was team teaching; now FACTS?

Steve Hinkson sphinkson at worldnet.att.net
Fri Jul 16 22:02:46 EST 1999


Hurray !
Couldn't have made the point better, with a lot of thought !

David Hershey wrote:

> There is nothing wrong with basic knowledge but it should be balanced
> with applied knowledge and all too often it is not. In 1903, Liberty
> Hyde Bailey wrote,
> "A great difficulty in the teaching of botany is to determine what are
> the most profitable topics for consideration. The trouble with much of
> the teaching is that it attempts to go too far, and the subjects have no
> vital connection to the pupil's life. ... Every person is interested in
> the evident things, few in the abstruse and recondite. Education should
> train people to live, rather to be scientists."
> I have seen a dozen or more papers in education journals urging more
> emphasis on applied aspects in the teaching of botany, but have never
> come across articles urging more emphasis on the basic aspects.
> Humor is certainly an effective learning technique as is the bizarre
> because it sticks in the memory. The fact that dicots are often grafted
> while monocots are rarely grafted because of their differing stem
> anatomies offers both. Grafting has all sorts of basic and applied
> aspects. Just to mention a few: In nature, root grafts are very common
> among trees and lead to disease transmission and sharing of resources.
> Grafting is an important research technique. Grafting is used for most
> of our tree fruits and many ornamental plants yet has produced all sorts
> of humorous and bizarre forms such as trees bearing five types of
> apples, many weeping forms of trees, tree forms of roses and other
> flowering shrubs and nonwoody perennials, or trees in various geometric
> shapes and even those shaped like ladders.
> I think a fruit lab is an excellent idea as students can eat and learn
> at the same time. I wouldn't limit it to just classifying fruits by
> botanical type. It is also a good opportunity to learn to recognize
> differences among apple cultivars or varieties and to realize they are
> clones, some of which are hundreds of years old. Seedless fruits offer
> all sorts of interesting stories as well, an empty sunflower "seed" is a
> seedless fruit.
> I believe someone once advocated a learning technique where students
> answered questions posed by their fictional Aunt Sally in nontechnical
> terms. That perhaps is a way to gage what nonmajors take from an intro.
> botany class. Can they answer Aunt Sally's questions such as "Why do
> leaves change color in the fall?" or "How does water get to the top of
> tall trees?" or "What is grafting and how is it used?"
> David Hershey
> dh321 at excite.com
> David W. Kramer wrote:
> >
> > 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

More information about the Plant-ed mailing list