Module Big Ideas and Design: This module is designed to expose students to the plant life cycle. They will gain firsthand experience with the alternation of generations, a phenomenon that is typically difficult for students to understand. Students work in teams to grow, observe and document developmental stages of the model organism, Ceratopteris richardii (C-Fern®). They sow spores and maintain their cultures in a way that is typical of biological research laboratories. Each stage of the C-Fern® life cycle will be examined as students remove one or two plants from their culture each week. Students will learn how to make a wet mount for observations under a compound light microscope as well as whole culture observations made under a dissecting microscope. As this is an observational study, data will take the form of hand sketches and qualitative descriptions made by each student. Students communicate with scientist mentors online to discuss their findings.
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