Plant Biology Outreach at Monroe Community College Rochester, NY
Sixty undergraduates at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY are learning some classic biology concepts in new ways, and they are using plants to do it. Professor Laura Penman, a participant in BTI’s Plant Biology Curriculum Development Project and three-week summer Teacher Fellow, has infused her Biology 101 curriculum with plant science that engages students because it is being taught within the context of societal challenges.
While at BTI Laura worked with scientists and educators to designed lab activities and lessons to introduce students to proteins, carbohydrates, fats and other macromolecules while teaching about biofuels. She and her students are using a protein to breakdown complex plant materials into simple starches. This is one of the first steps in converting complex plant materials into simple forms that can be fermented into ethanol for fuel.
Dr. Amber Hotto a researcher and Biology 101 instructor at BTI observed Laura introduce biomolecules to her class while discussing the global need for sustainable fuel production. Ultimately, we are teaching students about science and scientific inquiry so that they can be active problem solvers, and informed global citizens. One way that BTI educators and teachers are doing this is ongoing development and implementation of plant biology curricula that connect basic scientific concepts to real world issues.
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