Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
Hooks and hot topics for university teachers and students
Curated by Mary Williams
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Angiosperm mural for Fascination of Plants Day

Angiosperm mural for Fascination of Plants Day | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Angiosperm mural, two meters high, to be installed in the Glasgow Botanic Gardens.

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Free download! The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa - Harvard - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Free download! The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa - Harvard - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Very interesting book by Calestous Juma, buy it or download for free. Highly recommended for students interested in the future of Africa and food security.

"African agriculture is currently at a crossroads, at which persistent food shortages are compounded by threats from climate change. But, as this book argues, Africa faces three major opportunities that can transform its agriculture into a force for economic growth: advances in science and technology; the creation of regional markets; and the emergence of a new crop of entrepreneurial leaders dedicated to the continent's economic improvement."

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Excellent collection of CIMMYT-curated news about the global food situation. Do students still need to ask "why study plants?"

Excellent collection of  CIMMYT-curated news about the global food situation. Do students still need to ask "why study plants?" | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Follow this for the latest news about food production and demand around the world. Who needs to make up interdisciplinary problems when we have real ones for our students to grapple with?

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How much water does rice use? from IRRI, posted in honor of World Water Day

How much water does rice use? from IRRI, posted in honor of World Water Day | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

“How much water does it take to produce 1 kg of rice?" It's a good question. Did you know that "around onequarter to one-third of the world’s developed freshwater resources are used to irrigate rice (which, it must be remembered, is the staple food for almost half the world’s population)". Follow the link to see how they came up with that figure.

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Noise pollution alters ecological services: enhanced pollination and disrupted seed dispersal - Proc. Roy. Soc.

Noise pollution alters ecological services: enhanced pollination and disrupted seed dispersal - Proc. Roy. Soc. | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Very nice study. Students will love it - very clear experimental set up and interesting results. So, what are we going to do with this information?

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Crash Course - Biological Molecules (video)- You Are What You Eat (?):

Have you seen John and Hank Green's Crash Course videos? They're cute, entertaining and accessible introductions to various topics in biology (Hank) and History (John).

This one covers Biological Molecules, which are also covered in our next Teaching Tool, "Plants, food and human health: You are what you eat?" (which should be out soon!).

 

Hank and John also have videos on Plant Cells http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UvlqAVCoqY

and the Agricultural Revolution

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yocja_N5s1I

 

Enjoy!

 

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101 ways to try to grow Arabidopsis (Via Purdue University Horticulture and Landscape Archtecture)

101 ways to try to grow Arabidopsis (Via Purdue University  Horticulture and Landscape Archtecture) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Very thorough summary of best practices for growing Arabidopsis. What size pots? What temperature? How much light? With photos and references. Good resource for student researchers!

 

Don't forget to share this one with them too:

The top 10 ways to kill Arabidopsis, by Sean May at NASC.

(http://arabidopsis.info/information/kill.pdf)

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Western blotting - tips and trouble shooting - for Plants and Algae

Tips and trouble shooting for quantitative and qualitative immunoblotting. Sample harvesting, Protein extraction, Detection, Quantitative western blot etc ...

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New research could make it easier to grow health-promoting blood oranges | News from the John Innes Centre

New research could make it easier to grow health-promoting blood oranges | News from the John Innes Centre | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Do you like blood oranges? Do you know why they are red, and why the redness of a single variety varies from year to year? Nice story here, and nice video!

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Flickr: fascination of plants day 2012

Flickr: fascination of plants day 2012 | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

If you or your students like to take photos of plants [or plant cells, or plant research(ers)], consider adding them to the flickr Fascination of Plants Day group. Flickr is a free, easy-to-use social repository for photos. You can retain full rights, or you can post them under a creative commons license so that others can use for non-profit purposes....

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Low-cost system for imaging GFP in Arabidopsis - boon for teaching!

"An epifluorescent attachment improves whole-plant digital photography of Arabidopsis thaliana expressing red-shifted green fluorescent protein"

Somebody built a cheaper mousetrap!

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What does it really mean to be a teacher? On Pedagogy | inSync21.com

What does it really mean to be a teacher? On Pedagogy | inSync21.com | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

This is a very nice short essay on what it means to be a teacher. Added bonus for those of us who are linguistically challenged:  the origins of the words "pedagogy" and "education"  (Greek and Latin origins, but meaning what?).

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A Season for Inquiry: Investigating Phenology in Local Campus Trees

A Season for Inquiry: Investigating Phenology in Local Campus Trees | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Nice article from Science -

"Documenting phenological patterns can be a straightforward and cost-effective strategy for engaging students in the science of observation with little need for additional equipment or supplies."

and

"Finally, we advocate for including creativity in the reward structure of college-level biology........ If we truly want to cultivate a nation of problem-solvers, we must allow students opportunities to wrestle with real problems and be rewarded for conceiving creative strategies for solving them. Our students have shown us they are ready for the challenge."

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Teaching Tools in Plant Biology 2012 Road Show

Teaching Tools in Plant Biology 2012 Road Show | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

We're hitting the road! Come see us to say hi or participate in a workshop

 

27 - 29 March, London, SEB Education Symposium

             Workshop "Making the horse thirsty"

 

18 - 20 April, Norwich, UK Plant Science 2012

            "Teaching Tools in Plant Biology: Living aids for teaching and learning”

 

18 May, Glasgow, Fascination of Plants Day

           "Plants Life People"

 

3 - 7 July, Vienna, ICAR (Arabidopsis meeting)

          Workshop (tentative), "Teaching Workshop for Post Docs and Graduate Students"

 

20 - 24 July, Austin Texas, ASPB Plant Biology 2012

         Workshop "How to be a great teacher: A hands-on workshop"

 

29 July - 3 August, Freiburg Germany, Plant Biology Congress (FESPB and EPSO)

         Teaching Workshop for early career scientists, August 2, 16.30 - 18.30 hrs

 

26 - 31 October, Jeju Korea, International Plant Molecular Biology Congress

       TBD

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Best practices and tips for Twitter in the higher-ed classroom | john hawks weblog

Best practices and tips for Twitter in the higher-ed classroom | john hawks weblog | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

How do you feel about tweeting in the classroom? If your answer is either "?" or  "I hate it", you might want to read this very good article. John Hawks, Professor of Anthropology at University of Wisconsin, shares some compelling ideas on how Twitter can enhance the student learning experience, as well as a primer on how to tweet, twetiquette, and links to stories by other fans of classroom tweeting.

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How to Write Like a Scientist - Science Careers - Biotech, Pharmaceutical, Faculty, Postdoc jobs on Science Careers

How to Write Like a Scientist - Science Careers - Biotech, Pharmaceutical, Faculty, Postdoc jobs on Science Careers | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Share this with your students when they're getting ready to practice writing like a scientist - it might not help them write better, but it'll help them realize that they're not alone in finding it a challenge!

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Giant Corpse Flower Blooms

Giant Corpse Flower Blooms | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

On Sunday, Cornell University’s corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum), a gigantic Sumatran plant that reeks of death, bloomed. It was one of only 140 such plants to bloom in cultivation in recorded history.


Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
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Coping with Stresses: Roles of Calcium- and Calcium/Calmodulin-Regulated Gene Expression

Coping with Stresses: Roles of Calcium- and Calcium/Calmodulin-Regulated Gene Expression | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

If you missed this Plant Cell 2011 review about calcium-regulated gene expression, here's your second chance. It's open access, and very well-written. Have a look if you're interested in calcium as a second messenger, or, if you're not, have a look and maybe you'll change your mind!

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Food Sovereignty and its Discontents - does international trade help or hurt farmers in developing economies?

Food Sovereignty and its Discontents - does international trade help or hurt farmers in developing economies? | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

See the article here http://www.atdforum.org/IMG/pdf_Philipp_Aerni-2.pdf

 

This interesting article from the African Technology Development Forum (ATDF) discusses the meaning of "food sovereignty" versus "food security". 

 

Proponents of food sovereignty say, "Food sovereignty is the right of each nation to maintain and develop its own capacity to produce its basic foods respecting cultural and productive diversity. Food sovereignty is a precondition to genuine food security"

 

But is it? How does international trade affect farmers in developing economies? When you buy your green beans imported from Kenya, what effect are you having?

 

To ask the question another way, is North Korea food-secure? Why or why not?

 

This paper raises some very interesting questions and is sure to lead to stimulating class discussions.

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Misuse Of A Vietnam Era Tragedy « Biofortified - Excellent article and discussion from BIOfortified

Misuse Of A Vietnam Era Tragedy « Biofortified - Excellent article and discussion from BIOfortified | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

We are big fans of the BIO fortified blog (and their GENERA database). You've probably seen the term "Agent Orange Corn" kicked around - what's that all about? Steve Savage explains, and explains again in the comments section. Good reading, and fascinating issues, both scientific and social.

 Opening line:

Mark Twain once said, “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

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Academic life - job prospects and balance

Academic life - job prospects and balance | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Two articles, from Nature Jobs and the Chronical for Higher Education, on what lies ahead for today's students. How are higher education institutions addressing the twin concerns of short-term contracts and unreasonable time expectations? What are the long-term prospects for students just starting their careers?

 

http://chronicle.com/article/Work-Life-Balance-Is-Out-of/131111/

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World breakthrough on salt-tolerant wheat - great teaching opportunity

World breakthrough on salt-tolerant wheat - great teaching opportunity | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

A team of Australian scientists has bred salt tolerance into a variety of durum wheat that shows improved grain yield by 25% on salty soils. See the article in Nature Biotechnology here: http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nbt.2120.html

 

This story touches on so many important topics, including how ion transporters work, breeding methods, and of course the challenges of saline soils.

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Talking about DNA, genetics, plants and careers in science

Talking about DNA, genetics, plants and careers in science | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Tomorrow is Darwin's birthday (12 Feb), and we are only three months away from Fascination of Plants Day (18 May).What great opportunities to share your passion for DNA, genetics, plants and careers in science! If you are not already participating, check out the FoPD website to hook up with an organization that is, or start your own event (http://www.plantday12.eu/).

 

 Here are some resources to help you talk about DNA and plants.

 

Check out Peggy Lemaux's and Barbara Alonso's "DNA for Dinner" materials. There are a LOT of very clever ideas here including hands-on games for groups as well as simple solo activities. For example, you could print out and laminate this PDF file (http://ucbiotech.org/dnafordinner/lesson2/handout_2.5/index.html), cut out the sequences and let people figure out how to assemble a genome by matching overlapping sequences. We really like the fruit and vegi family poster shown above, available here (http://ucbiotech.org/dnafordinner/lesson1/handout_1.2/index.html), which you could hang behind a table full of real fruits and vegetables so that people can take a close look at the plants they eat. The site also has suggestions for plant family activities.

 

If you need some motivation to participate in public outreach, here are a few thoughts about what works (start from 6 minutes in if you want just the outreach spiel) (http://ed.ted.com/on/XBSQKCCl). Giving anyone a flower to dissect and draw really works!

 

If you are talking to older students about career paths, here's a post talking about the hot job market in statistical genetics, a good albeit challenging career path

(http://www.nature.com/naturejobs/science/articles/10.1038/nj7384-263a). And if your students prefer more of a hands-on type of genetics, check out these tips and tricks for breeding biennial plants (http://networkedblogs.com/tOC1g) and more here (http://www.wisconsinplantbreeding.com/educators/videos/).

 

Drop us a line if you want your resources posted here!

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Strigolactone transporters! Super!

Strigolactone transporters! Super! | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Strigolactones are hormones that are involved in shoot branching, and their secretion into the soil both stimulates colonization by mycorrhizal fungi, and germination of Striga and other parasitic plants. This new Nature paper (subscription required) shows how the strigolactone hormones are transported out of the plant cells, with far-ranging implications. 

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Naturally Obsessed | The Making of a Scientist - Free to watch here

Naturally Obsessed | The Making of a Scientist - Free to watch here | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

The 2009 video "Naturally obsessed; the making of a scientist" is available here to watch for free. If you're talking with your students about careers in science, share this with them. There is more to being a scientist than just career prospects, right?

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