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Abstract Detail

Recent Topics Posters

Henderson, Flor [1], Gillen, John [1].

Teaching Botany in Urban Settings.

Botany is experiencing a resurgence. Rapid global population growth makes it essential that society improves the quality of modern life, while remaining sensitive to the environmental constraints of the natural world. Offering a basic botany course at a community college supports this societal imperative, while also making science accessible to non-science majors. The course “Plants and Society” (Bio120) at Hostos Community College of The City University of New York, was designed to expand science course offerings, and is a popular choice among non-science majors. The course consists of an introduction to the plant kingdom and the role of plants in society. Teaching strategies emphasize the relevance of course content and key general education skills. Role playing allows students to act as explorers or botanists who “discover” new plants and then report their findings, highlighting their plants’ main features, potential uses, and possible economic impact. This creative assignment allows students to use their critical thinking to pick out the key information that will convince readers of the importance of the plants in today’s society, as well as the need for further research. Group work enables students to share workload and research responsibilities. They develop higher thinking skills and learn to apply newly acquired knowledge to understand and explain current phenomena (dietary problems, climate change, organic foods, genetically modified foods, etc.) Oral communication refines public speaking skills at public events (Earth Day or the science department’s Open House). Honors research allows students to conduct semester-long research projects and present their findings to a faculty evaluating committee. Weekly laboratory experiences include hands-on activities consisting of identification, morphological analysis of plant structures, and usage. Field trips to The New York Botanical Garden and a local community garden enhance the students’ experience.

Broader Impacts:
Botany courses in urban settings play a key role in emphasizing the importance of nature in modern society, especially now that population growth influences changes in lifestyles. The multicultural panorama of the twenty-first century challenges educators to recognize the pressing need to address issues relating to nature and natural events, and to devise teaching strategies that acknowledge the significance of botanical concepts and the cultural perceptions, cultural values and ethics of urban students.

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1 - Hostos Community College - CUNY, Natural Sciences Department, 500 Grand Concourse A-507N, Bronx, New York, 10458, USA

community college botany
plant science education
general education skills
multicultural society
urban education.

Presentation Type: Recent Topics Poster
Session: P
Location: Hall A/Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2010
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PRT010
Abstract ID:1110

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