With this lab manual, as in most botany laboratories, you will spend the semester looking at a variety of different types of plants. However, this lab manual differs from others in that you will get first-hand experience with plants that arc uscftil to humans as well as some that can be harmful. In so many ways, plants arc part of our everyday lives. Many plants and plant products arc necessities of life; thev provide food, clothing, shelter, and medicines; other plants enhance life by providing beverages and spices; and still others produce compounds that arc toxic or allergenic. These applied aspects of botany arc the focus of this lab manual.
laboratories in science courses arc designed so that the student can actually experience science. Science facts can be learned from lectures and reading assignments, but science is more than a body of knowledge about the physical and biological world. It is a method of learning through observation and experimentation. You will be using the scientific method during this term, and you will learn techniques, make observations, perform experiments, and draw conclusions. The hands-on experiences will let you sec how things work. In addition, you will use other senses in this lab because you will have opportunities to taste and smell some plant products that may be new to you.
The laboratory topics in this manual begin with background material and learning objectives. These should help you focus on the main theme for each week. Also, each laboratory topic consists of several different exercises; your instructor may choose to do one, two, or all of the exercises during a lab period. Individual exercises have introductory material that explains the purpose of the exercise, a list of materials needed, and step-bv-stcp procedures, which should take you through the exercise. Be sure to read the laboratory topic thoroughly before you come to lab each week so that you can be fully prepared to start working. Each lab has review questions or asks you to draw certain structures. Answer the questions from your observations and experiments. In addition, many exercises have worksheets that you will turn in to your instructor. Again, the answers are based on the experiments and observations made in lab. Some experiments run several weeks, and you may need to make arrangements to come in during the week to water plants or observe their growth. Your instructor will provide you with information on access to the lab outside of class time.
What you get out of diis lab will reflect your preparation and the effort you put in. Ask questions, compare your findings with those of others, and apply what you learn here to your daily life because plants arc all around us.
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