This semester, Spring 2012, I have created several activities to more successfully teach the lab portion of the Systematic Botany Course (Biology 331) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The class is taught by Dr. Steffi Ickert-Bond, who has allowed me the freedom to create new activities or "teaching structures" to inject a little inquiry-based learning into the lab. This webpage will be used to describe the different structures I have devised, with some commentary on their effective use.
I've been a teaching assistant for other courses at the university, but I particularly enjoy teaching systematic botany. As part of a TA assignment during the fall of 2010, I rebuilt and reorganized the "teaching collection" of dried plant specimens for the systematic botany course, updating the collection to APG III nomenclature and integrating a large amount of new material. Following that, I taught the lab portion of the class in Spring 2011, and I currently teach the lab this semester, spring 2012.
To continue improving the lab portion of the course, I took a class on teaching and began studying techniques for inquiry-based teaching. I have referenced several teaching resources such as the Kagan learning system and my fiance Stephanie, who is an incredible second-grade teacher, to create new activities for the lab. I decided to share some of my structures online because I think teachers may find them useful. I would be happy to hear any comments that could help improve the structures as well.