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Garden Genetics: Teaching with Edible Plants
Ellie Rice

2002-2004 Fellow

Developed through Ellie's work with CSIP classes, this book presents ways of teaching core genetic concepts in ways that are fun for students and fresh for teachers.

The two-part set (a teacher edition and companion student edition) is adaptable to biology students at all levels, including AP. It uses a series of activities and experiments with familiar foods to teach genetics while helping students make connections to ecology, evolution, plant biology, and even social science.

What makes Garden Genetics unique is its emphasis on inquiry-based activities using modern food plants. For example, to learn about Punnett’s squares, students taste variations in bitterness in cucumber seedlings and then design experiments investigating the surprising role that bitterness plays in protecting plants from insects. To learn about plant breeding, students re-enact a trial in which farmers sued seed companies to compensate for $1 billion in U.S. corn crop losses caused by genetic uniformity. Designed to be flexible, you can use each chapter as a unit or teach the book as a whole. Most important, the innovative content emphasizes the problem-solving skills demanded in today’s cutting-edge science classes.

Garden Genetics was published by the National Science Teachers Association and is available from their online store.




Copyright 2006 CSIP, Cornell University