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Teaching Photosynthesis in General Biology

Ross Koning koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Thu Feb 1 13:00:08 EST 1996

At  7:11 AM 2/1/96 -0800, MMPHILLIPS at alex.stkate.edu wrote:

>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??

In the first semester I tried this software, I had a plant physiology
class work through it in three lab sessions using the worksheets
that were distributed with the software.  The goal was for the
students to do the work, in and after class, but then to write a
critique of the software and worksheets.

I think the first two or three exercises were well received.
There were some obvious problems...like how to get started...
you click on the running man icon...not obvious in the worksheets.
The student's conclusions were that the exercises needed re-writing.
Graphs had wrong labels on axes, tables had wrong headings, some
instructions did not work exactly as described, etc.  I think
they liked the software...it was just the worksheets that were
a problem.

By the time we got through to the more specialized exercises, I
think they grew weary of the model.  Thus I think no more than
two sessions is enough...maybe one exploring and light reactions
and one with light-independent reactions is sufficient.

They liked the interface, but they were frustrated with the tiny
on-screen control sliders...too small to manipulate well.

I think it would be wise to work through the software ahead of
the students, and modify the worksheets before you use them.  It
is possible my version is old and revisions have been made so they
might be better now.  Also, it is nice that the worksheets are
provided on-disc so you can alter them yourself without a complete

Good Luck!


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