Let students ask and investigate: the case of a variegated plant

Singh, Gurinder and Haydock, Karen (2016) Let students ask and investigate: the case of a variegated plant. i wonder.... pp. 71-76. ISSN 2582-1636

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who asks most of the questions in a classroom - students or the teacher? In many cases, it is the teacher who does most of the questioning. And what kind of questions does a teacher ask? Questions for which the teacher already knows the answers! Students in schools are trained to give these answers, and are assessed for their ability to do so. Even if they do ask questions, students are expected to only ask ‘textbook’ questions that lie within their school curriculum. An activity which is sometimes done in school in order “to prove that chlorophyll is required for photosynthesis” is to take a variegated leaf, remove its green pigment by dissolving it in alcohol, and show that only the areas which were formerly green test positive for starch. However, this is a rather tedious procedure, and it actually does not prove that chlorophyll is required for photosynthesis, or even that photosynthesis is occurring. It merely indicates that only the green areas contain starch. It may even lead students to ask questions like, “Why does a potato, which is not green - also contain starch?” Is the potato also capable of carrying out photosynthesis? We can also question whether starch is an indicator of photosynthesis.

Item Type: Articles in APF Magazines
Authors: Singh, Gurinder and Haydock, Karen
Document Language:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Plants, chlorophyll, Photosynthesis
Subjects: Natural Sciences > Plants (Botany)
Divisions: Azim Premji University > University Publications > i Wonder...
Full Text Status: Public
URI: http://publications.azimpremjifoundation.org/id/eprint/1256
Publisher URL: http://apfstatic.s3.ap-south-1.amazonaws.com/s3fs-...

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