Ecologists, naturalists and many others scientist and artists have taken the time to admire nature and to document its intricacies. To an untrained eye nature may be a lot of plants without distinguishing characteristics. Yet, thanks to the trained eyes of many in the past we can document the changes and development of habitats. Many plants were originally study for medicinal purposes, which lead to a number of collections of plants that not only described their physical appearance but they also described their possible use.
Plant geographers, naturalists and botanists, such as Carl Ludwig Willdenow, Friederich Heinrich Alexander Humboldt and Aime Bonpland became interested in finding the explanation to the variety or biodiversity among plants (Smith 1996). This interest captured their desire to travel and compare the differences and similarities among plants in different regions of the world.
Observation allow for better understanding of plants survival and reproduction. Plants and animals use chemical substances for defense, recognition and even courtship. Colors and shapes are other characteristics that seem to influence how organisms develop. For example, among birds in some species the females only mate with males, which are more colorful and larger in size and form. Without careful observation it would be very difficult to know all the details that nowadays we have about nature.
Induction is how science tries to find and explain patterns that help us understand how things work in nature. It has helped to reveal to scientist or ecologists the existent relationships in nature, which sustain biodiversity in certain areas. Sometimes is as simple as the description of the morphology of organisms and counting its frequency or number. But it can also help to describe relation ships that clearly explain how an organism provides the protection or nutrition that allows for the other to survive.
I want my students to learn to describe morphology and relationships both utilizing drawings and written descriptions. This method of recording data has been called a nature journal and I hope to help them improve their ability to use language and text to explain what they have acquired as knowledge. I want them to be effective communicators of their thought processes by providing them with a structured opportunity express what they see and experience with nature. Hopefully these observations will lead them to questions that will require further observations and seeking information that will help them pose further questions and so on. This process is aimed at increasing their scientific inquiry skills and interest.
Building scientific knowledge is a complex task for a teacher, first I or any other teacher trying to help students must realize that science teaching is not necessarily just knowledge transfer. Teaching concepts in science effectively requires the teacher to shift their views of their role and of the processes needed to acquire knowledge in this field. The teacher must provide activities in which knowledge is generated through making sense or understanding the content and by helping the students to develop their own meaning from experiences (Loucks-Horsley, 1998). Students must engage in a learning experience that allows for them to make meaning out of questions, investigation, collecting and organizing data, making predictions and all of it for the sake of understanding the new concepts and to deepen their understanding of already learned ones.