Tag «introductory astronomy»

Almanacs in Astronomy Classes

In memory of my maternal grandmother Dorothy Marie Blalock Clark (1912-1997) TL;DR: Ubiquitous farmers’ almanacs are an inexpensive printed source of accurate astronomical information despite being mostly advertising vehicles. This information can be used in the classroom to generate questions and learning about not only astronomy, but also history, mathematics, and computation.¬† Thanks to my …

Musical Thoughts On Teaching Physics

TL;DR There are many lessons physics teachers can learn from music teachers about teaching one’s discipline. Many, and perhaps most (all?), concepts in music have analogs in physics and mathematics. I have a background in music, spefically percussion. Marching band was my life in high school and that carried over into my college years. I …

Learning Critical Thinking Through Astronomy, Week 16

What time is it anyway, and what does that question even mean? I want to describe a classroom activity that is the culmination of our discussion of time. I’ll start with a brief description of the background leading up to this activity and then describe the activity itself. If there is any aspect of astronomy …

Learning Critical Thinking Through Astronomy, Week 15

Because of Thanksgiving, this week was a short week, only two days (Monday and Tuesday). However, because of a bizarre institutional policy (described here) Tuesday ran on a Friday schedule. Therefore, my MW evening astronomy section only met once, the TuTh section didn’t meet at all, and the MWF section met on two consecutive days. …

Learning Critical Thinking Through Astronomy, Week 14

This is the last full week of instruction before Thanksgiving. First, a short rant. It’s unfortunate that students are racking up harmful absences. There is an institutional attendance policy, but we’re really not permitted to enforce it as written and yet it doesn’t change. This puts faculty in the dangerous¬†position of having to decide when …

Learning Critical Thinking Through Astronomy, Week 13

I’m posting this on the Monday after the week named in the title. This week is a slightly short week becuase Friday is a holiday (Veteran’s Day) so the MWF section loses two hours of classroom time. Because of concerns raised by some students and some by me, I rearranged the groups this week. Some …

Planning the Perfect Date…Astronomy Style

Relax…I promise there’s an astronomical connection here! Every semester just after the activity on lunar illumination (my way of saying lunar phases), I give a short lecture on eclipses and then ask the class if they would like to know how to plan the perfect date. This surprising question gets a lot of interested looks, …

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