Astronomy Education Workshop #8

Saturday, October 15, 2005, 9:00am - 3:00 pm

Avery 19, UNL City Campus

with Michelle Thaller (CalTech) & Timothy Slater (University of Arizona)

These workshops are targeted for college instructors of 100-level astronomy classes and high school instructors who presently teach astronomy or may be interested in developing an astronomy course. They have three goals: 1) to acquaint educators with the new innovative usages of instructional technology in astronomy education, 2) to introduce new developments in the UNL Department of Physics and Astronomy, and 3) to bring together members of the astronomy and physics teaching community to share ideas and identify potential collaborators.

Attendees should park in the Stadium Drive Parking Garage (free on week-ends) which is immediately southwest of the stadium. You are then about 2 blocks from Avery Hall which is immediately southeast of the stadium. Both Avery Hall and the Stadium Drive Parking Garage can be found on the following set of campus maps which allow one to magnify a region by clicking on it.

Workshop Agenda

8:45 Registration, Donuts, Coffee, and Socializing
9:00 Welcome - Ron Roeber, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
9:10 Science Talk: "Exploring the Infrared Universe " - Michelle Thaller

Abstract: Dr. Thaller will begin by demonstrating an infrared camera and show how the same principles are at work in the Spitzer Space Telescope. She will then describe some of the many areas of astronomy where Spitzer has made substantial new discoveries..

10:00 Demonstration: "Bringing Infrared Light into the Classroom” - Michelle Thaller & Tim Slater
11:00 Exploration: "Using Ranking Tasks in Introductory Astronomy ” - Tim Slater & Kevin Lee
12:00 Lunch - Selleck Private Dining Hall (Vegetarian and Vegan Entries provided at every meal)
1:00 Computer Lab: NAAP Materials - Ed Schmidt (UNL), Adam Davis (UNL), Chris Siedell (UNL), & Dave Kriegler (UNO)

The Nebraska Astronomy Applet Project consists of high quality astrophysics simulations surrounded by a variety of supporting teaching materials. This computer lab focused on a new ClassAction lab on Blackbody Curves and UBV filters.

2:30 Classroom Demonstration: ClassAction Materials - Todd Young (WSC), & Kevin Lee (UNL)

The ClassAction Project is creating a computer database of conceptual questions for use in collaborative student discussion and interactive voting in the introductory astronomy classroom. The databases are programmed in FLASH and are designed to be projected to a class using a computer video projection system. Separate FLASH modules are being created for each major topic area in astronomy and instructors may conveniently select from a variety of questions in each module. The questions are carefully designed to focus on tenacious student misconceptions. Most question prompts include animations, diagrams, and images that students must interpret when answering. The questions are also dynamic in that instructors have the capability to easily recast them into alternate forms based on their own preferences and feedback from the class. Considerable resources are available to the instructor to provide feedback in the form of outlines of information, images, and animations. This workshop will discuss the benefits of using interactive engagement techniques and give attendees an opportunity to work with ClassAction in the computer lab.

2:55 Wrap-up and door prize raffle (must be present to win!)

We will have some concluding comments and then raffle off a lot of really good astronomy related stuff. Most of it really is pretty good. Or at least some of it is good. OK, OK none of it is really all that good! But you're missing the point --- here is a chance to win some free stuff!

This event is open to local high school and college astronomy and physics instructors and undergraduates interested in pursuing careers in science education who register in advance. (If high school instructors wish to bring a student who is interested in pursuing a career in science education that is acceptable, but we ask that you carefully scrutinize whether they would benefit from the workshop.) You may register by email or by phone at 402-472-3686. There is no cost for the workshop, lunch is provided, and reimbursement will be made for travel costs up to $50. All registered attendees will receive copies of all instructional materials including Lecture Tutorials in Astronomy, Ranking Tasks in Physics, the ClassAction CD, and a CD of all of the images from Dr. Shawl’s presentation.

This workshop is sponsored by the UNL Center for Science, Mathematics, and Computer Education and the UNL Department of Physics and Astronomy. Educational materials have been provided by Prentice Hall Publishing.

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