Spring.wmf (18300 bytes) Plant Physiology (Biology 327)  - Dr. Stephen G. Saupe;  College of St. Benedict/ St. John's University;  Biology Department; Collegeville, MN  56321; (320) 363 - 2782; (320) 363 - 3202, fax;    ssaupe@csbsju.edu

General Information

INSTRUCTOR:   Dr. Stephen G. Saupe  (call me Dr. Saupe, Steve, Mr. Saupe or whatever feels most comfortable to you)

    College of St. Benedict/St. John's University
    Biology Department; PENGL 335
    Collegeville, MN  56321
    (320) 363 - 2782; (320) 363 - 3202, fax


COURSE (catalog) DESCRIPTIONA study of how plants function and grow. Includes metabolism (photosynthesis, respiration, mineral nutrition), water relations, gas exchange, response to environmental stresses, growth and development in response to environmental cues and biochemical control of growth. 

TEXT:  there is no required text for this course.  We will use my notes, readings from the library, web and other sources.  If you want a textbook, there are several good ones including:  Taiz, L. and E. Zeiger. 2006. Plant Physiology. Fourth Ed. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA (this book has an excellent companion web site) and Hopkins, WG & N Huner.  2004.  Plant Physiology.  3rd edition, John Wiley.

GOALS:  Upon completion of this course you should be able to:

1) Understand the significance of being a plant.
2) Describe the major functions and processes occurring in plants.
3) Use basic techniques for studying the physiology of plants.
4) Discuss areas of current research in plant physiology.
5) Discuss some practical applications of plant physiological research.

ACADEMIC PREPARATION:  This course is taught assuming that you have a decent understanding of introductory biology (e.g., BIOL 121 & 221), especially the chemistry sections. You may need to brush up on some of this material from time to time.  Although it may be helpful, no additional course background (e.g., Chemistry or Plant Diversity) is required.

APPEALS:  You have the option of appealing the grading you've received on any assignment or exam question.  To do so, type on a separate sheet of paper your rationale for why you should receive credit for the question.  Be sure to frame your argument carefully and concisely.  Turn in your typed appeal and the original assignment/exam to me.  Appeals are due within one week of receiving the graded work.  Please note that if I have made any errors in grading your exams (i.e., incorrectly counted up points, mis-marked a question) please see me immediately and I will correct the error without the need for an appeal.

AUDIENCE: This course is an upper division biology course that fulfills: (a) a requirement for Biology majors; or (b) a requirement for students majoring in natural science. This course also fulfills both writing and quantitative reasoning flags.

ATTENDANCE:   Each class I will pass around an attendance sheet to sign/initial.  To reward you for your attendance you will receive a "cool" sticker.  You will not be penalized for missing class, but remember that being absent does not excuse you from completing assignments on time (i.e., turning in any that are due and getting the assignment for the next class).  In general, you will not be able to make up anything missed in lecture or lab.  You must attend lab - No exceptions!

BONUS WORK:   You will have the opportunity to earn bonus points by attending lectures, analyzing journal articles, participating in formal nature walks, or even reporting on science-related television programs.  If it is "scientific" and can be reasonably considered to pertain to our course you can earn bonus points for participating in the activity.  Obtain a "Bio-Bonus Card" and follow the directions.   Bonus work can improve your grade about 2%.  As a rule-of-thumb, any more than 20 bonus points will have little impact on your final grade.

CLASS TIME/PLACE:  The lecture section will meet Days 2-4-6 from 11:20 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. in NewSc 246.  The laboratory will meet Day 6 from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. in NSC 220.  Some lab work will be conducted outside of class.

COMPUTER LITERACY:  If you do not know how to use word-processing (e.g., Word) or spreadsheet programs (e.g., Excel), I encourage you to take one or more workshops by ITS.  I will also be happy to give you a mini-lesson on these types of programs. I especially encourage you to learn to use the computer for graphing.

EMAIL I typically check and respond to email first thing in the morning (around 9:00 am) and before I leave in the evening (usually about 5:30 pm).  If you send an email after about 4:30 pm I may not see it nor respond to it until the following day because I normally do not check email after leaving my office.  Please plan accordingly.

EVALUATION: Grades will be assigned on the basis of your performance on exams (50%); lab work (45%); and assorted assignments (5%)

A. Lecture Exams (50%):  There will be four exams during the course. The exam will be a mixture of objective (e.g., multiple choice, matching, definitions, fill-in-blank) and subjective (non-objective) questions.  The subjective questions could include completing/analyzing diagrams or experiments, short answers (require a few sentences) and essays (longer).  I recommend that you use a pencil.  The exam is designed to last one hour.  In general, the exam could include:  (1) anything covered in class; (2) readings that pertain to concepts covered in class; (3) on-line lecture notes  pertaining to material covered in class; (4) study sheets, handouts or other materials used/assigned in class; and (5) questions from videos or AV materials seen in lecture.  The exam will be similar in format to the quiz questions posted online.  The quiz questions for each unit should provide a good overview of each unit.  In addition, the essay questions that are posted online are an excellent review for the exam.  The first three exams are worth 12% of your final grade and the final exam is worth slightly more (14%) because of the comprehensive component - there will be a fifth question selected from a pool that I will provide to you.

B. Lab Work (45%):  This component of your grade is based on your performance on the lab assignments listed below.  The purpose of our lab work is to provide you an opportunity to: (1) work hands-on with plants; and (2) conduct scientific investigations featuring plants.  As you know, there is no single best way to "do science."  Rather, there are a variety of ways to explore the natural world.  Our studies this semester will focus on three, major types of science investigations:  (a) observational/descriptive science - these are studies in which a scientist attempts to describe the natural world as accurately as possible.  As an example, we will study seed structure and response to light; (b) hypothetico-deductive science or the classic 'scientific method' - in these investigations, the scientist asks a question, develops a hypothesis to test, generates predictions from the hypothesis and then determines the veracity of the predictions with an experiment.  We will use the HD method extensively during the course; and (c) model building science - these are investigations in which a scientist creates a model, usually mathematical, to explain a phenomenon and then tests the validity of the model by comparing it to data.  We will test a mathematical model that has been derived from leaf morphology to predict mean annual climate. 

For most of your lab investigations you will be asked to prepare a typed abstract (summary) of the experiment and append all pertinent tables, graphs and figures (each on a separate page). For one (or two) experiments you will also write a standard lab report.

  1. Awn Movement (4%)
  2. Seed germination movie (10%)
  3. Potato Water Potential (4%)
  4. Pigments of RCBr (4%)
  5. Mineral Nutrition project (3%)
  6. Idioblast experiment (6%)
  7. Stomatal morphology & physiology (4%)
  8. Maple Syrup quiz (2%)
  9. Qubit Project (4%)
  10. Are leaves good thermometers? (4%)

C.  Participation/Assignments (5%) - This portion of your grade is based on your performance on assorted lecture assignments and participation.

    Your course grades will be assigned based upon the percentage of total points accumulated according to the following scale: 100 - 90% = A; 89 - 87% = AB; 86 - 80% = B; 79 - 77% = BC; 76 - 70% = C; 69 - 67% = CD; 66 - 60% = D; below 59% = F.

    To determine your approximate grade at any time during the semester, simply divide the total number of points you have accumulated by the total possible (this information will always be provided). In addition, I will periodically provide you with a summary of your grades.  Check this report for accuracy and to provide an indication of your standing. I recommend that you keep for your records all of your graded work.

    Never hesitate to come and talk to me about your grade, or any aspect of the course, at any time during the semester!

    S/U grading can be requested at any time during the regular semester. You must submit your request in writing on a separate sheet of paper (not on a test or other assignment). Note: I do not recommend that you take the course for S/U grading, especially considering this is a majors course, but this is ultimately your decision. After final grades have been submitted to the Registrar, I will not change a letter grade to S/U or vice versa. Note: "S" is awarded for a letter grade of "C" and above.

CLASSROOM ETIQUETTE:  The following is a list of suggestions to make our classroom experience as enjoyable and productive as possible for all of us:

FORMAT:  Class material will be presented via lectures, laboratories, and discussions.  At the beginning of class, you will be greeted by "botanical" music and cartoons.  One person will be our "time-keeper" and ring the gong to start class. When the gong sounds, I'll ask "how are you today?"  Please respond heartily - "great" or whatever feels right for you.  The time-keeper will ring the gong once again five minutes before the end of class so that we don't go over time.  Laboratory exercises are designed to parallel and augment lecture material. Discussions will focus on a particular topic of interest. Various demonstrations, in-class exercises, and AV materials are also anticipated. I try to minimize lecturing because I believe that science is best learned by "doing." 

FILE: You will have a personal file folder in the filing cabinet in PENGL 342 (Botany lab). You may use this file to store papers/notes/etc. In addition, I will place in your file any assignments not returned to you personally. Also, references pertaining to the class and extra copies (if any!) of handouts will be available here. When in doubt or need, check the filing cabinet.

HONOR CODE:  I run this class on the Honor Code system; in other words, I trust you to do your own work at all times. If you violate my trust, the consequences will be severe. If you have even the slightest doubt that an activity violates the Honor Code - don't do it. In addition to the obvious violations (i.e., cheating on exams, plagiarizing), turning in data from someone else without giving them credit, is a violation of the Honor Code. In general, no photocopies, other than group raw data, will be accepted from another source.

LATE ASSIGNMENTS:  I expect that assignments will be turned in on time.  I reserve the right to accept or reject a late assignment, and to give reduced credit to the work.  As a general rule, if you turn in an assignment late but before I have graded the assignment, I frequently do not deduct any points.  However, if the assignment is received after grading, then points WILL be deducted at my discretion (typically 10% per day late).  Missing a class does not excuse you from submitting assignments on time. 

PHILOSOPHY: This is a mastery-based course. In other words, anyone can earn an "A" if he/she "masters" course materials. Since you know exactly what material to master, there is nothing standing between you and an "A" except yourself. Don't get in your own way.

PRIDE: I believe that the appearance of an assignment is a reflection of the quality of the work and the degree of respect it deserves. Thus, for your benefit I require that:  (1) Written assignments must be typed. There will be many obvious exceptions. For example, any assignments completed in your field notebook or assignment book need not be typed. If in question about whether an assignment should be typed, please ask. Assignments not typed will be penalized 50% of the total possible points; (2) Assignments with multiple pages must be stapled.  Any assignment that is not stapled will automatically loose 2 points.  Please note that I have a stapler available with me in every class; (3) Frayed edges - any assignment turned in on paper with frayed edges ripped out of a spiral bound notebook will automatically loose 2 points.  If you use spiral notebooks that's fine - simply remove the edges before turning in the assignment.

QUESTIONS:  Always welcome!!

REQUIRED MATERIALS In general, you will be supplied with everything you need.

STARS, STICKERS, & STAMPS  Virtually all of your graded assignments will be adorned with botanical stickers and stamps.  I do this to reward you for your excellent work and give you something "extra" to look forward to when getting back your assignments.  In addition, since I consider everyone in the class a Star performer, all assignments will be decorated with a "star."   The top scores in the class get a special star.  Gold, silver, red, green, and blue foil stars will appear on the top five scores, respectively. 

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY I think that learning should be enjoyable. Hopefully we will laugh together and have fun. Stamps, stars and stickers will adorn some of your graded assignments. "Biological" music will greet you when you arrive in class. This is all done in good fun, to make our learning environment more pleasant. Yet, we will always be respectful of one another. Some students in the past have commented that they think some of what we'll do is "childish." I hope so because I want to generate some of the fun and enthusiasm that children have for learning. But remember, even though we may be silly and have fun, I am still very serious about the goals of our course.  I have provided a more complete statement of my teaching philosophy if interested.

THREE RING NOTEBOOK: I recommend the use of a three-ring spiral bound notebook. All course materials will be punched with three holes for your convenience. It has been my experience that students with well-organized notebooks perform better than those with messy, unorganized ones.

VISITORS:   Visitors to our classroom are most welcome.  Please introduce your visitor to me before class.  Visitors should plan to participate (as best he/she can) in class activities and follow the general "rules" for any student in the class.

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