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floral development

First Day Teaching (epilogue)

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):

The basic diagram of four parts of a (eudicot) flower. From the outside in. A: Sepals, small, generally boring green bits that look a fair bit like tiny petals. B. Petals. C. Anthers. The male part of the flower, responsible for producing pollen. D. Carpal(s) The female part of the flower. Pollen lands on the top surface, then grows a tube down into the flower to fertilize the eggs and central cells.

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. (more…)