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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Harley, Sue [1].

Introducing the primary research literature via trade books in an introductory botany class.

The Honors Program at Weber State University offers general education courses at the 2000-level with the requirement that those courses introduce lower division students to primary sources while meeting the university’s learning objectives for the respective content area. For science courses, primary sources are the peer-reviewed research literature. Because the professional literature can be intimidating for first time users, I wanted to use a trade book written for a general audience to introduce the material. I selected Daniel Chamovitz's What a Plant Knows for this purpose. The book has six chapters, providing a one semester schedule of two weeks per chapter plus three additional weeks for introductory activities and end of term student presentations. Because the 3-credit hour class lacked a designated lab period, it was scheduled for two 75-min meetings per week rather than three 50-min meetings in order to provide time for lab activities. These activities were of the “Explore, Then Explain” variety and included challenging plants to choose between red light and blue light when exploring phototropism, predicting the growth direction of roots and shoots as plants spun on a turntable, and tracing the circumnutation of morning glories as Charles Darwin had done. Students read two research papers to accompany each chapter, one being a reference used by Chamovitz and the other a paper that was not. Students also had support information from online biology textbooks and videos to provide topic context and ensure sufficient coverage of the university’s life science learning objectives. Among the assignments that students completed were concept maps for each chapter topic in which a student linked the book information, the research papers, the lab activities, and pertinent life science learning objectives. Another assignment was to write an essay explaining a self-selected research paper on one of the book chapter topics to a general audience.

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Related Links:
Weber State University Honors Program

1 - Weber State University, Botany, 1415 Edvalson St., Dept. 2504, Ogden, UT, 84408-2504, USA

general education
concept maps.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Hall D/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PTE006
Abstract ID:1286
Candidate for Awards:None

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