Case studies approach suggestions wanted for non-major plant sciencecourse

Nancy S. Kirkpatrick nkirkpatrick at LAKERS.LSSU.EDU
Mon Mar 29 12:26:21 EST 1999

	When I teach a non-majors botany course, I often tell them that we are
going to study one year in the life of a plant.  We start in the spring
with germination and end in the fall with dormancy.  In between we look
at such things as vegetative growth, flowering, pollination mechanisms,
fruit set, seed filling, seed dispersal, dormancy. 
	There are some good videos out there for introducing some of these
topics.  My own personal favorite is now over 10 years old - "Close
Encounters of the Floral Kind" which describes pollination mechanisms of
many different types.  It was originally a Nova production, I believe.
	With an approach like this, I can talk about the plants they know most
about - the trees growing in their front yards.  Then I can expand their
knowledge from there.

Nancy Kirkpatrick
Biology Dept.
Lake Superior State University
Sault Ste. Marie, MI
HesperAloe wrote:
> I teach a non-majors plant science course at the community college level.  One
> problem I see is that there is no unifying theme to hold the course material
> together.
> One approach suggested in The American Biology Teacher is to use a case studies
> approach.  For example, in a general biology course centered on humans, come in
> the first day and do an exercise on the transmission of the HIV virus and then
> center the course around HIV...
> Does anybody have a suggestion for a case study in plants that students would
> find compelling?  I certainly see that if we looked at wheat and corn, we could
> probably cover most major areas that the course is designed to cover.  However,
> what compelling topic can I use to interest them?
> One idea I have is world hunger although this certainly does not seem all that
> relevant in the U.S... Other suggestions?
> Thanks!
>                                                Peter
> PS I would also be interested if any of you are already using a case studies
> approach...

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