[Plant-education] Problem solving in plant biology

Susan Singer ssinger at carleton.edu
Tue Jul 26 22:07:46 EST 2005

Several years ago I began a study with a cognitive science colleague on how 
novices, intermediates, and experts solve life cycle and photosynthesis 
problems. As we were writing up our findings ,we  realized that it would be 
very helpful to have experts rate the level of difficulty of the 3 
questions below for a beginning undergraduate who has only had a basic 
introduction to plant biology. I realize that intro courses vary widely, 
what I'm more interested in is your sense of how hard the questions would 
be for beginning college student who is not an expert in biology, but has 
at least heard of the concepts addressed in the question. There are three 
spaces below to rank the question 1-10 where 10 is the highest level of 
difficulty and 1 is the least.
Thanks in advance to those of you who are willing to help out.

Plant Biology Questions

1)	A fern sporophyte has 2 alleles, B and b, of a gene that affects 
production of a purple, non-photosynthetic pigment.  Diagram what happens 
to the alleles in the production of spores, gametophytes, and gametes.


Rated difficulty (1-10)  _____________

2)  List how photosynthesis and respiration are alike and how they differ.

Rated difficulty (1-10)  _____________

3)  Draw a simple diagram (not an equation) of photosynthesis.  On your 
diagram, indicate what would happen if:
	a) Levels of CO2 are very low.

	b) An herbicide blocks electron transport.

	c) All available light is green.

Rated difficulty (1-10)  _____________

Susan R. Singer
Professor of Biology
Carleton College
Northfield, MN 55057

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