BOT 3014   Plant Life Histories   Spring Semester 2014
Tuesday and Thursday 11 am – 12:15 pm in PG 155
Dr. Suzanne Koptur - OE 232 – phone 305-348-3103

Office hours: W 10:30 am – noon, and by appointment.

Course Goals:  The purpose of this course is to reveal to Biology students to the exciting world of plants (and other organisms that were formerly considered plants, but are now in different kingdoms), from their salient scientific details to their cultural importance.  Course content will include plant structure and evolution, plant diversity, plants and the environment, and global issues involving plants. 

This course has the following learning goals:


          We will use our time together in class to do activities relevant to the subjects covered, and students are expected to prepare by viewing/reading online resources posted for each class, reading the textbook pages assigned, and participating in online activities scheduled for the week.  Readings should always be done before the class day for which they are assigned.  The best grades will be achieved by participating in all class activities, working the problems, doing/taking all on-line and in-class assessments, and turning in/presenting assignments on time. 

In our class we will use small-group learning, and students will actively engage in games, contests, discussions, and various assessment techniques to facilitate their understanding of the material.  Classroom activities and your out-of-class preparations will be assisted with a course website.  



          This course will involve continuous assessment, not all of the graded kind: some will be educative in nature, allowing the instructors to know if students have learned the material, and helping the students to learn more in the process of being assessed. One way this will be accomplished is with quizzes taken in class, first individually, then in groups.  Another way is with student journals, kept online, in which students review the things that are unclear, and the challenges they have faced.

          The writing component of the course has an additional part:  pop quizzes (essays) in lecture.  The five-minute essays will pop up in class throughout the semester, and the best 60% of them will be counted for a percentage of your final grade. We use the standard grading scale of 90 & up is an A, with plus and minus above C grades.


Individual/Group assessments


Final Exam


Best 60% of "pop" essay grades, and online journals (30% and 10%)



Extra credit opportunities will be offered throughout the term, and for each one completed and written up (in not more than one page, with photos if relevant), turned in before finals week, students may earn one point in their overall grade percentage in the course.

Course Policies:  You are expected to be on time to class, and to stay the full period. You are expected to maintain high standards of academic honesty. Any student found in violation of these standards will earn an automatic F and be reported to the Deans Office, no exceptions made. In accordance with FIU's policy on academic honesty, as set forth in Section 2.44 of the Academic Affairs Policies and Procedures Manual (, it is expected that students in Introductory Botany will not submit the academic work of another as their own.

Textbook (required):  Raven, Peter H., Ray Evert, Susan Eichhorn. Biology of Plants.  8th edition.  Freeman. (abbreviated as REE in the schedule below).

Supplemental reading (recommended): Stewart, Amy. 2009. Wicked Plants.  Algonquin Books. We will use this book to make things diabolically exciting and for homework and extra credit activities.

Highly recommended book:  Lee, David W.  and Stacy West.  2011.  Wayside Trees of Tropical Florida: A Guide to the Native and Exotic Trees and Palms of Miami and Tropical South Florida [Paperback, and/or CD/ROM].  This book will help you to learn and identify many common plants, and enhance your enjoyment of plants and your local environment.



Syllabus for Plant Life Histories – Botany for Majors


Date/ day


Readings – REE chapter

Week 1

7 Jan T




9 Jan R

Plant Cells


Week 2

14 Jan T

The Cell Cycle



16 Jan R

In and Out of Cells


Week 3

21 Jan T

Energy flow and Respiration

 5 & 6


23 Jan R

Photosynthesis, light, life


Week 4

28 Jan T

Sexual Reproduction and Heredity



30 Jan R

Heredity and Gene Expression


Week 5

4 Feb T

Plant Biotechnology, Genomics



6 Feb R

The Process of Evolution


Week 6

11 Feb T

Systematics and Biodiversity



13 Feb R

Prokaryotes and Viruses


Week 7

18 Feb T




20 Feb R

Protists: Algae and others


Week 8

25 Feb T




27 Feb R

Seedless Vascular Plants


Week 9

4 Mar T




6 Mar R



Week 10

11 Mar T




13 Mar R



Week 11

18 Mar T

Evolution of Angiosperms



20 Mar R

Plants and People


Week 12

25 Mar T

Plant Structure and Development



27 Mar R

Cells and Tissues


Week 13

1 Apr T




3 Apr R



Week 14

8 Apr T

Secondary Growth



10 Apr R

Review – Growing – Private Life of Plants

27 & 28

Week 15

15 Apr T

Review – Travelling – Private Life of Plants

 29 & 30


17 Apr R

Review – Flowering – Private Life of Plants

 31 & 32

Week 16

22 Apr R

Final Exam 12-2 pm (Cumulative)