course organization

Beverly Brown bjbrown at
Wed Jul 18 15:09:26 EST 2001

I'm really enjoying this discussion and am grateful for those of you sharing
your wisdom!

I'm revising my syllabus for Plant Bio this coming fall - switching books from
Moore to Uno, and lab manuals from Moore to (probably) Kazmierski.  Since our
students are similar to others mentioned on the list ("I'm taking this class
because I have to.")  I've been thinking of ways to generate interest early
on.  This fall I think I am going to take them to the greenhouse - and get them
started splitting, repotting, and propagating the plants (cacti, ferns, cycads
and a few "regular" plants such as geraniums).  I'll cart over some microscopes
and have them do slides of the various stems, roots, shoots, leaves to get them
to consider anatomy of the various taxa.  (Plus supplement with prepared
slides.) Hopefully, this will get them interested in the diversity of organisms
as well as their anatomy.  Then I'll follow up with more traditional lectures
or activities.  We'll have a campus-wide plant giveaway when we're done - and
now that I think of it, I may have students prepare plant care sheets for each
type of plant. I'll probably go with anatomy and structure first so they have a
basic vocabulary, then work on diversity.

Has anybody tried something like this?  Any tips?  I'll need to develop
specific objectives and some kind of assignments/reports to turn in, but I
think this could be fun - at least for me and hopefully for the students, too.


Scott Shumway wrote:

> 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
> survey.
> I would appreciate any suggestions.  Thank you.
> Scott Shumway
> Associate Professor of Biology
> Dept. of Biology
> Wheaton College
> Norton, MA 02766
> 508-286-3945
> "Scott_Shumway at"
> fax 508-285-8278
> ---


Beverly J. Brown, Ph.D.                Phone:  716-389-2555
Nazareth College of Rochester       Fax:      716-586-2452
Biology Department                      E-mail: bjbrown at
4245 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14618-3790


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