In Class Learning Activities: 3rd of 5 Secrets to Great ASTRO101 Evaluations

Tim Slater, University of Wyoming, Tim@CAPERteam.com

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts on innovative college astronomy teaching written with the straight forward goal –> to provide busy faculty with easy-to-implement teaching strategies that dramatically improve the student learning experience.   The firstsecond ,and third blog posts are available online.

There are tremendous benefits gained when teaching through two-way interactions with students that cannot possibly occur when trying the one-direction download approach to teach by telling.  For one, students feel valued when professors take the time to figure out who they are and what they know, and then teach them accordingly.  For another, professors are able to better rapidly adjust and modify the classroom learning environment because they can better understand when students are getting an idea and when they are not.

All of these things will improve course evaluations; however, sometimes professors simply tossing out poorly planned questions to their students can seem disorganized.  It is important not to appear disorganized because the highest course evaluation scores go to professors who appear to have highly structured learning pathways for their students to follow.  One of the best ways to demonstrate one’s commitment to providing students with well throughout, structured learning events is to use collaborative learning tasks as a regular part of class meetings.

5 Tools for Teaching #ASTRO101

Breaking the students into small, collaborative learning groups to solve a meaningful task together is one of the most successful and fully evaluated classroom teaching techniques implemented over the last Century.  Our experience is that the students will readily talk to one another and stay on task for many minutes at a time if the tasks are posed at the right conceptual level, not too easy nor too hard, and students see that struggling with the question has value in improving their ability to perform on upcoming exams.


Case Studies

A long-standing and consistently successful collaborative class activity is the case study. The use of case studies is common in medical schools and law schools, but not so common in astronomy. Case studies create meaningful conversations among students and with the professor by focusing on life-like dilemmas to be solved. Case study tasks ask audience members to synthesize several ideas or evaluate scenarios that have not been explicitly presented to them in the lecture or in available readings.

The best case studies for teaching have an initial appearance of being simplistic and ask students to work at the highest cognitive levels by challenging them to use their new knowledge to create and justify decisions, as well as evaluate scenarios. At the same time, the most effective case studies for teaching give students a rich-task to consider that has a lot of room for student creativity while simultaneously maintaining a commitment to scientific accuracy.

Topic Example Case Studies
Night Sky Your class is going to set up and staff six (6) telescopes at the local county fair next Saturday night for passersby.  What six things would your team observe and what interesting things would you say about them?
Kepler’s Laws A professor offhandedly suggested that comets don’t follow Kepler’s laws like planets do.  Select three comets and determine whether or not they follow Kepler’s Third Law to confirm or refute this claim.
Light & Telescopes Consider a proposal to build a new telescope at one of three locations: central Los Angeles, west Texas, and a rural location between Seattle and Portland.  Provide a data-based argument for which site is best and why not the others?
Earth An international airline company has asked your team to make long-term predictions about future jet fuel usage.  How much farther apart will South America and Africa be in 200 years and how will this impact jet fuel consumption?
Planetary Surfaces In order to create an anti-aging cosmetic advertising campaign, a company has contracted your team to brief them about which of the solar system’s moons has the oldest surface.
Planetary Atmospheres In support of determining how to build human-habitats on other planets, make judgments about how well electricity-producing wind turbines will perform on each of the terrestrial planets.
Astrobiology What recommendation would your team give to a new astrobiologist who is debating whether to focus her future research efforts on the Doppler-Velocity method or on the Transit method for discovering new planets.
Sun Because numerous sunspots can disrupt electronic communication systems (like walkie-talkie radios), which of the upcoming Olympic winter games most need to have backup communication systems that do not rely heavily on radio waves.
Stars Advise a jewelry company creating a new line of gemstones based on various colors of stars.  Create a table to help this company generate names that are consistent with characteristics of stars of different spectral types.
Stellar Evolution The United Nations Security Council needs a written brief from your team describing the supernova-explosion potential for the twenty stars nearest to us.
Galaxies The Ford car company is considering re-releasing a large four-door car called the GALAXY.  Propose three galaxy types for their advertising campaign and provide a rationale for ranking the galaxies from most to least desirable for this purpose.
Cosmology A recent news report says that our Milky Way galaxy is on a collision course with the Andromeda galaxy.  Your team has been hired to create an “info graphic” illustrating why people should not be concerned.

The criteria for which case studies are useful for teaching is relatively straightforward.  First, students must have the ability to understand the scenario being presented to them relatively quickly.  In other words, if students have no idea what the case is about, they won’t engage.  Second, the case needs to have an obvious problem or contradiction that needs to be solved.  If students read the case but don’t see a problem to be tackled, then they won’t engage in it either.  Finally, students have to quickly see that spending cognitive energy in understanding and solving the case is worthwhile and it will either be enjoyable or, better yet, will obviously help them understand the course material better and support them in getting a higher score on the next exam.  This is not to say that the case study cannot be complicated, far from it in fact.  Rather, the teaching case study you select must have the initial appearance of being quickly apprehendable, fruitful, and productive if you hope that your students will readily engage in the task.

What would a professor have to teach students in order to prepare them to be successful at solving a case study?  It is far more than listing facts and figures about the Universe.  In the first example listed in the previous table, students would need to know, at the very least, (i) how to determine which objects are easy to see in a telescope and interesting to discuss; (ii) which objects are visible during the observing window; (iii) how to set up a telescope and find an object; and (iv) which characteristics are interestingly worthy enough to be described and, at the same time, how to communicate these ideas effectively to the general public.  If one agrees that those are things are worth learning, then one must acknowledge that this long, juicy list is not well learned by passively listening to long lectures.  In other words, case studies not only change the way students view learning science, they also necessarily enhance how a professor goes about the business of teaching.

The reason that open-ended case studies with multiple-correct answers works so well in an introductory science survey course is that it directly confronts the widely-held but generally mistaken notion that science is boring and lacks creativity.  Again, in the example above, students have considerable flexibility and ownership in how that assignment is completed.  And, although there are many possible responses, some are certainly better answers than others.  The exciting part here is that case studies tasks with multiple-correct answers give students something to worthy debating one another about when considering the solutions provided by other student groups.  These attributes make using case studies one of the richest interactive teaching tools in the teaching toolkit.

For classroom management, three things are important to predetermine and make clear to students:  how much time students should devote to completing the task; precisely what should be produced; and if groups of students will submit a single item with a shared grade or if students should each submit their own work and if they will be graded individually.  Which you do depends on the nature of how your class is set up overall, but we suggest limiting it to 30 minutes in total: 15 minutes to “do the task” and 15 minutes to create the artifact communicating their result (short-paper, web-page, hand drawn illustration captured with a cell phone camera, PPT-slide, etc.) that demonstrates they completed the task.

Despite many good reasons to do otherwise, in this case, we further suggest that student learning groups submit a single item, and share any grade for it.  In this case, the easiest grading scheme to use is the the high-performance grading system:  score [0]-no meaningful effort; score [1]-needs significant improvement; and score [2]-essentially correct.  Briefly, the distinction between a score [1] and a score [2] is whether or not we feel like we could make a quick hand written note to correct errors or if it would be more expedient to talk to the small group in order to clear up errors.


White Boarding

If you’re worried that analyzing case studies will absorb too much class time or that you can’t keep students focused on a single task for 20 minutes, another strategy is to have students work problems or create conceptual illustrations using white dry erase boards that can easily be held by students.  Before you start to skim this description, we should warn you that many professors find these boards to be imbued with magical attributes that work better for creating student engagement than any other piece of teaching hardware you can buy.

Reminiscent of the individual chalk slates used by students in colonial-time schools, dry erase “white boards” provide a venue for students to create their own illustrations and work assigned problems in a large format that is easy for the professor to monitor.  At the same time, tasking students to write on white boards helps keep students actively engaged in the task at hand through some degree of positive peer pressure. This is because it is obvious to everyone if another student isn’t participating in the task at hand, and students generally want to be part of the crowd.

The overarching idea is for each student—or each pair of students—to have a manageable sized, erasable, white board. Then, periodically during class, students are given tasks to complete on their white boards.  While students are working, the professor can wander around giving help and applying targeted mini-lectures when needed.  When students are finished, they can share their work with nearby student groups, hold their boards overhead for the professor to see, or take a picture with their cell phone and text to the professor.

Slide1

There are a wide range of tasks students can complete on their white boards.  We’ve had the best luck with focusing on providing students with a scientific concept, and asking them to create an alternative representation of it.  For example, you might provide students with a table of solar system characteristics, then ask students to create a Venn diagram of planets with and without moons.


A small sampling of other white board teaching ideas might be:

  • Devise star hoping techniques to remember star location
  • Represent numerical tables as pie charts
  • Sketch geometry for Eratosthenes’ measurements
  • Create telescope light ray diagrams
  • Venn diagrams of objects within and beyond the solar system
  • Flow charts for stellar evolution
  • Illustrate HR diagrams of differing star cluster ages
  • Explain differences among galaxy appearances

When students share the creative-space provided white boards, there is considerable student-to-student talking going on in the classroom.  Furthermore, using white boards provide a forum for students to more actively engage in the topic at hand rather than simply listening to you drone on and on about an idea in lecture mode, while mindlessly taking notes to memorize later. Of course, it is reasonable to expect a certain amount of “off topic” talk to occur in parallel, but you can keep this to a minimum by enforcing strict time limits on how long to complete the tasks.  Moreover, you can take advantage of peer instruction by positively reinforcing student groups who are working quickly and providing detailed answers, sometimes even holding up their white boards for other students to see as a model.

As you are walking around the room, you can engage students by asking them to explain what they are doing, thereby exposing how they are thinking about an idea you are trying to teach.  You can interact with students by saying, “tell me what you are trying to show here,” “tell me what you have done so far and what you will do next,” and “why are you doing this this way?”  You can even pose the dreaded but deeply engaging question, “if someone were to draw it this incorrect way, what is wrong with what they’ve done?”  This has the further advantage of supporting those students who are reluctant to speak out in class to do so because they have a script to read from or an object to focus on, thereby helping students manage some of their public speaking fears.

Where does one get dry erase white boards?  There are many options available. One approach is to simply buy them at your local big box department store or online suppliers—a 2 ft x 2 ft one is about $20 with a nice aluminum frame.  Another is to go over to your local hardware store and get large sheets of the material used to line bathroom showers—called tiled board or melamine.  A 4 ft x 8 ft sheet costs about $10.  Most stores will cut these panels to any size and if you tell them it is for a classroom, we’ve never had them charge any cutting fee.  black socksAlthough many of our colleagues recommend using 12 in. x 12 in., I personally like 24 in. x 24 in. because several students can write on it at once.  You can keep a stack in the classroom or move them around easily which an inexpensive dolly.  And, if they wear quickly, these boards can be replaced at a very low cost.  You’ll also need a box of dry erase markers (or task students to bring their own) and a bunch of cheap black socks—available at your nearby dollar-store—to use as erasers.

Perhaps most importantly, using white boards leverages the time-tested advantages of peer-to-peer teaching through collaborative groups.  Students will not only say things to each other using different words and analogies than you use, students will draw things differently than you do.  In looking at their illustrations, you can more quickly diagnose the extent to which they understand the ideas and quickly see in their work misconceptions revealed that can be immediately addressed.  You being right there side-by-side with students to coach them to the best possible understanding puts you in the best position to receive high end of semester evaluation marks for an engaged and caring professor who wants students to achieve high marks in your class.


In-Class Learning-Tutorials (LTs)

For quite some time, reflective professors have said, “I suspect lecture isn’t the most effective teaching approach, but I’m at a loss for what I might do otherwise.”  From this perspective, a response of, “well, just stop talking so much” initially seems flippant.  As it turns out, research studies confirm that a professor who simply stops lecturing for a few moments and says to students, “take three minutes and review your notes before we continue on to the next idea” achieves higher student scores—and higher course evaluations—than those professors who provide an unstoppable fire hose downloading information.  This is true even when less material is actually “covered” during lecture because there are limits to how information students can ingest in any single class period. Given that professors often find three minutes of total classroom silence disdainful, except perhaps during exams, the Lecture-Tutorials approach to teaching astronomy was developed to carefully guide student’s thinking when professors momentarily step away from the lectern.

LT-coverDuring class classroom activities have been around for a long time.  The Lecture-Tutorials (LT) approach was initially developed in astronomy by Jeff Adams, Ed Prather, and Tim Slater with colleagues while they were together at Montana State University. The LT approach has now been replicated in similar activity books by others, including: Stephanie Slater, Lancelot Kao, Windsor Morgan, and Rebecca Oppenheimer in astronomy and planetary sciences.

At its core, the Lecture-Tutorial approach provides a series of carefully designed question sequences delivered on paper worksheets for students to answer after hearing an introductory lecture. Working in pairs, students complete the question sheets during a 5-10 minute lecture intermissions, before lecture resumes.  The question sequences use a Socratic dialogue-based teaching strategy constructed on the notion that if students are just asked the right series of questions, the students themselves will develop deeper and more nuanced understanding of the topic under study.

More pragmatically, the question sequences are reminiscent of questions a professor might ask a struggling student who came in for assistance during office hours.  The question sheets themselves are intended to be unintimidating to students, and look quite a bit like one- and two-page worksheets found commonly in K-12 classrooms.

Although some professors use them off-label and not as they are intended (e.g., as solitary homework exercises), experience shows that LTs are best used during class time alongside other students after a mini-lecture to help students better understand the power of conceptual models to explain how the Universe works.  LTs are easy to implement, inexpensive by and large, and do not require considerable ramp-up for professors to learn how to use.  They are available commercially as well as from cost-free from shared-instructional materials websites.


 

EXAMPLE OF IN-CLASS LEARNING TUTORIAL

One of the most difficult part of constructing an accurate model for planetary motions is that planets seem to wander among the stars.  During their normal (or prograde) motion, planets appear to move from west to east over many consecutive nights as seen against the background stars.  However, they occasionally (and predictably) appear to reverse direction and move east to west over consecutive nights as seen against the background stars.  This backwards motion is called retrograde motion.

Slide1

Date of Observation Azimuth
(horizontal direction)
Altitude
(vertical direction)
May 1 240 45
May 15 210 50
June 1 170 50
June 15 150 45
July 1 170 40
July 15 180 45
August 1 140 50
August 15 120 55

 

  • Given the data in the Table, plot the motion of the mystery planet on the graph provided (record dates next to each position you plot). Then, draw a smooth line (or curve), using your data points, to illustrate the path of the planet through the sky.
  • On what date was the mystery planet located farthest to the west? What was the azimuth value of the planet on this date?
  • On what date was the mystery planet located farthest to the east? What was the azimuth value of the planet on this date?
  • Describe how the mystery planet moved (east or west), as compared to the background stars, during the time between the dates identified in Questions 2 and 3.
  • During which dates does the mystery planet appear to move with normal, prograde, motion, as compared to the background stars? In what direction (east-to-west or west-to-east) does the planet appear to be moving relative to the background stars during this time?
  • During which dates does this mystery planet appear to move with backward, retrograde, motion, as compared to the background stars? In what direction (east-to-west or west-to-east) does the planet appear to be moving relative to the background stars during this time?
  • If a planet were moving with retrograde motion, how would the planet appear to move across the sky in a single night? Where would it rise?  Where would it set?
  • Suppose your instructor says that Mars is moving with retrograde motion tonight and will rise at midnight. Consider the following student statement:
  • Student: Since Mars is moving with retrograde motion that means that during the night it will be moving west-to-east rather than east-to-west.  So at midnight it will rise in the west and move across the sky and then later set in the east. Do you agree or disagree with this student?  Why?

 


A characteristic of these worksheets is to ask students to evaluate student statements or even comparing contradictory statements.  This approach works well when novice students have not yet mastered the scientific vocabulary needed to describe natural phenomena. For example, one student might be portrayed as saying to another student, “the Moon has not water because it has no gravity” who then responds by saying, “The Moon does have gravity, like any other planet, and the Moon’s water is frozen as un-melted ice in deep craters that never are exposed to sunlight.”   Students are then asked to craft a response to the question of which student, if either, do you agree with.  In this way, students are given the opportunity to safely judge the accuracy of distant hypothetical students’ thinking rather than directly confront their own personal thinking.  In this sense, the task is less risky than revealing their own personal views and are apt to take more risks at exposing their own potentially incorrect thinking, thus positioning themselves to learn complex astronomy ideas themselves.

It is certainly possible for professors to create their own LTs, although they usually require more development time and fine-tuning than most busy professors wish to invest.  For those who wish to create their own, a basic recipe for creating a LT is shown below.

A Basic Lecture-Tutorial Structure
Q1: Ask something familiar (seemingly unrelated: e.g., distant car headlights)
Q2-3: Simple questions in astronomy context (achieve early success)
Q4-5: More complex questions (elicit common misconceptions)
Q6: Mini-Student Debate (provide students with language to describe scientifically accurate and inaccurate ideas)
Q7: Spiral back to check students have the right ideas (e.g., novel application OR how does your answer to Q5 change after you have looked at your answer to Q6?)

Note that an LT has at least two important characteristics hinted at earlier.  One is asking students thoughtful questions.  The other is using mini-student debates to help students understand what is correct about some ideas and what is incorrect about misconceptions.  Again, the mini-debates provide students with specific language and phrases they can use to “talk astronomy” with one another.  There are certainly other approaches to in-the-classroom activities besides LTs, but LTs are used by more than 10% of all introductory astronomy students across the United States every semester because they are easy to use and work consistently well.


Scaffolded Research Tasks

For many years, it has been common practice to ask students to complete astronomy assignments and astronomy laboratory exercises in the process of learning an astronomy that looks absolutely nothing like what astronomers actually do.

Slide1

For example, countless astronomy students have used pencils to trace out ellipses with loose string on small square-box graph paper and count tiny squares to “prove” Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion.  Perhaps even more students have carefully plotted the precise right ascension and declination positions of hundreds of stars to re-create the constellations and asterism of the night sky on small square-box graph paper to make their own star maps—star maps that are rarely ever used by the student. If a professor believes, instead, that students learning astronomy should actually be doing astronomy, then these traditional activities need to be discarded.  Undoubtedly, this is not the creative and imaginative work that characterizes modern astronomy.

bfs2e-coverRecently, work by Stephanie Slater, Tim Slater, Chris Palma, and Julia Kregenow has focused on developing sequenced learning experiences purposefully designed to mimic that daily work of a research astronomer. Known awkwardly as Backwards Faded Scaffolding (BFS) labs for historical reasons, this highly structured approach uses an underlying learning notion that novice students need extended and repeated engagements with scientific investigations in order to develop actual dexterity at participating in scientific inquiry

To leverage this idea of the importance of repeated intellectual engagements, the BFS labs ask students to complete five shorter scientific investigations on a topic, as opposed to the conventional approach pursuing a single, longer scientific investigation. The reason that these BFS labs are referred to as scaffolded, is that students are led through instructional sequence quanta where students are initially provided substantial amounts of support.  Then, the instructor-supplied student support is slowly removed over the course of the laboratory learning experience such that the lessons scaffolds are faded.  By the end of each lesson, students are able to devise and complete a scientific investigation in astronomy all on their own.  In this way, students gain confidence in their ability to conduct scientific inquiry in astronomy by gaining more responsibility for the learning from the beginning to the end of instruction.

The BFS labs are also known for being backwards because of how the scaffolds are carefully faded.  In the most common instructional approaches where students are taught how to conduct scientific inquiry, professors traditional teach scientific inquiry in three phases.  The first phase is usually to teach students how to ask scientifically fruitful questions. Second, students are taught to design experiments and observations to pursue evidence.  Finally, students are typically taught how to extract evidence from data and create an evidence-based astronomy conclusion.

IMG_1430 copyWhat is particularly unique about BFS laboratory learning experiences is the recognition that teaching students to ask scientifically fruitful questions is by far the most difficult aspect.  In response, the BFS research experiences teach students to first create and defend evidence-based conclusions from a given research question and given data.  Once students have mastered this, students are then taught to devise strategies to pursue data that can be used in an evidenced-based conclusion for a new research question, which is also provided for them.  Only when students have had considerable experience designing observations and defending conclusions from a number of research questions, are students then taught to create fruitful research questions—now that they have considerable experience doing the processes of scientific inquiry in astronomy.

IMG_1974Let’s consider an illustrative example.  Suppose a BFS instructional sequence in scientific inquiry is to ask students to use an online database of solar system objects showing the planet and moon positions and their motions to pursue a series of investigations.


An illustrative example series of backwards faded scaffolded BFS investigations might be to:

(i) determine the length of time our Sun spins by monitoring sunspots moving across the surface,

(ii) determine how long it takes Jupiter to spin by monitoring the reappearance of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, (iii) determine how long it take Io to spin,

(iv) determine how long it takes Io to orbit Jupiter, and

(v) create your own research project on motions of the solar system.


 

Two consistently great resources for this can be found by searching the Internet for NASA EYES ON THE SKY or the JPL SOLAR SYSTEM SIMULATOR. But what is vitally important here is that in each case, students are deeply engaged in a progressive series of questions, where the teacher gives substantively less support with each following investigation as students develop skills and confidence.

Slide1But what do you do with this?  We propose the answer is to have students participate in a SCIENCE SYMPOSIA.  Allow us to explain.

A commonly assigned task for college courses is an end-of-term project or term paper. The tacit goal for such an assignment surrounds encouraging students to take a closer look at a particular aspect of one of the course topics and develop a deeper and more thorough understanding of it. At first glance, this seems to be a reasonable pedagogical strategy.

Yet, when we talk to faculty teaching the introductory astronomy courses to non-science majoring students who have used this approach, we often encounter considerable frustration and regret from faculty about making such an assignment. Faculty tell us that they find all too often that their students’ essays fall far short of their expectations. Most commonly, faculty report that their students most frequently submit superficial summaries of disconnected facts gleaned, if not blatantly copied, from websites, news media stories, or textbooks. And, then there is the time consuming and sometimes delicate nature of grading essays or projects. Students too seem to generally dislike such assignments, often pushing faculty for precise requirements such as word-counts, immutable rules for number and type of allowed references, and requests for re-grading or relaxed deadlines certainly there are strategies available to mitigate these issues, but one wonders if all the effort is really worth it.

For an introductory science survey course a commonly agreed upon goal is that students will learn something about the nature of science. The National Academy of Science frames students’ proficiency in science in four dimensions: (i) know, use and interpret scientific explanations of the natural world; (ii) generate and evaluate scientific evidence and explanations; (iii) understand the nature and development of scientific knowledge; and (iv) participate productively in scientific practices and discourse. Articulating science proficiency in this way provides robust guidance to professors about what sorts of assignments students should engage in as part of their pathway to learning science. No matter how you slice it, this somehow seems to be inconsistent with tasking students to write a term-paper.

IMG_1795 copyWith all that preamble, what we are trying to say is that one strategy to radically alter the commonly used end-of-term essay assignment and instead host a student-lead mini-science conference. At the beginning of the course, students can be assigned the task of completing a scientific investigation of their choosing and create an illustrated poster presentation, much like is done at professional science conferences. Then, you spend the entire term preparing them for doing this, with lots and lots of practice.

Suppose your goals are less ambitious than having students actually do astronomy—maybe you just want them to enjoy and be interested in astronomy.  Well, then scaffolded tasks work for this too.

Imagine that one of your big course goals is for students to engage in and enjoy astronomy news.  Learning research tells us that simply telling students to “go read and like astronomy news” is insufficient.  Instead, you need to teach them how to read and enjoy astronomy news by providing a scaffoled set of learning experiences.

If students need to have repeated and scaffolded experiences with science text, media, and websites in the service of such a goal, exactly might that look like? In the course of a 16-week semester, we judge that there is only time for students to do five assignments in preparation for ramping up for an end-of-term, final poster presentation demonstrating their enjoyment and interest in astronomy news.


We propose the following illustrative set of experiences to support students learning how to be interested in and be able to seek out astronomy in the news:

(1) select an article and describe why it is directly relevant;

(2) write a brief summary of an article, different than the first article you selected;

(3) discern between two articles given to you by your instructor which one is scientifically-based and which one is pseudo-science or junk science;

(4) write a personal reaction to an article or your choosing you haven’t read before; and finally

(5) create an hypothetical 200-300 word news release/article for a new hypothetical scientific discovery.


We suggest a two week spacing of each assignment starting at week number one so that we would have sufficient time to students them feedback before they started on end-of-term poster presentations. One appealing aspect of this approach is that students are engaging with at least five different articles or source materials, with specific and narrowly defined tasks to attend to with each article, each increasing in intellectual complexity.

The advantage of scaffolding approaches are that they teach students to successfully engage in science journalism, in both a bite size and critical way. We find that students actually are able to create really insightful and interesting poster presentations—illustrated “book reports” if you will—by going through scaffolded learning experiences.

TRY ITS
□   Set aside 30-min of class time for your students to solve a case study from the examples given, or create your own

□   Before investing in white boards, bring a ream of paper to class and ask students to create illustrations of a concept you just lectured about

□   Make copies of an LT corresponding to your syllabus and try three of them over the next three weeks (they don’t always work the first time or two because students don’t yet know what is expected of them)

□   Pick one of your course goals, and then create five learning experiences for students around that one goal


 

Earlier posts in this series are:

The anticipated upcoming posts in this innovative college astronomy series are:

  • Useful Homework Assignments: 4th of 5 Secrets to Great ASTRO101 Evaluations
  • A Win-Win Syllabus: 5th of 5 Secrets to Great ASTRO101 Evaluations

5 Tools for Teaching #ASTRO101

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  1. Pingback: Outside of Class Learning Activities: 4th of 5 Secrets to Great ASTRO101 Evaluations | CAPER Astronomy Faculty Lounge

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