Careers, Cases and Collaboration in Plant Science

Today’s students must prepare for a shifting workplace, problem solving, and teamwork skills. Join us as we explore career connections requiring a knowledge of plant science through cases. We plan to discuss, design, and conduct investigations that require information technology, such as image analysis, bioinformatics, and biotechnology. Topics include global warming, Aztec/Incan crops, pollen, paleobotany, import/export forensics, and textiles.

Plant IT  Careers, Cases, and Collaborations

1. Paul’s Puzzle:  Scaffolding the case

    Paul’s Puzzle Case

2. Concept Map:  Applying our disciplinary content

3. Soccer Field:  Definition …and then it comes out here

4. The Dilemma of the Imported Fabric: Facilitating interdisciplinary connections

Student blog posts after investigating their questions:

“Today we had the chance to experiment and see which pieces of fabrics were made out of real cotton. We used the microscopes to really get evidence to see which one wasn’t real. “

“After inspecting the products just shipped from China, we discovered that all but one of these fabrics were what the manufacturers said they were. The products PLJ-129 and PLJ-402 turned out to be 100% cotton and the fluke was in the product PLJ-135 which had a 50-50 mixture of cotton and polyester. Because of this we cannot ship any part of this order into the US.”

“When i saw the fibers from cotton, just like i expected, they were transparent. these fibers when blended can take on the properties of both, like polyester and cotton the fiber would be soft and smooth like cotton yet heat retaining like polyester making a great fabric for winter clothing.”

“saw cotton fiber under a microscope and even some threads from my shorts – it was cool”

Example of Plant It Summary:

Case Learning Plant Science Technology Careers
  • Investigative cases require learners to pose their own questions as well as present their own conclusions.
  • Cases should be done collaboratively.
  • Images and image analysis tools are useful for fiber identification.
  • Molecular sequence data can be used to identify an unknown organism.
  • Cotton has a well described evolutionary history.
  • Image capturing and analysis tools like Image J allow us to compare fibers more easily.
  • Online images and fiber data are available to help us identify unknown fibers.
  • Sequence data and data analysis tools are available online.
  • Computational Biologist
  • Textile Scientist
  • Forensics Technologist
  • Ethnobotanist


5. Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire: New directions






6. Writing the case

What do you want your learners to do?

  • Learn specific disciplinary content?
  • Use interdisciplinary skills to answer their questions?
  • Develop scientific data literacy?
  • Engage in collaborative problem solving?
  • Relate the disciplinary content to their own lives?
  • Learn how to use tools such as BLAST?
  • Learn why to use tools such as BLAST?
  • Navigate the online environment?
  • Make an evidence-based decision?
  • Develop an appreciation for scientific thinking?
  • Discover their strengths and weaknesses as learners?
  • Your own objectives here?