Considerable discussion has occurred among the weed science community regarding the potential benefits and limitations of integrated approaches to crop and pest management. This discussion also needs to occur in our weed science classrooms, where students from a wide range of academic disciplines are trained in the fundamentals of weed ecology and management. Although the inherent complexity of integrated crop and pest management can make this adaptation to our weed science courses challenging, the use of experiential learning techniques provides an effective means to promote understanding and retention of these concepts. This paper outlines several classroom activities based on the experiential learning approaches that have been implemented by the authors. The activities focus on (1) weed identification and natural history, (2) weed population processes, and (3) integrated management systems. For each activity, we offer our rationale for the exercise, an example of its implementation in the classroom setting, potential pitfalls, and student feedback regarding their perceptions of the activity's educational value. With this paper, we hope to provide examples that may be useful to other weed science educators wishing to incorporate more experiential learning activities into their courses and to initiate a dialogue between educators that can help our community improve and enliven weed science education.
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Vol. 21 • No. 1