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Design and teaching of plant pathology and biology labs
Doug Rouse: University of Wisconsin-Madison
<div>Hands-on experiences that can be achieved in a teaching laboratory are an important means of learning in the biological sciences. Different kinds of laboratory experiences illustrate the range of possibilities and the kind of learning on Blume’s taxonomy that may be achieved in the laboratory. There are activities that simply allow students to see the pathogens and diseases discussed in lecture first hand, for example make a wet mount and see an oospore inside an infected root. Students may also conduct experiments designed to illustrate a concept, such as inoculate viruses onto indicator plants. Students may engage in completely open-ended inquiry activities where they get to practice the process of science and develop their own ideas about plant pathology concepts. Ultimately there is the classroom undergraduate research experience (CURE) model. All of these have their place, and a mix of different kinds of activities may be best. Nevertheless, among education researchers there is much discussion about what is best, and there is a strong theme currently to drive as far toward inquiry based activities as possible. The importance of the teaching laboratory for experiencing and learning how to work in small groups should also not be underestimated.</div>

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