Create your own conference schedule! Click here for full instructions

The Virtual Conference is located at

Abstract Detail

Education and Outreach

Braasch, Joseph [1], Hamilton, Jill [2].

PopUpPoplar Online: an interactive web tool to incorporate lessons on the scientific method and climate adaptation using a nationwide network of Poplar common garden experiments.

The term ‘plant blindness’ remains a problem for biology education, despite academic papers defining the term over two decades ago. Solutions for plant blindness often rely more on ‘sense of place’ activities than lessons which connect plants to scientific inquiry and concepts in ecology or evolution. Yet, plants are well suited for use in education, particularly lessons that occur outdoors or in nature, because individuals can be easily monitored and measured. Common gardens are particularly notable for exhibiting the roles of genetic variation and environmental variation and how they contribute to phenotypic differences and can be used as easily accessible locations for demonstrating the effects of climate change. Yet, common gardens are resources that are rarely available for K-12 education.
Here we introduce a network of Poplar common garden experiments established across the United States and an accompanying, publicly available educational module built with R-based web tools in the “shiny” framework. As sites of active research, these gardens will expose students to cutting edge research in tree genetics, climate adaptation, and plant ecology while providing the opportunity for inquiry-based learning. We will introduce the online learning module, which walks students through the scientific method. First, the app provides students with interactive maps to digitally explore the climate space spanning tree collection origin and common garden locations. The application will then assist students with the process of generating hypotheses and predictions for the relationship between the environment of tree collection and a plant trait to be measured in the common garden. Through the app, the students will learn what different plant traits are, how they contribute to plant adaptation, and how they can be used to evaluate fitness. The application will produce a graphical hypothesis from student inputs that can be compared to real data collected and uploaded from the garden by students themselves or provided by the application using ongoing garden surveys. With this final step, students will evaluate whether the data supports their hypothesis and discuss alternative explanations for the patterns they observed. The efficacy of this tool will be evaluated by student and teacher response surveys to assess the tool as a model to extended to other topics in biology. By combining exposure to contemporary research in tree ecology and genetics with an online, inquiry-based lesson, our goal is to generate interest in plant science, reduce ‘plant blindness’, and provide students experience with the scientific method.

Log in to add this item to your schedule

1 - North Dakota State University, Biological Sciences, 1340 Bolley Drive, 201 Stevens Hall, Fargo, ND, 58102, United States
2 - North Dakota State University, Biological Sciences, PO Box 6050, Dept. 2715, Fargo, ND, 58102, United States

Shiny App
Scientific Method
climate change

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: ED2, Education & Outreach II - Engagement, Communication & Teaching Tools
Location: /
Date: Wednesday, July 21st, 2021
Time: 11:00 AM(EDT)
Number: ED2005
Abstract ID:511
Candidate for Awards:None

Copyright © 2000-2021, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved