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Abstract Detail


Teaching Section

Rice, Stanley [1].

Root Foraging: A General Botany Project that Demonstrates Plant Behavior.

Many students think that plants are passive. The root foraging project is a way of demonstrating that plants have behavior. In this project, the students put alternating layers of potting soil (high nutrients) and perlite (low nutrients) into clear glass cylinders, then plant seeds at the top and maintain the plants for several weeks. As the roots grow into the alternating substrate layers, students can see and measure the proliferation of roots in soil vs. perlite. They measure root length and root weight in each layer. When the students used bean seedlings, they found that the roots had no difference between soil and perlite. They noticed root nodules. They concluded that roots of large-seeded plants, especially legumes, do not prefer rich soil. When the students used sunflower seeds instead, they found that the roots had a clear preference for rich soil. This project allowed the students to figure out how to avoid problems with experimental setup (how to water the plants without disturbing the layers) and design (how to avoid bias due to the sequence effect).

Broader Impacts:


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1 - SOUTHEASTERN OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY, 1405 N. FOURTH, BOX 4027, DURANT, OK, 74701-0609, USA

Keywords:
roots
foraging
science education
experimental design
hypothesis testing.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 37
Location: Waterman Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
Time: 2:50 PM
Number: 37007
Abstract ID:85


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