UTPA STEM/CBI Courses/Botany/Nutrient Transport, Cycling and Storage

Course Title: Botany

Lecture Topic: Nutrient Transport, Cycling and Storage

Instructor: Amede Rubio

Institution: University of Texas-Pan American

Backwards Design edit

Course Objectives

  • Primary Objectives- By the next class period students will be able to:
    • Describe the structure and function of plant cells and how they are distributed and modified in the organism.
    • Discuss the evolution of land plants.
    • Understand the primary physiological functions of plants.
    • Understand the various mechanisms of plant reproduction
    • Understand the form, function and diversity of plant groups in Texas and on Earth.
    • Enhance technical communication skills.
    • Understand how the scientific method is used in modern scientific research.

  • Sub Objectives- The objectives will require that students be able to:
    • Know the structural components of the plant transport system present in various plant taxa.
    • Know how water, minerals, and photosynthates are cycled, transported and stored in the plant body.
    • Understand the biological, chemical and physical factors that contribute to the movement of substances within a plant.
    • Understand why movement and storage of materials is important in maintaining homeostasis for survival.
    • Investigate some plant adaptations that have been evolved to maximize their transport functions in harsh environments.

  • Difficulties- Students may have difficulty:
    • The major issues behind this topic that students fail to see how the concept of transport and storage materials in plants is tied into other bio-physiological, physical and chemical processes. The one main objective for investigating this topic is establishing that all biological components are connected to physical and chemical forces on this planet.
    • Increasing self-awareness of the impact our actions have on plants and their development. This self-awareness should help them start to view organisms such as plants and their functions in a holistic manner (rather than independent components).
  • Real-World Contexts- There are many ways that students can use this material in the real-world, such as:
    • Some organisms have evolved adaptations to survive in areas of high pollution and even remediate polluted landscapes by assimilating pollutants within their organs.
    • Students will be given a scenario where a landscape along the Rio Grande had been polluted with liquid waste produced from the recent Oil and Natural Gas Boom in the area.
    • They students will have to review concepts of plant transport, nutrient cycling, and storage.
    • Investigate the potential pollutants that are produced from drilling activity and research how some of those chemicals can affect plant function (growth-development, physiology, reproduction etc.)
    • Research examples of plants that have evolved adaptations for surviving in similar (polluted) environments. Research which adaptations are present in survivors of those environments.
    • Could any of those plants be used in our landscape to remediate the spill or pollution site.

Model of Knowledge

  • Concept Map
    • Plant Structures
    • General chemical balance comprehension
    • Being able to identify sources of pollution
    • Understand limitations in plant adaptation to harsh environments
  • Content Priorities
    • Enduring Understanding
      • 1. Understanding the problem: What factors are potentially threatening the organism?
      • 2. Identify plants that have the ability to adapt to certain situations.
    • Important to Do and Know
      • General plant structures.
      • Basic chemistry
      • Handle various measuring equipment
      • Understand and use various units of measurement
    • Worth Being Familiar with
      • Various measurement devices
      • Plant structures

Assessment of Learning

  • Formative Assessment
    • In Class (groups)
      • Lectures
      • Examples of adaptive plants to be studied
    • Homework (individual)
      • Research
      • Research presentation sections that will contribute to the mid-term and final presentations.
  • Summative Assessment
    • Mid-term presentation
    • Final presentation

Legacy Cycle edit


By the next class period, students will be able to:

  • In my course I would modify this challenge to be a capstone project for the course, before the final exam.
    • The project would highlight many concepts in general biology and botany.
    • Other research components would be agriculture/horticulture, economics, politics, and public health.
  • Basic to intermediate background knowledge is important for the success of this project. Prior discussion and lecturing will be needed to lay a sound foundation of material (part of the multiple perspective).


  • Due to the recent increase in Hydraulic fracturing activity, reports have been made that various sites along the Eagle Ford Shale and Barnett Shale Play have become contaminated with hydrocarbon production waste.
  • You are one of a group of ten independent environmental remediation companies hired by the Texas Railroad Commission to assess and create a mitigation plan for an assigned area.
  • Students will be given scenario cards to begin their discussion.


Generating ideas begins with delivering primer words and statements. The students will have some time to discuss the challenge and brainstorm on all the moving parts of the issue.


After the botanical foundation has been established, discuss with the students on the issues of economy, pollution, oil and gas, as well as regulatory bodies in Texas. There are many moving parts to the challenge question; therefore the students will be allowed some time to address most of them.

  • Strong views among the students should be expected here, as this issue is and will be a hot issue for as long as technology and natural environments co-exist.


  • Ground rules for student research will be established early.
  • Create a list of only approved cites, and narrow the journal selection if you wish.
  • Assign search keywords like phytoremediation, ecological restoration, etc..
  • Discuss current findings (preliminary research) and revise if needed.
  • Explore plant physiology topics - water potential, allelopathy, stress, etc.


Companies (students) must create a presentation (PowerPoint or Prezi) for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Texas that illustrates the phytoremediation plan.

The plan must include:

  • A description of the habitat that has been contaminated (plants and animals).
  • A simple analysis of the chemical the area has been contaminated with.
  • The plant species that will be used for the phytoremediation project and why.
  • A description of biological and physiological process on how the plant could potentially remediate an area
  • The cost and materials needed.
  • The time needed and possible setbacks.


Presentations will given at mid-term and the end of term.

Pre-Lesson Quiz edit

A short review will gauge students comprehension of previously learned material. This will provide the student with knowledge of expectations in this course.

Test Your Mettle Quiz edit

Various material can be tested here, depending on time constraints.