Belated I know. The first section I ever taught could have gone better. Twenty-nine people showed up for a section with an enrolment cap of 25 in a classroom with only 17 desks and no eraser for the chalk board. So that was fun. Still, I made it through a review the parts of a plant (roots, shoots, and leaves), the parts of a flower (sepals, petals, stamens and carpels), and a diagram of why a plant needs both mitochondria and chloroplasts (chloroplasts harvest and store light energy, mitochondria turn stored energy into the form used by the cell, ATP). And the second section I taught, later that same afternoon, went a lot better (In addition to being more sure of the material, I had time to steal back enough desks to bring the room to its rated capacity of 25, hunt down an elusive chalk board eraser, and draw the first set of figures on the board before the students showed up.)
A recreated example (should be familiar to anyone who, like me, took the first two weeks of intro botany):
I’ve seen variants of this figure in 3 courses I took as an undergraduate, and now I’m using it myself. I’d be interested to hear if anyone has seen (or can think up) variants that might be easier for people with no background studying plants to grasp.
I can remember what finally got me excited about learning the parts of the flower, but it isn’t any help in trying to get these students excited about plants. I got hooked when I first learned about the ABC model of floral development, and how breaking different genes can, for example: transform the sepals into carpals and the petals into anthers (class A), turn the petals into sepals and the anthers into carpals (class B genes) or create flowers than never produce reproductive organs just some sepals and then lots and lots of petals (class C genes). The story of the ABC model, which I should really write up sometime ::adding it to my long list::, is a discrete and engaging story of how science works, but I don’t have enough freedom in the order I’m teaching material to devote the time to telling that story when I’m supposed to be just teaching parts of the flower. And even if I had the time, throwing gene names and mutant phenotypes at people who probably haven’t taken any biology since high school seems more likely to scare students off then get them hooked on plant biology.