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ERIC Number: EJ822998
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 22
ISSN: ISSN-1931-7913
Alternation of Generations and Experimental Design: A Guided-Inquiry Lab Exploring the Nature of the "her1" Developmental Mutant of "Ceratopteris richardii" (C-Fern)
Spiro, Mark D.; Knisely, Karin I.
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v7 n1 p82-88 Spr 2008
Inquiry-based labs have been shown to greatly increase student participation and learning within the biological sciences. One challenge is to develop effective lab exercises within the constraints of large introductory labs. We have designed a lab for first-year biology majors to address two primary goals: to provide effective learning of the unique aspects of the plant life cycle and to gain a practical knowledge of experimental design. An additional goal was to engage students regardless of their biology background. In our experience, plant biology, and the plant life cycle in particular, present a pedagogical challenge because of negative student attitudes and lack of experience with this topic. This lab uses the fern "Ceratopteris richardii" (C-Fern), a model system for teaching and research that is particularly useful for illustrating alternation of generations. This lab does not simply present the stages of the life cycle; it also uses knowledge of alternation of generations as a starting point for characterizing the "her1" mutation that affects gametophyte sexual development. Students develop hypotheses, arrive at an appropriate experimental design, and carry out a guided inquiry on the mechanism underlying the "her1" mutation. Quantitative assessment of student learning and attitudes demonstrate that this lab achieves the desired goals. (Contains 4 tables and 3 figures.)
American Society for Cell Biology. 8120 Woodmont Avenue Suite 750, Bethesda, MD 20814-2762. Tel: 301-347-9300; Fax: 301-347-9310; E-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A