was team teaching; now FACTS?

David W. Kramer kramer.8 at OSU.EDU
Fri Jul 16 09:28:45 EST 1999


David Hershey wrote:

 I always thought
>the whole monocot versus dicot comparison was given too much emphasis.
>It's easy to ask students exam questions on monocot versus dicot but of
>what value is that information in the real world? I've never heard even
>the most dedicated gardener say "My your monocots look lovely today."
>The few practical aspects of knowing the difference between monocots and
>dicots, such as grafting, aren't usually emphasized.
>
>David Hershey
>dh321 at excite.com

I confess to introducing these FACTS not because they have any practical
application or to provide easy test questions but because it is one way of
illustrating how evolution works.  By emphasizing that both are flowering
plants and then pointing out the differences between them that have
accumulated over millions of years of evolution, students [hopefully ;-) ]
can get a sense of how reproductive isolation can result in new forms that
can then accumulate mutations that make them more different and less
similar while still retaining some important features (angiospermy) from
their common past.  It also illustrates that there is often more than one
solution to a problem, e.g., are parallel veins better than reticulate
veins?  are three petals better than 4 or 5? etc.

What has happened to the concept of knowing just to know?  Must everything
we learn have an application?  No one has yet attacked the traditional
"fruit lab" where students examine various fruits and classify them as
simple/multiple/aggregate then classify the simple fruits as fleshy/dry,
etc.!!  When we eat a peach, is it important to know that it is a drupe?
that an apple is a pome?  I think not, BUT the really important lesson in
this is that not everything is what it may seem.  Certainly applies to
politics!  and advertising!  To know that a sunflower "seed" is really a
fruit and a cherry "seed" is really a stone may help me realize that if I
were to put on those tiny swim trunks I see in the GQ ads, I would not have
the same sex appeal as the model!!!  OK, maybe not a good analogy but there
needs to be some levity in this discussion.
*********************
David W. Kramer, Ph.D.
Asst. Prof. of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology
Ohio State University at Mansfield
1680 University Drive
Mansfield, OH  44906-1547
Phone:  (419) 755-4344      FAX:  (419) 755-4367
e-mail:  kramer.8 at osu.edu



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