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Cosmos in the Classroom 2010: A Hands-on Symposium on Teaching Introductory Astronomy

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Cosmos in the Classroom 2010:
A Hands-on Symposium on Teaching Introductory Astronomy

Papers and Handouts from a National Meeting
Held August 1 - 4, 2010
at the University of Colorado, Boulder

Edited by Andrew Fraknoi

Sponsored by:
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Fiske Planetarium, University of Colorado
Co-sponsored by the American Astronomical Society


Introduction -- Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College & ASP) [2p]
Organizing Committees and Supporting Organizations [1p]
Table of Contents [5p]

A. Astronomy Education Research

  1. Using Concept Inventories to Gauge Student Understanding in Astronomy -- Janelle Bailey (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) and John Keller (Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo) [4p]
  2. A Novice Instructor's Perspective On Learner-Centered Teaching Techniques -- Katherine Brutlag Follette (Pima Community College) [2p]
  3. Student Feedback on Learner-Centered Astronomy Education -- Patrick Durrell, John Feldmeier & Deidra Nuss (Youngstown State University) [2p]
  4. Development of the Solar System Concept Inventory -- Seth Hornstein (University of Colorado at Boulder), Ed Prather (Center for Astronomy Education, Univ. of Arizona), Thomas English (Guilford Technical Community College), Steve Desch (Guilford Technical Community College), & John Keller (California Polytechnic State University) [2p]
  5. What They've Always Wondered: Questions Students Ask On The First Day of "Astro 101" -- Kristen Larson (Western Washington University) [2p]
  6. Astronomy Education Research: What Questions do we Need to Answer in the Coming Decade (A Discussion) -- Edward Prather (University of Arizona), moderator; Dave Bruning (University of Wisconsin-Parkside), scribe [2p]
  7. Measuring Understanding of Inquiry in Introductory Astronomy Laboratories -- Kendra Sibbernsen (Metropolitan Community College) [2p]
  8. A Multi-Institutional Collaborative for Astronomy Education Research -- Timothy Slater and Stephanie Slater (University of Wyoming) [6p]
  9. Challenges and Strategies of Lunar Phases in Introductory Astronomy: The Use of "Mental Model Building" Methodology and Scaffolding Tools in Teaching Lunar Phases -- Mary Urquhart (University of Texas, Dallas) & Manuel Mon and Angela Osterman Meyer (Florida Gulf Coast University)  [13p]
  10. Understanding and Improving Students' Knowledge of Cosmology: The Latest Results -- Colin Wallace (University of Colorado), Edward Prather (University of Arizona), and Doug Duncan (University of Colorado at Boulder) [2p]

B. Teaching Techniques

  1. "Extreme" Inquiry-Based Learning: Engaging Non-Science Students with the WOW Factor and Science Portfolios -- David Baker (Austin College) [2p]
  2. Teaching Your First Astro 101 Course -- David Bruning (University of Wisconsin-Parkside) [3p]
  3. Handouts for "Teaching Your First Astro 101 Course" -- David Bruning [19p]
  4. Meeting the Needs and Expectations of Millennial Generation Astronomy Students -- Erik Christensen (South Florida Community College) [2p]
  5. The "What If" Workshop -- Neil Comins (University of Maine) [3 p]
  6. Tips for Successful "Clicker" Use -- Douglas Duncan (University of Colorado) [2p]
  7. Seven Concepts for Effective Teaching -- Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College) [3p]
  8. Engaging Students with ClassAction -- Rica French (MiraCosta College) and Kevin Lee (University of Nebraska) [2p]
  9. How Can We Lead Our Non-Science Students To Think Critically and Creatively? -- George Greenstein (Amherst College) [3p]
  10. Innovative Strategies for Empowering Your Students to Become Active, Responsible Learners -- Beth Hufnagel (Anne Arundel Community College) [4p]
  11. Engaging Students with Simulations in the Classroom -- Kevin Lee (University of Nebraska) and Rica French (MiraCosta College) [3p]
  12. Current Events Quiz at Start of Introductory Laboratory Promotes Student Promptness and Awareness -- Patrick M. Len (Cuesta College) [2p]
  13. Using Kinesthetic Learning Techniques with College Students to Improve Understanding of Spatially Rich Topics Such as Seasons and Milankovi? Cycles -- Cherilynn Morrow (Georgia State University) and Michael Zawaski (Front Range Community College) [6p]
  14. Colorado Learning Assistant Model: Program Overview -- Valerie Otero (University of Colorado), et al. [6p]
  15. Learning by Teaching: Implementation of a Multimedia Project in ASTRO 101 -- Delphine Perrodin and Andrea Lommen (Franklin & Marshall College) [2p]
  16. Engaging Students with Lecture-Tutorials: Collaborative Learning Activities to Increase Understanding Beyond Lecture -- Edward Prather and Gina Brissenden (University of Arizona) [2p]
  17. Example Questions for Think-Pair-Share -- Edward Prather and Gina Brissenden (University of Arizona) [2p]
  18. Astronomy Ranking Tasks -- Edward Prather (University of Arizona) and David Hudgins (Rockhurst University) [6p]
  19. Lecture Tutorials for Introductory Astronomy: Samples from the Second Edition -- Edward Prather (University of Arizona), Timothy Slater (University of Wyoming), Jeffrey Adams (Montana State University), and Gina Brissenden (University of Arizona) [12p]
  20. An Introduction to Backwards Faded Scaffolding in the ASTRO 101 Laboratory Course -- Stephanie J. Slater, Timothy F. Slater, Daniel J. Lyons (University of Wyoming), Kendra Sibbernsen (Metropolitan Community College), and Paul Robinson (Westchester Community College) [6p]
  21. Tricks of the Trade: Effective Classroom Management (A Community Discussion) -- Timothy Slater (University of Wyoming), moderator; David Bruning (University of Wisconsin, Parkside), scribe [4p]
  22. Solar System Lecture Tutorials for Introductory Astronomy -- Jessica Smay (San Jose City College) and Karen Kortz (Community College of Rhode Island) [2p]
  23. Engaging Students with Cosmology Lecture-Tutorials: Report on a Workshop -- Colin Wallace (University of Colorado) and Edward Prather (University of Arizona) [2p]
  24. Hubble's Law: Draft Lecture-Tutorial Hand-out -- Colin Wallace [7p]
  25. Making Sense of the Universe and Expansion: Draft Lecture-Tutorial Hand-out -- Colin Wallace [4p]
  26. Stealth Physics 101: How to Teach Students Important Bits of Physics Under the Guise of Teaching them Astronomy -- Gareth Wynn-Williams (University of Hawaii) [2p]

C. Laboratory Exercises, Demonstrations, and Observing Activities

  1. A CCD Spectrometer for One Dollar -- John Beaver and Dominique Robert (University of Wisconsin - Fox Valley) [2p]
  2. Demonstrations for Astronomy Classes -- Matt Bobrowsky (University of Maryland) [2p]
  3. Enhancing Astro 101: A Course in Telescope Construction -- Harold Hastings, Rituleen Dhingra, Matthew Lazzaretti and Owen O'Neil (Hofstra University) [2p]
  4. Getting the Most Out of Your Observatory-Based Astro 101 Laboratory -- Beth Hufnagel (Anne Arundel Community College) & Suzanne Metlay (Front Range Community College) [2p]
  5. Adapting the RBSEU Nova Search Project for Use in Intro Astronomy at Truckee Meadows Community College -- Daniel Loranz (Truckee Meadows Community College) [2p]
  6. Using Time Zones and Celestial Navigation to Teach the Phases of the Moon -- Aileen O'Donoghue (St. Lawrence University) [2p]
  7. Digital Resources for Communicating Astronomy -- Christi Whitworth, Michael Castelaz, and Thurburn Barker (Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute) [1p]

D. On-line Teaching and Tools

  1. Characterizing Online Homework/Tutorial Systems for Introductory Astronomy -- Pauline Barmby (University of Western Ontario) [2p]
  2. Mastering Astronomy: On-line Homework to Build Student Understanding -- Jeffrey Bennett (www.jeffreybennett.com) [6p]
  3. The Best Online Tools and Practices for Teaching Astronomy: Report of a Discussion Group -- Scott Hildreth (Chabot College) [4p]
  4. Bringing the Cosmos Down to Earth: Assessing Student Learning in a Non-major Online Astronomy Course -- Kristine Larsen (Central Connecticut State University) [2p]
  5. Simulations for Learning Astronomical Phenomena -- Richard McCray (University of Colorado) [5p]

E. Interdisciplinary Approaches

  1. A New Course in Cultural Astronomy -- David Bruning (University of Wisconsin-Parkside) [2p]
  2. Cosmic Philately: Using Stamps in the Astronomy Classroom -- Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College & Astronomical Society of the Pacific) [2p]
  3. "In the Beginning": Using Creation Myths in the Astronomy Classroom -- Kristine Larsen (Central Connecticut State University) [3p]
  4. Uncovering the Stories Behind the Science: Infusing Astro 101 with the History of Modern Cosmology -- James Lochner (USRA & NASA/GSFC) and Barbara Mattson (ADNET & NASA/GSFC) [2p]
  5. Astronomy as the Core Element for Interdisciplinary Courses -- Harry Shipman (University of Delaware) [3p]
  6. Astronomy as a Vital Link in Interdisciplinary Science Education -- Raphael Steinitz (Ben Gurion University, Israel) [2p]

See also some of the Resource Guides in Section G

F. Debunking Pseudoscience

  1. Teaching the Nature of Science using Pseudoscience: A Semester-long Curriculum to Accompany any Introductory Science Course -- Douglas Duncan (University of Colorado) [5p]
  2. Resources for Understanding and Debunking the 2012 Apocalypse Hoax -- Kristine Larsen (Central Connecticut State University) [1p]
  3. The Doomsday 2012 Hoax -- by David Morrison (NASA Ames Research Center) [2p]
  4. Doomsday 2012, the Planet Nibiru, and Cosmophobia -- David Morrison (NASA Ames & SETI Institute) (reprinted from the ASP's Astronomy Beat column) [6p]

G. Resources and Resource Guides

  1. Key Articles on Astronomy 101 Teaching in Astronomy Education Review -- Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College) [2p]
  2. Astronomy of Many Cultures: A Resource Guide -- Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College) [6p]
  3. Connecting Astronomy with Other Fields: A Resource Guide -- Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College & ASP) [12p]
  4. Old Ideas, New Technologies -- Harnessing the Power of Web 2.0 Resources for the Weary Instructor -- Patrick Len (Cuesta College) [4p]
  5. Discoveries in Planetary Science: PowerPoint Slide Sets for Astro 101 Instructors -- Nick Schneider (University of Colorado) & David Brain (University of California, Berkeley) [1p]

H. Other Educational Topics

  1. Making Cosmic Connections in the Nature of Science -- Dixie Androes (Northwest Arkansas Community College) [2p]
  2. The Origins of the Drake Equation -- Frank Drake and Dava Sobel (reprinted from the ASP's Astronomy Beat column) [4p]
  3. The CAE/CATS Guest Moderator Program: Fostering Better Astronomy Education Through Professional Discussions -- John Feldmeier (Youngstown State University), Gina Brissenden (University of Arizona), Paul Robinson (Westchester Community College), and Jeffrey Sudol (West Chester University of Pennsylvania) [2p]
  4. The Challenge of Student Learning Outcomes: A Discussion -- Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College), moderator; Leilani Arthurs (Georgia Southern University) and Dora Preminger (California State University, Northridge), scribes [4p]
  5. Engaging Astro 101 Students Through Service-learning and Community Engagement (A Special Interest Group Discussion) -- Kristine Larsen (Central Connecticut State University), Moderator [3p]
  6. Teaching a General Education Astronomy Class in a Non-traditional Setting: Not Your Traditional Astronomy 101 Class -- Larry Lebofsky (University of Arizona) [2p]
  7. Global Warming: Background Information for Astronomy Instructors -- David Morrison (NASA Ames Research Center) [3p]
  8. Concept Mapping in Astro 101 -- Peter Newbury (University of British Columbia) [6p]
  9. Developing a Celestial Sphere Display for Lecture Tutorials for Introductory Astronomy -- Deidra Nuss and John Feldmeier (Youngstown State University) [7p]
  10. Creating a Podcast/Vodcast: A How-To Approach -- Carolyn Collins Petersen (Loch Ness Productions) [5p]
  11. Using Gamma-Ray Burst Research in an Online Introductory Astronomy Course -- Robert Philbin (Trinidad State Junior College) [2p]
  12. Teaching Climate Change -- Aileen O'Donoghue (St. Lawrence University) [2p]
  13. Lunar Phases Planisphere -- Stephen Shawl (University of Kansas) [2p]
  14. Measuring the Mass of the Galactic Center Black Hole using a Ruler, Ratio Tables, and Andrea Ghez's Data -- Harry Shipman (University of Delaware) [2p]
  15. Dark Energy and Dark Matter in the Astronomy Classroom: Strategies and Approaches -- Mary. Urquhart and Mustapha Ishak-Boushaki (University of Texas at Dallas) [2p]
  16. Developing the STEM Professionals of Tomorrow Within a Profoundly Underserved New Mexico Population -- Nicole Vogt, Amy Smith Muise, Stephen Cook & Erica Voges (New Mexico State University) [2p]
  17. What to Leave Out of Astronomy 101: A Discussion -- Gareth Wynn-Williams (University of Hawaii), moderator; Jesse Wayne Lord (University of Colorado), scribe [2p]

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific's Programs for Astronomy Instructors [1p]

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