Models of Motion

Fall 2021
Winter 2022
Spring 2022
Sophomore - Senior
Class Size: 50
16 Credits per quarter
Variable credit options, see below
Log in to add this offering to your saved list.

Models of Motion is a deep exploration of physics, mathematics, and computation. Students will create and manipulate rigorous mathematical and computational models of the physical world to gain insight and skills in calculus, computer science, discrete mathematics, and calculus-based physics. Students who complete the program should be well-prepared for upper-level undergraduate study in physical science and mathematics and, with particular preparation in spring, for advanced work in computer science.

The work will be intensive and challenging but also exciting; students should expect to spend at least 50 hours per week engaged with material during and outside of class. Important for success will be a commitment to working hard and effectively in groups. The program will include readings, lectures, labs, workshops, seminars, and projects, along with homework sets, writing assignments, quizzes, and exams. Students can expect to spend up to half a day in lab each week, maintain lab notebooks, and write formal lab reports.

All areas of the program will emphasize the use of mathematical methods and critical thinking and the development of proficient writing and speaking skills. Successful students will improve their conceptual understanding and problem-solving abilities, their ability to collaborate effectively, and gain hands-on experience in physical science. Students will apply these skills and knowledge to complex problems showing the rich inter-connectedness of mathematical and physical systems.

Fall quarter calculus will engage with the techniques, concepts, and applications of differential calculus. Winter quarter will focus on the techniques, concepts, and applications of integral calculus and separable differential equations. In spring quarter, the topics will include the geometry of space, sequences, series, partial derivatives, and multiple integrals. Throughout the year these topics will be linked to models in the physical sciences.

Fall quarter physics begins the study of classical mechanics, focusing on matter and its interactions at the macroscopic and microscopic levels, fundamental conservation laws, and introducing computer modeling. Winter quarter concludes our study of classical mechanics and begins the study of electricity and magnetism. In spring, we finish our study of electric and magnetic interactions and waves. In addition, we will explore Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity.

Fall quarter computer science will introduce students to the fundamentals of programming and problem solving using Python. In winter, we will focus on object-oriented programming in Python and start the study of discrete mathematics, including the study of logic.

By the end of the program, successful students will be prepared for upper-division work in mathematics and physics. Particular upper-division Evergreen science programs that students may be prepared for include: Physical Systems and Applied Mathematics (2022-23) and Mathematical Systems (2023-24). Students preparing for upper division work in computer science should take Computer Science Foundations in spring rather than continuing with Models of Motion in spring.


Anticipated credit equivalencies:

Fall - Calculus I, University Physics I, Computer Programming I, and Seminar in Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics

Winter - Calculus II, University Physics II, Computer Programming II, and Discrete Mathematics

Spring - Calculus III, University Physics III, Special Relativity



Proficiency in precalculus, including algebra and trigonometry, is required. Students will be expected to enter the program ready to begin study of calculus. There will be a week 1 exam on precalculus to assess student readiness. Faculty will provide study materials prior to fall quarter for the sample exam to help students prepare for the program and self-assess their readiness.

Fall 2021 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 10245
Winter 2022 Registration

Signature Required

Students will need to have completed the equivalent of one quarter each of calculus, calculus-based physics and computer science to join the full program. Contact faculty for more information.

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 20060
Spring 2022 Registration

Signature Required

Students will need to have completed the equivalent of two quarters each of calculus, calculus-based physics and computer science to join the full program. Contact faculty for more information.

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 30044

Academic details

Preparatory For

physics, mathematics, computer science, engineering, other mathematical and physical sciences, medicine, and math and science education

Variable Credit Options

Students with previous study of calculus, physics, programming, or discrete math may elect not to repeat that material. Contact the faculty to discuss partial credit options.

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$50 per quarter for lab fee


In Person or Remote
Hybrid (F)
Hybrid (W)
Hybrid (S)
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

LAB 2 2238 - Class Lab