Final Program Description and Suggested Course Equivalencies

Faculty: Lalita Calabria, Ph.D. and Krishna Chowdary, Ph.D.

Plants in Motion was an interdisciplinary program focusing on the intersection between physics and botany at the introductory level. The major learning objectives for students were to gain a basic understanding of the principles of plant biology and explore topics in algebra-based physics to learn how a plant’s form and function and particularly, growth and motion, are constrained and enabled by the laws of physics. Because this program was designed for freshman and sophomore students new to the sciences, much attention was focused on helping students to become scientifically capable and confident; improve academic habits; increase conceptual understanding and procedural skills through reading scientific texts; improve oral and written scientific communication; strengthen collaborative skills; and explore how issues of difference and inclusion intersect with the teaching, learning, and practice of science. In order to meet these learning objectives, students participated in the following activities:

Students’ plant biology studies centered around Evert and Eichhorn’s Raven Biology of Plants. Students attended weekly botany lectures and labs that covered plant growth and reproduction, plant anatomy and physiology, and systematics as well as plant evolution and diversity primarily on the phylum and class level. Students demonstrated their comprehension of the material through study question assignments, lab notebook entries, quizzes, and exams. They also studied local plant identification through campus plant walks as well as two field trips focusing on biodiversity and native vegetation of forest and prairie ecosystems.

Topics in algebra-based physics were chosen to support studies in plant biology. Working through selections from College Physics (Rice University OpenStax Consortium), lectures covered: unit conversions & estimation; geometrical optics; 1D kinematics; light & spectroscopy; fluids, gases, & pressure; strength of materials; and forces, circular motion, & gravity. Labs involved: diffusion; lenses & images; photosynthesis & spectroscopy; transpiration & pressure; and strength of plant materials. Collaborative problem-solving workshops supported student submission of substantial weekly homework assignments using the WebAssign on-line homework system. Students took in-class quizzes and a cumulative final exam with opportunities to submit revisions.

Learning across the disciplines of plant biology and physics was integrated in an interdisciplinary group research project focusing on the theme of “plants in motion.” Students gained skills in popular science writing, web design, library research, video analysis, project planning and experimental design, reading scientific literature, and using feedback to improve writing and presentations. The project culminated in a published popular science blog with individual and group research posts as well as a public presentation at the 13th annual Evergreen Science Carnival.

(Standard) Suggested Course Equivalencies

  • 6 – Plant Biology with Lab
  • 6 – Topics in Algebra-based Physics with Lab
  • 4 – Group Research Project:

Reminder: final items for submission

Some reminders of some final items to make sure you get in:
If you missed signing up for an Evaluation Conference, email your project faculty (who is also your evaluating faculty) right away. Conferences are on Monday June 6.
  • Your “conference ticket” includes:
    • completing a lab clean up;
    • posting your self-evaluation to your and sharing with faculty by 6 PM SUNDAY JUNE 5;
    • posting your Faculty Evaluations (one each for Lalita and Krishna) on your by your conference.

Last class meeting and program ending details!

Our last class meeting of the quarter starts at noon Thursday June 2 in Sem 2 B1107:
  • We start with our potluck lunch. Please sign up here.
  • Please bring your completed updated Attendance Assignments Assessments Self-Check worksheet (paper copies were handed out at Wednesday’s physics exam, but print your own if you didn’t get one). Complete it as best you can; we can try to help you fill in any gaps. You will submit it by the end of the afternoon.
  • We’ll complete a Physics Exam Revision workshop that afternoon. You may want to bring your notecard, lecture notes, problem set notebook, etc. as all those resources are allowed for the exam revision.
  • We’ll complete a Self-Evaluation peer review. Please bring 3 printed copies of your draft Self-Evaluation for peer review. If you’ve not written a Self-Evaluation before, the Writing Center has some information here.
  • We’ll sign up for Evaluation Conferences.
  • We’ll have a final Wrap.
  • We’ll clean up from the Potluck (please sign up to be on the clean-up crew).
On Friday June 3:
  • (if required) Portfolio materials are due by noon to Lab 2 3255
  • (optional) visiting physics faculty candidate for Matter & Motion teaching demonstration (12 – 1) and discussion (1 – 2), see this post for details
  • (if required) Physics Exam Revisions due by 5 pm.
On Monday June 6:
  • lab notebooks available for pickup outside Lab 2 3255 by 9 am
  • Evaluation conferences with Lalita (Lab 1 1065) or Krishna (Lab 2 3255)
  • To have your conference, you must complete a “conference ticket” which includes: participation in lab clean-up; posting your Self-Evaluation and sharing it with faculty on your; posting a Faculty Evaluation on your (info on Writing a Faculty Evaluation here).

Physics faculty candidates for Matter & Motion, visiting campus Fri. June 3 and Wed. June 15

We have invited 2 candidates to campus to interview for the visiting physics faculty position in next year’s Matter & Motion. We hope that you might be able to attend some part of their campus visits. Each candidate will give short teaching demonstrations on topics provided to them in advance, and will also be available over lunch.

  • The first candidate will be on campus Friday June 3. The teaching demonstration will be from noon – 1, Sem 2 C2107. The candidate will then be available from 1 – 2 in the faculty/staff lounge in the basement of the CAB.
  • The second candidate will be on campus Wednesday June 15. The teaching demonstration will be from noon – 1, Sem 2 A2109. The candidate will then be available from 1 – 2 in the faculty/staff lounge in the basement of the CAB.

As several of you are planning to take Matter & Motion next year, your feedback on the faculty candidates is particularly valuable. Please attend if you can.

Week 10 Schedule

  • 9 am, Tue. May 31. Sem 2 B1105. BOTANY FINAL EXAM. Sign up for potluck.
  • 1 pm, Tue. May 31. No class meeting.
  • 9 am, Wed. June 1. Lab 1 2046. PHYSICS FINAL EXAM. Bring calculating device and personally prepared 3inch x 5inch notecard.
  • noon, Thu. June 2. Sem 2 B1107. Final Class Meeting. Potluck (signup here). Physics Exam Revision workshop. Self-Evaluation peer review workshop. Evaluation Conference sign-ups. Final Program Wrap.
  • Fri. June 3. No class meeting. Optional: visiting physics faculty candidate for Matter & Motion teaching demonstration (12 – 1) and discussion (1 – 2), see this post for details.

Physics Problem Set 8 available

A printable version of Physics Problem Set 8 (due Tue. May 31 at 6 pm via WebAssign) is available here. Note the shifted due date. In order to post the solutions not too terribly late for exam preparation, there is no extra grace period: the assignment is due at 6 pm and solutions will be posted then.

Blank physics quizzes for study/practice

As discussed in class, studying from the quizzes is a good starting point to prepare for the physics final exam. Here are blank versions of all 7 quizzes from this quarter.

  1. Quiz 1 on Week 1 material (given in week 2)
  2. Quiz 2 on Week 2 material (given in week 3)
  3. Quiz 3 on Week 3 material (given in week 4)
  4. Quiz 4 on Week 4 material (given in week 5)
  5. Quiz 5 on Week 5 material (given in week 6)
  6. Quiz 6 on Week 6 material (given in week 7)
  7. Quiz 7 on Week 8 material (given in week 9)