Plants & Human Affairs - Introduction
Cherries.wmf (7140 bytes) Plants & Human Affairs (BIOL106)  -  Stephen G. Saupe, Ph.D.; Biology Department, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Collegeville, MN 56321;;

Tentative Syllabus - Fall 2008



Topic (chapter in text)

Lab (day 2)


Aug  28 (Th)

Unit 1:  Introduction.  Course & requirements;  The importance of plants.  Asking questions.  (intro online notes; Botany without borders - K Niklas) Deciduous trees & shrubs of Central Minnesota (systematic science) 

Due:  signed Safety Contract

Sep 1 (M)

     Plant blindness?  The Plant Way of Life - What is a plant? (Ch intro, 5 & 6; plant way of life online notes, pp 16-22; Wandersee & Hershey articles)

3 (W)

     More plant way


5 (F)

     Are plants intelligent?  (Trewevas, etc. articles); Plant communication? Are leaves good predictors of  climate?
(model building science)

Due:   Tree post-lab exercise;
Leaf climate Pre-lab


9 (T)

Unit 2:  Science.  Facts, philosophy and paradigms; Tom Jones; The Tomato Effect  (online notes for science)

11 (Th)

     The scientific method(s); Botanical Science Survey    


15 (M)

"Roses" - Special guest lecture by B Woodard Field trip:  Munsinger & Clemens Gardens, St. Cloud

Due:   Leaf climate post-lab exercise

17 (W)

     Dodo's & white snakeroot

19 (F)

      Pseudoscience; Case Study: Crop Circles vs. Fairy Circles vs. UFO/Fairy Rings; Article analysis


23 (T)

Exam #1 (Intro - pseudoscience, dichotomous keys & deciduous trees)   - Review Sheet Surface-to-volume ratios (model building & hypothetico-deductive science)

Greenhouse Tour

24 (W) Heritage Day - "Sustainable foods for the family table"

26 (F)

Unit 3:  Evolution The evolution of evolution (NAS book; online notes; Historical Readings; Case Studies; Crab evolution; Evolution survey; Evolution questions

 30 (T)

Natural selection


2-5 Free Days Do Osage Oranges Repel Spiders? (hypothetico-deductive science)

Due:  S/V Post-lab assignment

Bogus Botany - Assignment, Topic selections; Questions


Oct 6 (M)

More evolution; Evolution as fact & theory  (Freudian Slip; Panda's Thumb

 8 (W)

Evolution vs. creationism; Intelligent design? (Gink & Go discuss Ribs, Creationism, Intelligent Design)

10 (F)

Holiday Botany: Columbus Day - global impact, plant exploration, crop origins (online notes; questions; PPT in public folder)


14 (T) Unit 4.  Botany for Gardeners
     Roots, shoots & growth (Ch 2)   (online notes - vegetables; veggie study guide)
Brine Shrimp Lab - includes field trip to collect samples, herbarium & collecting techniques, and tour of the Bailey Herbarium (H-D science)

Brine Shrimp Pre-Lab #1; Osage-orange post-lab

Private Lives of Plants: Vol.1

16 (Th) No Class (Heritage Day)
20 (M) Exam #2 


22 (W) Inside stems, roots & leaves (Ch 3, 4) (online notes - wood; wood sg)  Pod Size & Life cycle of Rapid cycling Brassica rapa (RCBr) (H-D & descriptive science)

Due:  RCBr  Pod Size Pre-Lab; Brine Shrimp Post-Lab

Private Lives of Plants: Vol. 3
24 (F) Control of plant growth & development (Ch 7)
28 (T) Uptake and use of water, minerals and light (Ch 8)



30 (Th)

Halloween Botany - ergot, pumpkins, chocolate.  Prizes awarded for coming to class with a botanical costume     (online notes)

Plant Growth - greenhouse work (observational, H-D science)

Due:  RCBr pod post-lab

Private Lives of Plants: Vol. 4

Nov 3 (M)

     Flowers (Ch 9) 

5 (W)

     Fruits (Ch 9) 


7 (F)

     Seeds - structures, types, dormancy, raising plants from seed  (Ch 1 & 9; PPT public folder; online notes; seed questions; seed packets)

Forensic botany - sticky seeds to the defense

Due:  Plant growth exercises due
; S/V Pre-Lab

Private Lives of Plants: Vol. 5

11 (T)

     Strategies of inheritance (Ch 10); GMO's

13 (Th)

Unit 5. Economic Botany
Maple syrup


17 (M)      Biodynamic plants (online notes; study guide; mini-quiz)

Using Brine Shrimp to Screen for Biological Activity (extract prep)

Due:  Forensic botany post-lab; Plant Care Assignment

Video:  Private Lives of Plants: Vol. 6

19 (W) Exam #3
21 (F)      Medicinal plants (online notes)


25 (T)      Psychoactive plants (online notes) More Brine Shrimp (assay)

 RCBr Life Cycle journal & pods

Video:  Death Trap or
Shaman's Apprentice
26-30 Thanksgiving Break
Dec 2 (T)      Poisonous plants
4 (Th)      Non-alcoholic beverages (coffee, tea)


8 (M)      Fermented products Trees for the Christmas Season & Conifers of Central Minnesota  (systematic & observational science)

Due: Conifer Pre Lab; Brine shrimp Post-Lab #2

10 (W)      Essential Oils - spices & perfumes
 12 (F) Holiday Botany: Christmas - mistletoe, mushrooms, trees

15 (M)

Study Day


17 (W)

Exam #4 (Final):  3:30 pm -5:30 p.m.

Other possible topics (if time permits):

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Last updated:  01/07/2009 / � Copyright  by SG Saupe