Encephalartos bervifoliolauts Vorster

A world without plants?

Would you like to learn more about Plant Blindness and teaching about it in the classroom?  JSTOR has some resources for you to help you get started.

We all know that a world without plants would jeopardize our survival. Plants play a fundamental role in human life and climate change is impacting their existence. But why is it easier to conjure up imagery of endangered animals but not of endangered plants? Think “plant blindness.”

In 1998, Professors James H Wandersee and Elisabeth Schussler noticed after a review of several studies that elementary and middle school US students prefer to study animals rather than plants. This reflected a lack of recognition that plants form the basis of animal habitats and all life on earth. They noted that oftentimes educators and even biologists can underemphasize the value of plants. Therefore, Wandersee and Schussler made it their mission to campaign against “Plant Blindness.”

Here are some free articles and other resources from JSTOR to help you delve into this important topic with your students:

“Plant Blindness”
William Allen
Vol. 53, No. 10 (October 2003) , p. 926
Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences

“Botanical Literacy: What and How Should Students Learn about Plants?”
Gordon E. Uno
American Journal of Botany 
Vol. 96, No. 10 (Oct., 2009) , pp. 1753-1759
Published by: Botanical Society of America

“Integrating Botany with Chemistry & Art to Improve Elementary School Children’s Awareness of Plants”
Emine Çil
The American Biology Teacher 
Vol. 77, No. 5 (May 2015) , pp. 348-355
Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the National Association of Biology Teachers

“A Writing Template, for Probing Students’ Botanical Sense of Place”
James H. Wandersee, Renee M. Clary and Sandra M. Guzman
The American Biology Teacher
Vol. 68, No. 7 (Sep., 2006) , pp. 419-422
Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the National Association of Biology Teachers

Global Plants
Visit plants.jstor.org and do a “free text” search using the term “extinct.” You’ll find some interesting plant specimen samples. (Full access to the high-resolution specimen images may be limited to those with institutional access to Global Plants.)