Biology 210 – Vascular Plants

Course Description:

Biology 210 introduces students to plants with vascular tissue (tracheophytes). There are 3 one-hour lectures and a 3 one-hour lab per week. I am the course coordinator and lab instructor as well as lecture for ½ the lectures. Dr. Sean Graham), a lab instructor (me), and four teaching assistants. We work together to generate a well-coordinated course. I attend all lectures to ensure there is continuity with the lab.

Course information and Artifacts:

Syllabus and Course Details
TA Welcome page (and hours)
Lab Manual – a sample of a lab
Final Lab Exam – guidelines for exam materials and set-up
Lab Exam – Materials
Final Lab Exam – with key
Final Lab Exam Preparation
- guidelines for materials and set-up
Greenhouse Requests
- plant material request from greenhouse


Course Website:

The Biology 210 website is intended as a supplement to the course. It is a place where students can view pictures of preparations seen in lab and contribute images. Self-tests and addition instructional material is posted. Lecture material is also presented.

Website Overview


My primary duties are the organization and collection for lab activities as well as preparation and supervision of TAs. One-to-one instruction of students is an important part of my job as is the development of the website.


Sean Graham and I share the lectures.  I do the first half of the course (structure and photosynthesis).
Puzzle – photosynthesis
Lecture Hand-out
Lecture Learning Objectives
Lecture Midterm with Key

Lab/Course Materials:

The materials for Biology 210 are from a number of sources. In addition to materials provided from the greenhouse, fresh and preserved plants must be obtained. Collections of strobili of horsetails, clubmoss, and pine must be collected in spring/summer and frozen so the students can see them at the appropriate stage.

Teaching Goals:

The organisms studied in Biology 210 are for the most part familiar to students. The trick is to get them interested in the microscopic aspects and evolutionary/phylogenetic relationships. This is achieved through various activities (group work, projects). One of my goals, as with other lab courses, is to have students sharpen their observation and microscopy skills.

Course Reflections:

Biology 210 is a team effort and coordination between lecture and lab is important.  The conifer walk gets students out in the fresh air.  A very successful activity from this course is a volunteer program where students assisted me in various aspects of lab preparation as well as some teaching opportunities (outreach). This year we are QR coding trees and developing a website where we post student papers on each tree.