We often introduce topics in plant biology by drawing analogies to similar processes in animals. This approach works because it connects something familiar to the new material, which is important for understanding and retention. As an example, we might talk about photoreceptors in the eye to introduce phytochrome and other plant photoreceptors.
Here's another approach that works equally well, and has the advantage of being a little different, and a little techy / geeky - "Which is more intellegent? An iPhone or a plant?" from the blog How Plants Work (www.howplantswork.com/). It covers topics including light sensors, proximity sensors, accelerometers and gyroscopes / gravity sensors. What a great way to start off your fall semester courses!
(I'm an android user, but I guess they're not very different inside? iPhone is to android as what is to what - Arabidopsis to maize?) ( I hear a more accurate comparison would be as Oryza sativa japonica is to Oryza sativa indica....)
The blog post is in four parts:
Via Mary Williams