants in flower or a
plant species that moves, such as Venus flytrap or Sensitive Plant.

David Hershey
dh321 at

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