Trajectories in Animation, Mathematics, and Physics is a full-time, 2-quarter program combining animation, physics, and writing, with specialized study in drawing or calculus. Students will explore the ways in which artists and scientists investigate and represent change (we use “change” broadly to include, but not limited to, physical change, artistic change, social change, or personal change).

Our work will help students learn:

  • about the mathematical models that help describe and explain motion in the natural world;
  • about how to combine observation, reason, and imagination to produce such models;
  • to explore the creative uses that can be made of them; and
  • to consider new meanings that result.

Along the way, we hope to highlight similarities and differences between how artists and scientists make sense of, and intervene in, the world.

Program Faculty

Program Support

  • Shane Peterson – Science Instructional Technician
  • Jackie Argueta – Program Aide
  • Rachel Cermak – Math & Physics Teaching Assistant
  • Andy Berger – QuaSR Tutor
  • Marcia Zitzelman and Tamara Piñero – Program Secretaries

Required Texts All students are required to have:

  • Furniss, The Animation Bible, ISBN: 978-0810995451
  • Knight, Jones, and Field, College Physics: A Strategic Approach Technology Update, Volume 1 (2nd edition), with MasteringPhysics and Student Workbook, ISBN: 978-0321841537.

Students in the calculus track are also required to have:

  • Stewart, Calculus Concepts and Contexts, (4th edition), ISBN: 978-0495557425.

You must have access to your own copy of these texts, as full participation in class activities require your own copy to work from.

Program Learning Goals

Through your work in the program, you will make progress towards meeting many of the “Expectations of an Evergreen Graduate”, including how to:

  • articulate and assume responsibility for your own work;
  • participate collaboratively and responsibly in our diverse society;
  • communicate creatively and effectively;
  • demonstrate integrative, independent, critical thinking;
  • apply qualitative, quantitative and creative modes of inquiry appropriately to practical and theoretical problems across disciplines; and
  • demonstrate breadth and synthesis of learning and the ability to reflect on the personal and social significance of that learning.

Program Activities

All students will participate in lectures, seminars, physics workshops, animation workshops, and the weekly wrap-up. Depending on your specialty track, you will participate in additional sessions for calculus or drawing.

Lectures: Lecture discussions will assume that you have read and struggled with the material before coming to lecture. In our interactive lectures, we will provide context for the readings, screenings, and other program content, work through conceptual difficulties, make connections between our various areas, and gather questions. We will make use of active learning methods including in-class discussion and writing, small-group work, and peer instruction.

Physics lectures have an associated Reading Quiz to be completed before the lecture, described under Reading Assignments. Animation lectures & screenings have an associated Screening Journal, described in detail under Writing Assignments.

Seminars: Seminars will be dedicated to collaborative learning through close reading and discussion of the texts, and will serve to support exploration and integration of program themes. Our goal is not so much to reach consensus about the meaning of the works we study but to develop the tools to engage in critical, respectful conversations about the material, learning from each other as well as from the texts themselves.

Seminars have an associated Seminar Ticket, and will support reflective work associated with the Academic Statement and Self-Evaluation, and provide raw material for Integrative Essays (see Writing Assignments for details)

Physics Workshop: Physics Workshop consists of a Lab component and a Problem Session component. You will work in rotating teams in Physics Workshop, modeling the collaborative process of contemporary science.

  • Lab activities will give you further exposure to concepts and phenomena discussed in lecture and engage you in sustained analysis in a supportive environment. Lab will give you hands-on experience and transferrable skills with equipment and computers. In lab, you will consistently connect theory to practice, developing your conceptual understanding, problem-solving ability, and mathematical and scientific reasoning and process skills.
  • There will be a set of homework problems assigned for each Problem Session. You should attempt all problems before workshop and complete as many as you can on your own, and bring both complete and incomplete attempts to Problem-Session. During Problem-Session, you will work to understand and explain problems that posed particular challenges to any group member, with the goal of improving both your private internal understanding and your public external communication of that understanding. A sub-set of the homework problems you work on during Problem Session will be submitted through the on-line MasteringPhysics system (see Physics Homework for details).

Animation Workshop: Students will be assigned to one of two Animation Workshops (either Thursday morning or Thursday afternoon).  In the workshop, you will practice essential animation principles in the context of in-class exercises and in response to ideas discussed in lectures, screenings and readings.  In fall our focus is on 2d analog animation (sequences of drawings and under-the-camera work such as moving cut-outs), and using it to represent physics concepts and analyze the physics of different genres of animated film.  Three animation assignments will give you the opportunity to explore how you might adapt these animation skills to your own creative or scientific purposes.  In Week 8, visiting artist Devon Damonte will lead a direct animation workshop that will give you the opportunity to further explore issues in animation timing, use of materials and scale.

Weekly Wrap: The Weekly Wrap provides an opportunity to reflect on and synthesize the work of the week (and prior). This session will typically have some combination of discussion and writing.

Calculus: Students in the calculus track will have Lectures and Problem Sessions every week.

Drawing: Students in the drawing track will engage in a series of skill building exercises in class that involve observational and experimental drawing techniques.

Special Events: In fall quarter, there are two special events. On Friday evening of week 3, we will visit Wild Waves Theme Park. In week 8 (just before Thanksgiving break), we will attend the Olympia premiere of animator Chris Sullivan’s Consuming Spirits and have the opportunity to meet with the artist.

Assignments Overview

Reading Assignments: Each week, you will have multiple Reading Assignments associated with lectures, seminars, and workshops. These Reading Assignments must be completed as best you can before the relevant session. We recommend that you complete the Reading Assignments over the weekend and read them again before the relevant sessions. Details of Reading Assignments are provided at the Calendar links at the program web-site. Associated with these Reading Assignments are Reading Quizzes and Seminar Tickets (see below for more details).

Physics Assignments: In addition to the reading, there are two types of assignments associated with physics: Reading Quizzes and Physics Homework.

  • Reading Quizzes: For each physics reading assignment, you will have a Reading Quiz that is due 6 pm Sunday (the evening before the reading is discussed in physics lecture). You will complete these Reading Quizzes on-line through MasteringPhysics (if you don’t have access internet access on Sunday, we some alternatives; please come speak with us). The Reading Quiz has two main goals: to help you keep up with the physics reading, orienting you to the material for the upcoming week, and to give your instructor feedback on how best to use our class time, based on what you have difficulty with. You are welcome to use your book and other resources to complete the Reading Quiz, but should take it individually. The Reading Quiz is designed to be short (approximately 15 minutes); if you find you are regularly taking more than 30 minutes, please communicate with your instructor and discuss with your classmates, teaching assistant, and tutor for strategies for making sense of your physics text.
  • Physics Homework: Problems will be assigned in connection with each physics lecture topic. You should attempt to complete these physics problems before coming to Wednesday’s Physics Workshop. During Problem Session, you will work collaboratively with other students to understand and explain problems that posed particular challenges. A sub-set of the assigned homework problems will be submitted on-line using MasteringPhysics by 6:00 pm on Saturdays. You are encouraged to collaborate, both during Problem Session and in group study sessions, but submission of assignments via MasteringPhysics should be completed individually.

Physics Exams: In fall, there will be an in-class mid-term exam in week 5, and an in-class cumulative final exam in week 10. There will also be two exams in winter. These exams offer you an opportunity to demonstrate what you have learned in physics from reading, lectures, labs, homework, and other program activities.

Animation Assignments:  Three animation assignments will give you the opportunity to explore how you might adapt the animation skills you’re learning to your own creative or scientific purposes. The first will be assigned week 1 and due week 3; this is a simple exercise designed to familiarize and get you proficient in shooting in the 2d Animation Labs. The second assignment will ask you to represent a concept from our work in Kinematics in a short drawn or cut-out sequence. That will be assigned week 3 and due week 5. For the final animation assignment for fall quarter you will be given a choice of several specific short sequences of animation and asked to analyze the rules of physics that its creator has followed in animating it. The second part of that assignment is to design and execute a short sequence of animation that follows those rules. This assignment will be given week 5 and due week 10.

Writing Assignments: The main writing assignments for the program include: a Screening Journal; Seminar Tickets; Integrative Essays; Academic Statement Development; and Self-Evaluation.

You will also be asked to write as part of various math, physics and animation assignments.

  • Screening Journal: In your sketchbook, record the title, director, year and context of each moving image work screened in class or as part of assigned outside viewing. Summarize the context of a film or video from introductory comments made in class about the conditions of its making, its place in history and the reasons we are viewing it in this program. After the screening of each work you will have several minutes to write a paragraph about it: how it makes you feel, ideas you get from it and elements that bring other experiences, artwork, learning or program concepts to mind. If comments or questions that arise in class discussions strike you as insightful, you should note those as well. Avoid “reviewing” the work by judging whether it’s “good” or “bad”. Instead, focus on what meaning and insights you get from it, and the connections you can make between it and other program activities and materials.
    • Students in the Drawing Track must supplement these entries with visual notes or sketches of characters, design motifs, shot sequences or screen choreography (paths of action) from the works.
    • In week 8 you will be asked to transcribe your notes and paragraphs about specific works from your Screening Journal into a document that you will turn in the Monday after Thanksgiving break (Monday of Week 9).  Format: double spaced, 10 point type and stapled with your name in the header.
    • The entire Screening Journal is due with your portfolio at the end of fall quarter.
  • Seminar and the Seminar Ticket: Seminar provides a context for collaborative learning through discussing texts related to program themes. The Seminar Ticket is a reading and writing assignment necessary for your participation in seminar. Your active preparation for and engagement in seminar discussions contributes the most to developing your own ideas and understanding of the intersections between animation, mathematics and physics.
    • Steps to prepare for seminar:
      1. Print out the readings. Actively read them and view any suggested media clips. This means underlining and taking notes on points that are significant and writing down questions about concepts you don’t understand. Look up definitions of unfamiliar terms. Summarize each text as you read it and note page numbers for succinct quotes or main ideas (or write the quote/idea down in your notes) so that you can share with the class.
      2. Write a paragraph summarizing 2-3 main points of each assigned text.
      3. For every seminar, write a paragraph responding to the question, “How do these authors’ ideas contribute to your understanding of representing change (with change understood broadly to include, but not limited to, physical change, artistic change, social change, or personal change)?”
      4. For some seminars, you will also be given prompts specific to that seminar’s readings. Write a paragraph in response to each of these specific prompts.
      5. Pose two questions that arise for you from the readings that will generate further discussion in seminar. (These would be questions that cannot be easily answered with a yes or no or simple explanation).
    • Bring two copies of your responses to 2), 3), 4), and 5), one to keep and one to give to faculty at the beginning of seminar, double spaced, 10 point type and stapled with your name in the header.
    • Admittance to seminar (and consequently, credit for your attendance) is dependent on this written preparation.
  • Integrative Essays: (Two one essay, each 4-6 pages long, 10 point type. Essay 1 peer-reviewed in seminar in week 6, due to faculty by 9 am Tuesday week 7. Essay 2 peer-reviewed in seminar in week 9, due to faculty by 9 am Tuesday week 10.
    The new due date is Week 7, Tuesday November 6.)

    • In writing essays, the goal is to learn to think on paper – to assess ideas through writing. Writing is a way of thinking. These essays are opportunities for you to think through program themes and integrate them into your understanding. For each one, develop a thesis or idea and compose arguments that are supported by references to the readings, lectures, screenings and any ideas you’ve gotten from hands-on work through the end of the week that the paper is due. Merely summarizing the material is insufficient. Engage with the ideas; use your writing to develop them further.
    • When you have completed your essay, write a brief author’s note at the beginning that solicits feedback from your reader. What did you succeed at? What did you struggle with? What about the essay leaves you unsatisfied?
    • An essential, required part of this assignment is to work through a draft and revision process in the scheduled peer review session. You will bring 5 copies of the essay, double spaced, 10 point type and stapled with your name in the header, to a peer review session. During the review, take notes on the comments you receive about your work.
    • When you revise the essay, make sure to consider everyone’s oral and written comments as you work, even if you do not follow all of these suggestions. Your revised copy must include an author’s note that summarizes what you worked on, as well as brackets or highlights that shows what you changed in the revised version. Turn in one copy of the revised version, with all copies from the faculty and/or workshop participants attached. You might be asked to make additional revisions. After faculty have reviewed your essays you should keep all copies and revisions to submit with your portfolio at the end of the quarter.
  • Academic Statement Development: During the quarter, you will participate in several workshops designed to develop first drafts of your Academic Statement. This piece of writing is for you to document the paths you take in pursuing your education. You will have the opportunity to revise it each year that you are at Evergreen based on your new learning and new directions you’ve chosen. The Academic Statement will eventually become an introduction to your official transcript from Evergreen.
  • Self-Evaluation: Each student is required to write and submit to faculty an evaluation of their own work and achievements in the program. If you stay in the program for the full two quarters, you will write a draft of your evaluation for fall and a final, more polished piece of writing to submit in winter. Each quarter we will have short evaluation writing workshops to help you through this process. Evaluations should be written on the form on, and printed out for submission to faculty.

Calculus: Students in calculus will have weekly Homework Assignments and take Calculus Exams.

  • Homework Assignments: Problems will be assigned in connection with each calculus section. You should attempt to complete these physics calculus problems before coming to Thursday’s calculus Problem Session. During Problem Session, you will work collaboratively with other students to understand and explain problems that posed particular challenges. A sub-set of the assigned homework problems will be written out and submitted Friday by 5 pm (for students who are unable to come to campus on Friday, we have some alternatives – please come talk to us). Our math grader will evaluate for completeness as well providing feedback on some problems. You are encouraged to collaborate, both during Problem Session and in group study sessions, but submission of assignments for grading should be completed individually.
  • Calculus Exams: In fall quarter, there will be calculus exams in weeks 4, 7, 5 and 10. Each exam will cover material from calculus and associated physics concepts. The work is naturally cumulative, so the exams will be as well, though each exam will emphasize material since the previous exam. There will also be exams in winter quarter. These exams offer you an opportunity to demonstrate what you have learned in calculus and physics from reading, lectures, labs, homework, and other program activities.

Drawing: Through weekly homework assignments students in the Drawing Track will practice and further strengthen skills introduced in class. In addition, the Screening Journal and each animation assignment given to the whole class will feature additional parameters that involve drawn elements for students in this track to follow.

Projects: Major projects in fall and winter offer an additional opportunity for integration of our subject areas. The fall project will involve applying what you’ve learned in physics to the analysis of animation (see animation assignment # 3). In the winter project, you will choose some mathematical or physical law or phenomenon and creatively interpret it through animation, with the intention of teaching that math or physics concept to your audience.

Portfolio: Throughout the program, you will assemble a portfolio of your work consisting of all the above assignments as well as any notes or other material that reflects your work. The portfolio will be submitted during week 10 of each quarter and will inform faculty evaluations. It will also provide a lasting record and resource for your own future reference.