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Abstract Detail


Carl, James Robert Currie [1], Link-Perez, Melanie [2].

Alternative Methods of Engaging Students in the Lab: Using Everyday Materials to Prepare Living Microscopic Slides for the Study of Plants.

This research aimed to develop high-interest, cost-effective methods to teach plant structure and function and to stimulate critical observation and thinking skills in a classroom setting. Teachers report that students enjoy growing plants, but constraints such as limited funds, space, and inadequate lighting can all deter teachers from incorporating living plants in their curriculum. Our research uses familiar materials from the student’s world – clear packing tape and trading card holders – and uses them to make interactive, cost-effective “lamination slides” and “plant pouches”. Students can laminate plant organs with packing tape or grow entire plants in the trading card holders, both of which can function as microscope slides, thereby circumventing the need for glass slides and cover slips. Both methods require minimal space or resources, and the plant pouch system is flexible enough to accommodate different types of plants and is amenable to experimentation. Observations can be made with a compound or dissecting microscope. For the laminations, we experimented with a variety of plants. Careful selection of leaf type eliminates the need for a preserving agent and the laminations could be observed over a period of several weeks; this method was particularly effective for observing fungal growth if the slides were kept for extended periods. The method using cardholders had the dual benefit of serving both as a growing environment and a microscope slide, since the card holder could be placed under a microscope for observation of the living plant inside; we developed simple methods of providing nutrients, moisture, and light, enabling the regular observation of roots and shoots over several weeks. To maximize engagement and observation, students can be encouraged to obtain photographs and videos with smartphones and digital tablets. Students are familiar with using these devices; however, holding this technology still while looking through a microscope for extended periods can be difficult for students, which reduces image quality. Platforms to hold the photographic device to the microscope eyepieces are available but prohibitively costly. We investigated the construction of cheaper alternatives that allow students to build their own platforms suitable to their device, which increases students’ familiarity with the microscope and enhances the interactive experience. Because the platform is specifically developed for the student’s own technology, students obtain a better photographic record of their work, so study of the images is not limited to the classroom.

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1 - Armstrong State University, 11935 Abercorn Street, Savannah, Georgia, 31419, United States
2 - Armstrong State University, Biology, 11935 Abercorn St., Savannah, GA, 31419, USA

Plant Blindness
botanical education
K-12 education

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Teaching Section Poster Session
Location: Exhibit Hall/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 1st, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM This poster will be presented at 5:30 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: PTE005
Abstract ID:486
Candidate for Awards:None

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