Date of Award

5-2019

Degree Type

Education Specialist

Degree Name

Education Specialist

Department

Education, Leadership and Public Service

Program

Educational Administration and Supervision

First Advisor/Chairperson

Carl Wozniak

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify historical trends of neglect in plant biology education, their continuation today in Michigan middle school classrooms, and to uncover reasons for this neglect. A content analysis of state and national science standards and an online survey of Michigan middle school life science teachers were conducted. Findings showed a trend of increasing references in national standards from animals or plants to general organisms, as well as a decrease in the overall number of specific references in the standards. The data also revealed that nearly half of the teachers surveyed spent less than ten percent of their life science class time on plants, indicating ongoing levels of plant neglect in middle school classrooms. Overall, the findings indicated providing teachers and students with direct experience growing, observing and having guided explorations with plants could increase their intrinsic and long-term interest in and understanding of plants. This approach would build upon constructivist theory of learners, including teachers and students alike, having need for baseline experiences upon which to develop and grow. Given the critical role plants play in the biosphere, in the functioning of human lives and in the increasing trend of consumer interest in plants, addressing identified levels of plant neglect and working towards building botanical capacity in school classrooms could be of benefit to the human race and support of healthy life on earth.

Access Type

Open Access

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