Plants in Motion

Spring 2018 quarter

Taught by

botany, phytochemistry, systematics

How do plants move? Growing from tiny seeds to giant trees, turning to face the sun, slowly reorienting in response to gravity, and rapidly ejecting spores, plants have developed diverse mechanisms for adjusting their bodies in physical space and in response to their environments. This program will explore the fascinating intersection of physics and botany by focusing on plants in motion. We will study plants in the lab and in the field to learn how the laws of physics constrain and enable their form and function and particularly their growth and motion. Topics will include plant growth and reproduction, tropism, transport, and conversion of energy from sunlight to sugar. Labs will involve both observation and experimentation, including the study of plant anatomy, photosynthesis, and water and nutrient transport.

We welcome students new to studying college level science, and will work to create a supportive learning community through hands-on, collaborative work and regular individual and community check-ins. We will pay particular attention to developing foundational skills in quantitative and scientific reasoning through interactive lectures, seminars, workshops, labs, and field trips. Regular assignments and assessments will include reading, homework sets, short papers, lab notebooks, quizzes, and exams. Students will complete a quarter long group research project related to plant physics that will culminate in a popular science and/or science education demonstration at Evergreen’s Spring 2018 Science Carnival.

Students who successfully complete this program will have covered the equivalent of one quarter of introductory botany/plant biology with lab (6 credits), topics in algebra-based physics with lab (6 credits), and and an interdisciplinary research project (4 credits) and will be prepared for further introductory programs with significant science content such as Introduction to Environmental Studies, Introduction to Natural Science, and (for students with precalculus) Matter and Motion.

Program Details

Fields of Study

botany physics

Preparatory For

biology, botany, ecology, environmental science, mathematics, physics, other natural sciences, and math and science education.


Spring Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online