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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Hazelwood, Donna [1].

Creating a Context for Reading Assigned Papers in Botany.

The National Science Education Standards, published in 1995 by The National Research Council, list six Assessment Standards that describe the need for developing scientific literacy. Although the Standards set goals, they defer to individual educators to carry out the goals. To address a lack of familiarity- and comfort with reading scientific popular literature, a new approach was designed and implemented in Botany a second semester general education/majors course. Based on previous experiences with reading papers, students did not make a connection between reading a paper and activities and experiments in the classroom. Furthermore, students did not take reading the paper, answering question, or follow-up discussion seriously. To address these challenges, a new approach that involved providing a context for the paper by a short presentation was designed to provide students with relevant background information. Because, for the students, the paper then became part of a larger story, students expressed greater involvement in the process and interest in and understanding of the paper. Assessment of adding context was by a short reflection paper and survey administered at the end of the discussion. To assess longer term understanding, concepts from the paper were included on traditional exams. Based on the reflection papers, students exhibited mastery and understanding of major points of the paper, and were able to relate concepts in the paper to their own understanding. Results from surveys indicated that 91% of the students reported agreement or strong agreement that providing context increased interest in and understanding of papers from the scientific popular literature. Scores on exams which evaluated understanding of the articles by short essay responses for that specific section, previously ranged from 0 (blank)-100%, now ranged from 62-100%,.thus reinforcing a longer-term retention of understanding and the value of including an exercise to provide context

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1 - Dakota State University, College of Arts and Sciences, Science Center, Madison, South Dakota, 57042, USA


Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for BSA Sections
Session: 36
Location: Superior A/Cliff Lodge - Level C
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Time: 10:15 AM
Number: 36008
Abstract ID:591