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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Wandersee, James H. [1], Clary, Renee M. [2].

A Conceptual Analysis of the 2007 Documentary Film King Corn with Implications for Use in Botany Education.

Corn or maize, Zea mays L., is a tall, robust, monoecious annual food crop plant, with overlapping sheaths and broad, conspicuously distichous blades. (Hitchcock & Chase, 1951). Zea is a genus of the family Gramineae (Poaceae), commonly known as the grass family. The feature film King Corn (2007) is an 88-minute, full-color documentary presenting and explaining some basic plant science and technology concepts associated with growing corn in the US. The film is self-described as being about two friends who spend a year on farm growing and selling one acre of corn, and then exploring how that corn is processed and used in the US. "In King Corn, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from college on the East coast, move to the Heartland to learn where some of their most common foods comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful companion herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America's most productive, most subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat and how we farm." Our research group viewed the film 10 times; it then used Human Constructivist Theory (Novak et al., 1998, 2000) to concept-analyze and concept map the film's scientific and techological concepts and principles in an electronic format. Using those derivative concept maps, we were able to propose salient instructional applications for this film in botany education that align with undergraduate and K-12 science education reform documents.

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1 - Louisiana State University, Dept. of Educational Theory, Policy, & Practice, Ph.D. Studies in Biology Education, 223 Peabody Hall, Baton Rouge, LA, 70803, USA
2 - Mississippi State University, Dept. of Geosciences, 301-B Hilbun Hall, Mississippi State, Mississippi, 39762, USA

botany education
concept map
conceptual analysis
corn or maize
human constructivist theory.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 31
Location: Council Chambers/SUB
Date: Tuesday, July 29th, 2008
Time: 8:00 AM
Number: 31001
Abstract ID:57

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