Astronomy Education Workshop #9

Saturday, October 7, 2006, 9:00am - 3:00 pm

Avery 19, UNL City Campus

with Terry Teays (Maryland Space Grant)

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
9:10 Science Talk: "Planet Formation: A Byproduct of Star Formation" - Terry Teays

Abstract: The discovery of a large number of planetary systems orbiting other stars has sparked a whole new interest in the process of forming solar systems. I will first spend some time discussing the current insights into the process of star formation, with special emphasis on results from space missions. Then I will examine the consequences of this information, coupled with the latest information about extra-solar planets, to discuss the current state of our knowledge of how planetary systems form. Finally, I will discuss the NASA Kepler mission to search for extrasolar planets, with some comments about the dividends for stellar astronomy.

10:00 Activity: "Applying Statistics to the Hubble Deep Field Images”- Terry Teays

Abstract: We will examine an online interdisciplinary activity which uses the Hubble Deep Fields (North and South) to teach students about the basic statistical concepts of bias and the effects of sample size on obtaining accurate predictions. Essential content knowledge will be covered, along with typical student misconceptions. The participants will have the opportunity to try out the activity and to discuss how it can be used in the classroom.

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 will focus on a new NAAP module on ExtraSolarPlanet Detection.

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. This demonstation will utilize a new ClassAction module on ExtraSolar Planet Detection.

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 with Sharon Penry by e-mail at or by phone at 402-472-9312. There is no cost for the workshop, lunch and continental breakest are provided, and reimbursement will be made for travel costs up to $50.

This workshop is sponsored by the UNL Center for Science, Mathematics, and Computer Education and the UNL Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Back to the Astronomy Education Events Home Page