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Ethnobotany Segue to Physics

for segue forms (.pdf) see attachment section below


  • Demonstrate some of the basic aspects of physics particularly as they relate to studies of traditional societies.
  • Illustrate broad applications of physics
  • Develop avenues for students to continue to learn about physics that lead directly out of the segue experience.
    • Learning Structure

      • Class-room/Laboratory discussion groups (students will have already watched assigned video presentations)
        • Students will complete a short 10 minute laboratory experiment measuring the relative strengths of natural fibers made in a previous lab. The purpose of this experiment is to demonstrate how physics can be applied to test different types of fibers that many cultures utilize to construct canoes, houses, weapons, and various other things.
      • Community observations
        • Following the above in-class work, students will be asked to think of examples of renewable plant alternatives that can be used in place of oil.  Students are encouraged to consider community dependencies on oil and discuss this topic with relevant individuals in the community.
      • Web-based delivery of information to students:
        • Provide a brief overview of some of the most interesting areas of physics.
        • Direct students to practitioners of physics within the University and in the community at-large.
        • Show students specific courses or other educational opportunities that can be used to further explore interests in physics.

      Learning Outcomes

          (1 = Most Desired Outcome, 3 = A Desirable Outcome, 5 = Least Desired Outcome)

      1. Students seek more information about studies in physics, register to take a course in physics, and become a degree seeking major in physics.
      2. Students seek more information about studies in physics and register to take a course in physics as part of an effort to broaden their education.
      3. Students develop a sufficient (but minimal) understanding of physics to be able to make decisions about their own career (and inclusion or not of this science). These students are probably better citizens/voters.
      4. Students do not learn anything about physics.
      5. Students develop a negative perspective about physics because of the information received through this project.

      Ethnobotany Segue

      • Two ethnobotany activities are conducted together bridging this segue with a segue to botany.
      • During the class session, students will measure the relative strengths of three different kinds of fibers (coconut husk, hibuscus/hau bark, and wauke bark).  Class discussion will address different cultural uses of these fibers.
      • As a follow-up to the physics lab, students are asked to think about renewable plant alternatives that can be used in place of oil.

      Other Science Components

      • Physics is the branch of science concerned with discovering and characterizing universal laws that govern such things as matter, energy, space, and time. Discoveries in physics resonate throughout the natural sciences, and physics has been described as the "fundamental science" because other fields such as chemistry and biology investigate systems whose properties depend on the laws of physics.[1]
      • Theories about quantum mechanics, mathematical physics (sub-atomic particles, applications in MRI, electron microscopy, lasers, etc.)
      • History of Physics through early civilizations to modern-day society.
      • Traditional origins of modern physics practice.

      Other Science Practitioners

      • Students interested in studying physics may want to contact Michael Nassir,, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Watanabe Hall rm. 312, (808) 956-2952.
      • Other people with backgrounds in physics may include:
        • Audiologists
        • Architects
        • Automobile designers
        • Computer scientists
        • Engineers
        • Financial consultants
        • Geoscientists
        • Mathematicians
        • Radiology technicians

      Other Science Courses

      • Students interested in learning more about physics may want to take a survey level course like Physics 100 Survey of Physics or Physics 122 Introduction to Science.
      • Biological science majors, and/or pre-professional students, should take the introductory Physics 151 College Physics. This course requires at least a background in trigonometry.
      • Alternatively, physical science and engineering majors should take Physics 170 General Physics.  This course is slightly more rigorous as it requires a background in calculus.
      • All these courses have corresponding laboratory courses, however the lab credit may or may not be required for your degree.


      Funded by National Science Foundation Grant Award Number DUE06-18690

      Dave Reedy,
      Aug 7, 2008, 1:18 PM
      Dave Reedy,
      Aug 7, 2008, 1:18 PM
      Dave Reedy,
      Aug 7, 2008, 1:18 PM