course organization

Staria Vanderpool svand at
Fri Jul 13 14:54:17 EST 2001

I second Scott's request.  I'm preparing to teach a similar course - again -
this fall and have tried both schemes.  I have reservations about both
formats and would appreciate other's input.  In addition, what textbooks are
being used for this type of course?

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-plant-ed at
[mailto:owner-plant-ed at]On Behalf Of Scott Shumway
Sent: Friday, July 13, 2001 9:15 AM
To: plant-ed at
Subject: course organization

My Plant Biology course (open to students who have completed intro bio) has
evolved into a survey of the plant kingdom and the anatomy of roots, stems,
and leaves.  I continue to wrestle with the question of which should come
first, the anatomy or the survey?  I've tried it both ways.  The anatomy
provides vocabulary which is useful for the survey.  For example, it is
difficult to explain the differences between non-vascular plants and ferns
if students do not know what xylem is or that the pores in liverworts are
similar in function to stomata in higher plants if they don't know what
stomata are.  HOWEVER, teaching the survey early in the semester would
allow me to make greater use of the natural laboratory of our campus and
surrounding woodland and to save the microscope work for the cold parts of
the New England semester.  I think that I can also get students more
excited about plants by starting with whole plants rather than tissues and
cell types.  OR I could insert the anatomy into the beginning of the
flowering plants, as the anatomy is focused almost exclusively on
angiosperms.  I use Raven et al as a text and they place anatomy after the

I would appreciate any suggestions.  Thank you.

Scott Shumway
Associate Professor of Biology
Dept. of Biology
Wheaton College
Norton, MA 02766
"Scott_Shumway at"
fax 508-285-8278



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