G. Bio. Labs/keeping student interest

monique at bio.tamu.edu monique at bio.tamu.edu
Fri Jan 31 16:04:36 EST 1997


> it
>becomes a daunting exercise when faced with LARGE CLASSES, INDIFFERENT
>STUDENTS, AND EVERYBODY'S PROBLEM -- NO MONEY!

>So, does anybody out there have any ideas [about exercises]

Not about exercises per se, but there *are* things you can do to tailor the 
required content to the interests of your students.  At the beginning of the 
semester, we ask our students to tell us what interests they have in 
botany--medicine, gardening, wildlife, ecology, range science, etc.--or even 
just eating salads.  Then we tailor examples, slides, field trips, and exams 
to hit these topics a little harder.  Come up with any tie-in you can think of 
to hit them where their interest lies--pocketbook, stomach, future career, or 
whatever.  (We teach systematics, but for example, if you were measuring 
chlorophyll content of various leaves, you could talk about shade vs. sun 
leaves (gardening) stratification in the forest (ecology) variegated cultivars 
(horticulture), different strains of the same plant (plant breeding and 
genetics) and chlorophyll as a harvestable chemical used in industry 
(chemistry and business) )

We tally and post the results, as well as putting them on our website, with a 
discussion of what they can do to get the most out of the course, a list of 
books we have that would be of interest, and links to websites dealing with 
their preferences.

And then there's always the kid who says he is taking the class to learn how 
to take over the world with a brainwashing agent disguised as a harmless 
flower....

Monique Reed
Lab Coordinator, BOTN 201
Texas A&M



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