course organization

jclausz jclausz at
Wed Jul 18 16:24:23 EST 2001

Beverly and Others,

Yes, this is an interesting thread.  We have abandoned a separated plant 
biology and animal biology for some of the reactions to botany by students 
that you've expressed.  We have taken an organismal biology approach 
focusing on the vascular plant and the vertebrate animal.  All organisms 
face certain life function problems such as gas exchange, nurient 
transport, coordination, development and others.  The differences 
between plants and animals become less apparent if students can see 
that 1) there are these common life problems and 2) there are similar 
resolutions.  We used Keeton up until this fall because that text was 
written with this approach in mind.  Because Keeton is dated (1995) we 
now are switching to the 6th Ed of Pervis, et. al.   This means that we must 
make a greater effort to help students see the life problems and 
organismal solutions.   Consequently, when we present circulation of 
nutrients the chapter on xylem and phloem transport (from the text section 
on Biology of Flowering Plants) preceeds the chapter on circulating 
systems (from the text section on Biology of Animals).  Thus the students 
will be hopping around in their text with the instructors serving as the links 
between sections.  I'll let you know how well this approach is received by 

>===== Original Message From bjbrown at (Beverly Brown) =====
>I'm really enjoying this discussion and am grateful for those of you 
>your wisdom!
>I'm revising my syllabus for Plant Bio this coming fall - switching books 
>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 
>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 
>started splitting, repotting, and propagating the plants (cacti, ferns, 
>and a few "regular" plants such as geraniums).  I'll cart over some 
>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 
>slides.) Hopefully, this will get them interested in the diversity of 
>as well as their anatomy.  Then I'll follow up with more traditional 
>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 
>type of plant. I'll probably go with anatomy and structure first so they have 
>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, 

>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

John C. Clausz, Ph.D.                     Ph:262-524-7280
Professor of Biology                     email: jclausz at


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