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Teaching Photosynthesis in General Biology

Thu Feb 1 10:11:23 EST 1996

I'm preparing/revising my lectures on photosynthesis for my General
Biology class and I am (again) wondering what to do with cyclic versus
noncyclic electron flow -- from past experience, a good portion of the
students never quite get the difference or why it matters.  (And I'm
not sure that is should matter to the intro. student.)  I'm curious
about how others deal with the topic at the introductory level.  My
current text discusses cyclic electron flow and then noncyclic -- 
following historical rather than functional logic.  I'm wondering if 
it will make a difference to present the noncyclic pathway, without
necessarily calling it that, and then discuss cyclic photophosphorylation
as a supplement to noncyclic and as the first to evolve,most likely.
Have people had better success with this approach?  

I am also going to have my students work with a photosynthesis simulation
program:  Biology Explorer: Photosynthesis.  This is my first time using
it.  Have others used it and do you have comments on its strengths and
weaknesses, the exercises you've used, etc??

Martha Phillips
Biology Dept.
College of St. Catherine
2004 Randolph Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105
mmphillips at alex.stkate.edu

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