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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Wright, Bethany [1], Chansler, Matt [2], Waselkov, Katherine [1], Busch, Noah [3], Fehlberg , Shannon D [4], Prather, Alan [5], Ferguson, Carolyn J [1].

Engaging students in scientific discovery through a collaborative, multidisciplinary research project on polyploidy and plant biodiversity.

Scientific research provides a valuable opportunity for educational outreach: we can use our “broader impacts” to emphasize important concepts in our disciplines and improve student understanding of the process of scientific inquiry. As part of a collaborative NSF-funded project investigating polyploidy and aspects of diversity in the genus Phlox, we have developed an educational module to engage high school students in exploration of diversity harbored within species. A subset of primary scientific data was compiled for populations of Arizona Phlox, P. amabilis. Data were selected to enable linking of the module to various aspects of the high school curriculum, and included morphological measurements from pollen and stomata, DNA sequence data (for a short segment), microsatellite allele data (for a single locus), ecological data (latitude, longitude, average temperature), and ploidy level data (from chromosome counts). Through the educational module, students are first introduced to the research team and the idea that the investigators are studying many aspects of plant diversity in Phlox through field, lab and herbarium work. The students are then presented with the scientific data, including photographs, chromatograms, etc. for a focused “class” population. The students 1) observe, measure and compile information for their class population, 2) compare data for the class population with corresponding data for all study populations, and 3) process their findings through discussion. Key materials for this project are a set of 25 color pamphlets, each containing information specific to a single plant belonging to the class population; a spreadsheet with summarized data for all populations; a student worksheet with a guide for examples of graphing and comparing data; and a set of discussion questions. An overview and ongoing development of this project are presented. We also discuss the value of collaboration with educators (in this case, collaborating high school teacher NB, and a KSU GK-12 program) in development of science materials for secondary school education.

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1 - Kansas State University, Division of Biology, Ackert Hall, Manhattan, KS, 66506-4901, USA
2 - Michigan State University, Plant Biology, 612 Wilson Road, East Lansing, MI, 48823, USA
3 - Manhattan High School (USD 383), 2100 Poyntz Ave., Manhattan, KS, 66502, USA
4 - Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, AZ, 85008, USA
5 - Michigan State University, Plant Biology, 612 Wilson Road, East Lansing, MI, 48824, USA

broader impacts
science education.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Eyrie/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PTE012
Abstract ID:804
Candidate for Awards:None

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