Compositae in a Crate

Abstract

In the last decades, several studies have shown that students prefer to learn about animals than plants and usually have more difficult remembering plant names or even noticing them in the environment. This could have an impact over conservation programs and initiatives, are animals are usually considered more important and therefore deemed worthier of conservation efforts. Giving students an opportunity to connect to plants and understand how they affect their lives may be key to raising their awareness to the issue. Compositae, also known as Asteraceae or the sunflower and daisy family, is the largest family of flowering plants, accounting for about 10% of flowering plant diversity in the world. They are present in virtually all biomes and environments, and although there are plenty of endemic and microendemic species, some species are widespread and even considered pests or invasive. Some members of the family are widely cultivated as crops, such as sunflower, lettuce, artichoke and chicory, several species are grown as ornamental plants and others are used in the pharmaceutical and chemical industry. This presence of Compositae in so many different contexts make the family a good object for activities aiming to increase plant awareness, as several of Compositae species are already present in our everyday lives. Here we present Compositae in a Crate, a self-guided outreach activity aimed at the middle grade school level. This crate of activities contains three different modules focusing in different aspects of the sunflower family: biodiversity, morphology and society. Each module has different learning objectives and can be used independently from each other. A guide and different activities, such as flash cards, puzzles and 3D models are provided for each module. The activities will be prepared in the context of the national and state of Tennessee education standards for the 4th and 5th grades. The produced crates will be available at different institutions and all materials will be made available online so other interested parties can produce their own crates.

Date
Event
Botany 2019
Location
Tucson, Arizona
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Carolina M. Siniscalchi
Research Associate

I’m botanist insterested in systematics, evolution and biogeography of Asteraceae.