## 20100131

### Pre-lab assignment question: "disappearing" index of refraction

Physics 205B Pre-Lab Assignment 1, Spring Semester 2010
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

091009-1130124
http://www.flickr.com/photos/waiferx/4039009936/

Glass rods suspended in air, then dropped down into oil. Display at the Arizona Museum of Science, Phoenix, AZ. Video by Cuesta College Physical Sciences Division instructor Dr. Patrick M. Len.

Students have a weekly online pre-lab assignment (hosted by SurveyMonkey.com), where they answer questions based on reading their textbook, material covered in previous lectures, opinion questions, and/or asking (anonymous) questions or making (anonymous) comments. Full credit is given for completing the online reading assignment before next week's lab, regardless if whether their answers are correct/incorrect. Selected results/questions/comments are addressed by the lab instructor at the start of the following lecture.

Watch the video link below, where glass rods suspended in air are then dropped into oil. The index of refraction of the glass rods should be:
(A) close to the index of refraction of air.
(B) between the indices of refraction of air and oil.
(C) close to the index of refraction of oil.
(D) (Could not get the video link to work.)
(E) (I'm lost, and don't know how to answer this.)

Student responses
Section 31988
(A) : 0 students
(B) : 1 student
(C) : 9 students
(D) : 1 student
(E) : 1 student

Briefly explain your answer to the previous question (comparing n_glass to n_air or n_oil). (Graded for completion.)

The following are all of the student responses to this question, verbatim and unedited.
"The glass rods would be between air and oil because air is 1.000293 and oil is 1.52045 the glass rods fall in between those limits"

"The glass rods appear to be transparent in the oil, so the index of refraction of the rods would be closest to the index of refraction of the oil. Light is going through both instead of bouncing off of the glass rods like they do in air"

"if the n of the the glass where more or less than the oil there would be noticable light travel changes. The n of both materials is close to equal the lights can bend in same manner for both."

"The point of view is not parallel to the bars and is hard to tell which way the light is bending."

"It disappears when dropped in oil. Only light that travels through the air in the center of the rods is distorted and visible in the oil."

"The index of refraction of glass is approximately 1.4-1.6 depending on the type of glass, the index of air is approximately 1, and the index of silicone oil is 1.5. Therefore I expect the glass rods to be close to the index of refraction of oil versus air."

"When dipped into the oil, the class rod becomes barely visable, meaning that the index of refration for the glass rod and oil are very close together."

"the index of refraction of the glass rods should be close to the index of refraction of oil because it was near transparent and the light rays didn't change direction."

"The rods are very visible when suspended in air. You can clearly see their shape and size. However, when they are lowered into the oil it becomes difficult to seem them. This is because they have a much different index of reflection than air so the light bends significantly as it passes through. They have a similar index of refraction as oil because when suspended in the oil the light is barely bent thus making it difficult to see them."

"When the glass was suspended in the oil it could barely be detected, but when the glass was suspended in the air it was easy to see it. Therefore the glass has an index of refraction that is closer to the oil than the air."

"Because it becomes so much harder to see the glass rods in oil, the n_glass and n_oil must be more similar than n_glass and n_air."

## 20100130

### Astronomy current events question: retired space shuttles

Astronomy 210L, Spring Semester 2010
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Students are assigned to read online articles on current astronomy events, and take a short current events quiz during the first 10 minutes of lab. (This motivates students to show up promptly to lab, as the time cut-off for the quiz is strictly enforced!)
Marcia Dunn (Associated Press), "Recession Special: NASA Cuts Space Shuttle Prices," January 15, 2010
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/wires?id=140057663&c=y
After the space shuttles are to be retired later this year, NASA plans to:
(A) dock them permanently to the International Space Station.
(B) let them burn up as they re-enter Earth's atmosphere.
(C) consign them to a toxic waste reclamation facility.
(D) strip them for spare parts for the next generation space shuttle.
(E) sell them to museums or schools.

Student responses
Sections 30678, 30680
(A) : 7 students
(B) : 1 student
(C) : 0 students
(D) : 5 students
(E) : 31 students

## 20100129

### Astronomy current events question: pixels on Mars

Astronomy 210L, Spring Semester 2010
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Students are assigned to read online articles on current astronomy events, and take a short current events quiz during the first 10 minutes of lab. (This motivates students to show up promptly to lab, as the time cut-off for the quiz is strictly enforced!)
Astronomy.com editors, "Public Invited to Pick Pixels on Mars," January 20, 2010
http://www.astronomy.com/asy/default.aspx?c=a&id=8994
NASA is inviting the public to "pick pixels on Mars" in order to:
(A) suggest targets for high-resolution imaging on Mars' surface.
(B) name landmarks in exchange for donations.
(C) designate volunteers to hunt for signs of life.
(D) choose a landing site for the next exploration rover.
(E) predict the location of an impending volcanic eruption.

Student responses
Sections 30678, 30680
(A) : 32 students
(B) : 6 students
(C) : 1 student
(D) : 6 students
(E) : 0 students

## 20100126

### Online reading assignment question: lenses/optics tags

Physics 205B Reading Assignment 1, Spring Semester 2010
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

100126-lenswordle
http://www.flickr.com/photos/waiferx/4306989053/

Wordle.net tag cloud for lens-related terms, generated by responses from Physics 205B students at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA (http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/1586310/Untitled).

Students have a weekly online reading assignment (hosted by SurveyMonkey.com), where they answer questions based on reading their textbook, material covered in previous lectures, opinion questions, and/or asking (anonymous) questions or making (anonymous) comments. Full credit is given for completing the online reading assignment before next week's lecture, regardless if whether their answers are correct/incorrect. Selected results/questions/comments are addressed by the instructor at the start of the following lecture.

Write down five words that describe or are associated with "lenses." Keep word phrases together with no spaces between them (e.g., "contactlens").

Student responses
Section 31988
converging diverging paraxialrays focalpoint principalrays
convex concave refraction converging diverging
telescope laser glass concave convex
camera eyeglasses corrective optical photographic
photo zoom diverging converging magnifyingglass
concave convex converging diverging focalpoint
convex concave hubbletelescope magnifyingglass camera
eyes telescope camera eyeglasses microscope
microscope transparent camera magnifyingglass telescope
refraction thinlenses converging diverging focalpoint
camera photo microscope glass spectrophotometer

## 20100120

### Astronomy in-class activity: astronomy in the marketplace tags

Astronomy 210 In-class activity 1, Spring Semester 2010
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

100120-carwordle
http://www.flickr.com/photos/waiferx/4292714510/

Wordle.net tag cloud for astronomy-related car brand names, generated by responses from Astronomy 210 students at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA (http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/1562978/Untitled).

100120-foodwordle
http://www.flickr.com/photos/waiferx/4292714594/

Wordle.net tag cloud for astronomy-related food brand names available in a supermarket, generated by responses from Astronomy 210 students at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA (http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/1562989/Untitled).

100120-nonfoodwordle
http://www.flickr.com/photos/waiferx/4291972809/

Wordle.net tag cloud for astronomy-related non-food brand names available in a supermarket, generated by responses from Astronomy 210 students at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA (http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/1563055/Untitled).

Students find their assigned groups of three to four students, and work cooperatively on an in-class activity worksheet to discuss car brand names, and food and non-food brand names found in supermarkets (adapted from D. Schatz, "Why Should We Care About Exploding Stars?" Universe in the Classroom, no. 8, Spring 1987 (http://www.astrosociety.org/education/publications/tnl/08/stars2.html).

There are many astronomy-related brand names. Consider car brand names (old and new); and brand names for food and non-food items that are typically found in the supermarket. Do not consider titles of TV shows, movies, or books.

List at least three astronomy-related car brand names.

Student responses
Sections 30674, 30676
Mercury Saturn Taurus
Saturn Mercury Eclipse
Saturn Equinox
Mercury Taurus Saturn
Mercury Saturn Nova Astro
Ion Mercury Suntiva KiaSol
Mercury Saturn KiaSol
Saturn Mercury Eclipse
Saturn Eclipse Nova Astro
Saturn Mercury SuperNova
Mercury Saturn Taurus Eclipse
Saturn Mercury Astro
Saturn Subaru Nova
Saturn Mercury Solstice Nova Astro Eclipse Aurora
Saturn Astro Escape Comet
Saturn Nova Mercury
Saturn Mercury Galaxy
Saturn Mercury Eclipse
Mercury Saturn Chrysler Subaru Eclipse
Saturn Nova Mercury
Saturn Galaxy Nova
Saturn Nova Astro
Mercury Saturn Taurus
Saturn Astro Eclipse
Saturn Mercury Astro Eclipse
Saturn Taurus Solstice Nova Scion
Eclipse Saturn Infiniti
Mercury Astro Nova
Mercury Saturn Titan
Saturn Taurus Nova Eclipse Skylark Aerostar Astro Galaxy Comet
Galaxy Saturn Mercury Taurus Sunfire
Saturn Mercury Nova Aerostar Eclipse
Saturn Mercury Nova Supernova-SS Astro
Saturn Nova Mercury Voyager Solstice Windstar Aerostar Eclipse Solaris StarCraft
Saturn Scion Infiniti
Saturn Mercury Galaxy

List at least three astronomy-related food brand names typically found in the supermarket.

Student responses
Sections 30674, 30676
MilkyWay MarsBars Corona
MilkyWay MarsBars Eclipse Orbit
MilkyWay Starburst SunChips Orbit
MilkyWay Starburst MarsBars
MarsBars MilkyWay GalaxyCrunch
MilkyWay MarsBars MoonPies
MoonPies SunChips CapriSun MilkyWay
MilkyWay Rockstar Starbucks
MilkyWay MarsBars MoonPies
Sunkist MilkyWay Starburst
Starbucks MilkyWay MarsBars KraftMac-n-Cheese
MilkyWay MarsBars Orbit
BlueMoon MilkyWay Starburst
SunChips SunnyD Starburst
Sunkist SunnyD MilkyWay PopRocks
AstroPops Starburst SunnyD
MilkyWay Starburst Starcrunch
Twinkies MilkyWay BlueMoon Sunkist MarsBars MoonPie moonshine SunChips
BlueMoon MoonPie Starburst Sunkist MilkyWay Eclipse
MilkyWay MarsBars SunChips
MilkyWay MoonPie Campbellssoupwithstars
MilkyWay Starburst MarsBars SunnyD BlueMoon
MilkyWay MarsBars Sunkist SunnyD Starburst StellaArtois BlueMoon Orbit
Starburst MilkyWay SunnyD
Starbucks MoonPies Starburst MilkyWay Rocketpops Eclipse
SunChips Sunflower MarsBars MilkyWay
MilkyWay MarsBars Starburst
Starburst MilkyWay Eclipse Orbit
MilkyWay MarsBars SunChips
MilkyWay Starburst Lunabars MarsBars Corona BlueMoon SunChips
Starburst MilkyWay MarsBars
SunnyD Starburst MarsBars MilkyWay SunMaid Starbucks SunChips BlueMoon Sunkist
MoonPie MarsBars MilkyWay
Starkist Sunkist Starburst MilkyWay MarsBars MoonPie SunnyD Orbit Eclipse
MilkyWay MarsBars Starburst
BlueMoon Skyyvodka MilkyWay

List at least three astronomy-related non-food brand names typically found in the supermarket.

Student responses
Sections 30674, 30676
AllStarclothing Cosmo Comet
Comet BlueMoon Orbit
PineSol SunflowerPerfume
Starmagazine Sunnewspaper Globemagazine
Venusrazors Moonshine BlueMoon
Comet Tide RayBan
Comet sunglasses suntanlotion AllStarclothing
Comet SegaSaturn Plutostuffedanimal
Orbit BlueMoon Venusrazors
Comet Dial Dawn
Comet Skyyvodka
Dawn Comet Tide
Comet Sundetergent Orbit
UVVodka sunglasses Venusrazors Solbeer Orbit RayBan
Comet Tide
Comet MoonBoots BlueMoon
Comet Orionsbelt Venusrazors
Comet Venusrazors Coinstar
Tide Venusrazors Comet
Comet Astroglide Venusrazors
Skyyvodka glowindarkstars Crest Starmagazine Degree Orbit bouncystarballs
Comet Starmagazine AtmosphereCD
Comet Venusrazors Dawn
Peoplemagazine BlueMoon Orbit
Comet Tide MoonBoots
BlueMoon Marsvodka 30SecondsToMars
Comet Orbit Tide
Comet Venusrazors Sundetergent
Astroglide Venusrazors Starbucks
Comet Astroglide Venusrazors
Orbit Comet Sundetergent Tide
Comet Venusrazors I-novaflashlight
Comet Venusrazors Mach3razors Venusflytrap
Comet Tide Dawn BlueMoon Corona Astroglide universalremote spaceheater
Orbit Tide Eclipse
Venusrazors Comet Star

## 20100113

### Education research: SATA results (Cuesta College, Fall Semester 2009)

Student attitudes were assessed using the Survey of Attitudes Towards Astronomy (SATA), a 34-question, five-point Likert scale questionnaire that measures four attitude subscales (Zeilik & Morris, 2003):
• Affect (positive student attitudes towards astronomy and science);
• Cognitive competence (students' self-assessment of their astronomy/science knowledge and skills);
• Difficulty (reverse-coded such that high-difficulty corresponds to a rating of 1, low-difficulty assessment of astronomy/science corresponds to a rating of 5);
• Value (students' assessment of the usefulness, relevance, and worth of astronomy/science in personal and professional life).
The SATA was administered as a pre-test on the first day of class, and as a post-test on the last day of class.
`Cuesta CollegeAstronomy 210 Fall Semester 2009 sections 70160, 70158(N = 82, matched pairs only,         excluding negative informed consent form responses)        Affect       Cogn. Comp.  Difficulty   ValueInitial 3.8 +/- 0.5  3.6 +/- 0.5  3.8 +/- 0.6  2.7 +/- 0.4Final   3.8 +/- 0.7  3.6 +/- 0.7  3.6 +/- 0.6  2.9 +/- 0.6`
Little or no difference from pre- to post-instruction, and also comparable to previous semesters' results.

References, and more detailed discussion on previous semesters' results:

## 20100112

### Education research: D-Survey pre- and post-instruction results (Cuesta College, Fall Semester 2009)

Student demographic data is collected using a demographic survey (D-Survey) administered to Astronomy 210 (one-semester introductory astronomy) students at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA during the first week and last week of instruction, at both the main San Luis Obispo campus and the North County campus at Paso Robles.

The results from the pre-instruction demographic questions follow below. Only matched-pair results are shown, for students who were eventually able to take the post-instruction D-Survey in the last week of instruction.
`Cuesta CollegeDemographic Survey (D-Survey)Pre-instruction question resultsAstronomy 210L Fall Semester 2009 sections 70160, 70158(N = 83, matched pairs only,         excluding negative informed consent form responses)1. What is your gender? (A) Female.  [35](B) Male.    [48]2. What is your age?(A) 0-20 years old.     [65](B) 21-23 years old.    [12](C) 24-30 years old.    [ 5](D) 31 or older.        [ 1] (E) Decline to answer.  [ 0]3. What is your college major (or current area of interest if undecided)?(A) Business.                                  [16](B) Education.                                 [ 9](C) Humanities, Social Sciences, or the Arts.  [29](D) Science, Engineering, or Architecture.     [ 9](E) Other.                                     [21] 4. Have you previously taken an astronomy course? (A) Yes.  [ 3](B) No.   [80]5. Are you currently taking astronomy lab during this semester? (A) Yes.  [36](B) No.   [47]6. How many college science courses are you taking during this semester other than astronomy lecture or astronomy lab?(A) None.  [58](B) 1.     [16](C) 2.     [ 4](D) 3.     [ 3](E) 4+.    [ 2]7. Which of these college math classes are you taking during this semester?  Choose as many classes that apply.  (A) Algebra.       [18](B) Trigonometry.  [ 0](C) Geometry.      [ 2](D) Pre-calculus.  [ 5](E) Calculus.      [ 3](F) Statistics.    [ 7]8. How good at math are you?(A) Very poor.  [ 0](B) Poor.       [ 9](C) Average.    [37](D) Good.       [31](E) Very good.  [ 6]9. How good at science are you?(A) Very poor.  [ 1](B) Poor.       [ 7](C) Average.    [41](D) Good.       [27](E) Very good.  [ 7]10. Which best describes the level of difficulty you expect from this course?(A) Extremely difficult for me.  [ 0](B) Difficult for me.            [19](C) Unsure.                      [54](D) Easy for me.                 [10](E) Very easy for me.            [ 0]11. How many college science courses have you completed prior to taking this course? (A) None.  [57](B) 1.     [16](C) 2.     [ 7](D) 3.     [ 0](E) 4+.    [ 3]12. Which of these college math classes have you completed prior to taking this course?  Choose as many classes that apply.  (A) Algebra.       [55](B) Trigonometry.  [10](C) Geometry.      [19](D) Pre-calculus.  [19](E) Calculus.      [ 4](F) Statistics.    [10]=====Cuesta CollegeDemographic Survey (D-Survey)Post-instruction question resultsAstronomy 210L Fall Semester 2009 sections 70160, 70158(N = 83, matched pairs only,         excluding negative informed consent form responses)8. How good at math are you?(A) Very poor.  [ 0](B) Poor.       [ 8](C) Average.    [38](D) Good.       [29](E) Very good.  [ 8]Pre-instruction: 3.4 +/- 0.8Post-instruction: 3.5 +/- 0.8Student t-test p = 0.77 (t = -0.294, sd = 0.791, dof = 164)Class-wise <g> = 0.029. How good at science are you?(A) Very poor.  [ 2](B) Poor.       [ 7](C) Average.    [42](D) Good.       [25](E) Very good.  [ 7]Pre-instruction: 3.4 +/- 0.8Post-instruction: 3.3 +/- 0.8Student t-test p = 0.71 (t = 0.375, sd = 0.827, dof = 164)Class-wise <g> = -0.0310. Which best describes the level of difficulty you experienced from this course?(A) Extremely difficult for me.  [ 3](B) Difficult for me.            [31](C) Unsure.                      [22](D) Easy for me.                 [23](E) Very easy for me.            [ 4]Pre-instruction: 2.9 +/- 0.6Post-instruction: 2.9 +/- 1.0Student t-test p = 0.78 (t = 0.285, sd = 0.817, dof = 164)Class-wise <g> = 0.0211. How many college science courses do you expect to take after taking this course? (A) None.  [14](B) 1.     [35](C) 2.     [20](D) 3.     [ 5](E) 4+.    [ 8]12. Which of these college math classes do you expect to takeafter taking this course?  Choose as many classes that apply.  (A) Algebra.       [14](B) Trigonometry.  [11](C) Geometry.      [ 7](D) Pre-calculus.  [19](E) Calculus.      [32](F) Statistics.    [33]13. Are you planning on taking astronomy lab sometime after this semester? (A) Yes.              [17](B) No.               [50](C) Undecided/maybe.  [16]`

No significant shifts nor differences in student attitudes in self-efficacy attitudes towards math and science. However, while the perceived difficulty of the course did not change, the distribution of responses widened.

## 20100111

### Education research: MPEX pre- and post-instruction results (Cuesta College, Fall Semester 2009)

The Maryland Physics Expectations survey (MPEX, Redish, Saul, and Steinberg, 1998) was administered to Cuesta College Physics 205A (college physics, algebra-based, mandatory adjunct laboratory) students at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA. The MPEX was given during the first week of the semester, and then on the last week of the semester, to quantify student attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions about physics using six question categories, rating responses as either favorable or unfavorable towards:
1. Independence--beliefs about learning physics--whether it means receiving information or involves an active process of reconstructing one's own understanding;
2. Coherence--beliefs about the structure of physics knowledge--as a collection of isolated pieces or as a single coherent system;
3. Concepts--beliefs about the content of physics knowledge--as formulas or as concepts that underlie the formulas;
4. Reality Link--beliefs about the connection between physics and reality--whether physics is unrelated to experiences outside the classroom or whether it is useful to think about them together;
5. Math Link--beliefs about the role of mathematics in learning physics--whether the mathematical;
formalism is used as a way of representing information about physical phenomena or mathematics is just used to calculate numbers;
6. Effort--beliefs about the kind of activities and work necessary to make sense out of physics--whether they expect to think carefully and evaluate what they are doing based on available materials and feedback or not.
`Cuesta CollegePhysics 205A Fall Semester 2009 section 72177North County (Paso Robles, CA) campus(N = 13, matched pairs,          excluding negative informed consent form responses)Percentage of favorable:unfavorable responses        Overall Indep.  Coher.  Concept Real.   Math    EffortInitial 62:15   54:17   57:14   43:22   81: 6   63:11   71:11Final   58:22   47:17   63:22   48:31   90: 0   65:20   49:26Cuesta CollegePhysics 205A Fall Semester 2009 sections 70854, 70855San Luis Obispo, CA campus(N = 43, matched pairs,          excluding negative informed consent form responses)Percentage of favorable:unfavorable responses        Overall Indep.  Coher.  Concept Real.   Math    EffortInitial 53:23   38:23   48:29   45:27   65:10   52:20   70:12Final   44:29   33:29   37:38   41:32   66:12   40:31   53:26`
As discussed in a previous blog post, the smaller NC campus section had a statistically significantly much higher post-instruction Force Concept Inventory (FCI) score and Hake gain than the larger SLO campus section. Perhaps related is the fact that the NC campus section has much higher overall, independence, coherence, reality, and math attitudes, compared to the SLO campus section (although the SLO campus section results are comparable to other sections in previous semesters). For both the NC and SLO campus sections this semester, as in previous semesters, that there are generally initial-to-final negative shifts in attitudes, with a few exceptions.

The notable results for the NC campus section this semester is likely primarily due to the difference in student demographics and class size, compared to the more homogeneous, larger SLO campus section. Next semester (Spring 2010), many of the NC students, and a few of the SLO campus students will continue on in the same section of Physics 205B, where they will also take the MPEX pre- and post-instruction, the results of which will be analyzed and posted here in the following months.

Previous posts:

## 20100110

### Education research: ALLS pre- to post-instruction attitude shifts (Cuesta College, Fall Semester 2009)

Student attitudes are assessed using an Astronomy Laboratory Learning Survey (ALLS), a five-point Likert scale questionnaire with demographic questions, and entry/exit evaluation questions (Patrick M. Len, in development) to Astronomy 210L students at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA. This laboratory course is a one-semester, adjunct course to Astronomy 210 lecture, and is taken primarily by students to satisfy their general education science laboratory transfer requirement.

The ALLS is administered as a pre-test on the first laboratory meeting, before any introduction/instruction took place; and as a post-test on the last laboratory meeting.

The results from the pre- and post-test questions follow below. Values for the mean and standard deviations are given next to the modal response category for each question, along with a Student t-test for the probability of null hypothesis rejection, and the class-wise Hake gain. (Matched-pair Hake gains were not calculated for each student, as pre-instruction values such as "5" would result in undefined values.) For statistical purposes, blank entries were treated as "3. Neutral," and multiply-circled entries such as "12," "23," "34," and "45" were treated as "1," "2," "4," and "5" respectively.
`Cuesta CollegeAstronomy Laboratory Learning Survey (ALLS) Pre- and post-instruction resultsAstronomy 210L Fall Semester 2009 sections 70178, 70186, 702001. I am interested in using a telescope or binoculars for astronomy.Pre-instruction1. Strongly disagree      0 : 2. Disagree               0 : 3. Neutral                8 : ********4. Agree                 28 : ****************************  [4.3 +/- 0.7]5. Strongly agree        25 : *************************Post-instruction1. Strongly disagree      1 : *2. Disagree               1 : *3. Neutral               16 : ****************4. Agree                 28 : ****************************  [3.9 +/- 0.9]5. Strongly agree        15 : ***************Student t-test p = 0.0081 (t = 2.69, sd = 0.773, dof = 120)Class-wise <g> = -0.522. Astronomy has little relation to what I experience in the real world.Pre-instruction1. Strongly disagree      9 : *********2. Disagree              21 : *********************3. Neutral               21 : *********************  [2.5 +/- 0.9]4. Agree                 10 : **********5. Strongly agree         0 :Post-instruction1. Strongly disagree     10 : **********2. Disagree              27 : ***************************  [2.4 +/- 1.0]3. Neutral               14 : **************4. Agree                  9 : *********5. Strongly agree         1 : *Student t-test p = 0.51 (t = 0.656, sd = 0.966, dof = 120)Class-wise <g> = -0.053. I know where and how to look up astronomy information.Pre-instruction1. Strongly disagree      3 : ***2. Disagree              23 : ***********************  [2.9 +/- 1.0]3. Neutral               14 : **************4. Agree                 19 : *******************5. Strongly agree         2 : **Post-instruction1. Strongly disagree      0 : 2. Disagree               1 : *3. Neutral                7 : *******4. Agree                 32 : ********************************  [4.2 +/- 0.7]5. Strongly agree        21 : *********************Student t-test p < 0.0001 (t = -8.21, sd = 0.871, dof = 120)Class-wise <g> = 0.624. I know where and how to find objects in the night sky.Pre-instruction1. Strongly disagree      8 : ********2. Disagree              21 : *********************  [2.7 +/- 1.1]3. Neutral               17 : *****************4. Agree                 12 : ************5. Strongly agree         3 : ***Post-instruction1. Strongly disagree      0 : 2. Disagree               1 : *3. Neutral               14 : **************4. Agree                 31 : *******************************  [4.0 +/- 0.7]5. Strongly agree        15 : ***************Student t-test p < 0.0001 (t = -7.68, sd = 0.931, dof = 120)Class-wise <g> = 0.565. I am interested in news that is related to astronomy.Pre-instruction1. Strongly disagree      0 : 2. Disagree               3 : ***3. Neutral               13 : *************4. Agree                 35 : ***********************************  [3.9 +/- 0.7]5. Strongly agree        10 : **********Post-instruction1. Strongly disagree      3 : ***2. Disagree               5 : *****3. Neutral               20 : ********************4. Agree                 21 : *********************  [3.6 +/- 1.1]5. Strongly agree        12 : ************Student t-test p = 0.078 (t = 1.78, sd = 0.916, dof = 120)Class-wise <g> = -0.266. I often ask myself questions related to astronomy.Pre-instruction1. Strongly disagree      2 : **2. Disagree              17 : *****************3. Neutral               15 : ***************4. Agree                 19 : *******************  [3.2 +/- 1.1]5. Strongly agree         8 : ********Post-instruction1. Strongly disagree      3 : ***2. Disagree               9 : *********3. Neutral               18 : ******************4. Agree                 20 : ********************  [3.4 +/- 1.1]5. Strongly agree        11 : ***********Student t-test p = 0.29 (t = -1.07, sd = 1.10, dof = 120)Class-wise <g> = 0.127. I am comfortable using a calculator to make complex calculations.Pre-instruction1. Strongly disagree      1 : *2. Disagree              11 : ***********3. Neutral                9 : *********4. Agree                 32 : ********************************  [3.6 +/- 1.0]5. Strongly agree         8 : ********Post-instruction1. Strongly disagree      3 : ***2. Disagree               8 : ********3. Neutral               12 : ************4. Agree                 23 : ***********************  [3.6 +/- 1.1]5. Strongly agree        15 : ***************Student t-test p = 0.74 (t = 0.339, sd = 1.07, dof = 120)Class-wise <g> = 0.058. I can make sense of equations and scientific notation numbers.Pre-instruction1. Strongly disagree      2 : **2. Disagree               7 : *******3. Neutral               14 : **************4. Agree                 32 : ********************************  [3.5 +/- 0.9]5. Strongly agree         6 : ******Post-instruction1. Strongly disagree      2 : **2. Disagree               2 : **3. Neutral               14 : **************4. Agree                 27 : ***************************  [3.9 +/- 1.0]5. Strongly agree        16 : ****************Student t-test p = 0.059 (t = -1.91, sd = 0.949, dof = 120)Class-wise <g> = 0.239. I prefer to work independently rather than in groups.Pre-instruction1. Strongly disagree      8 : ********2. Disagree              17 : *****************3. Neutral               19 : *******************  [2.8 +/- 1.2]4. Agree                 11 : ***********5. Strongly agree         6 : ******Post-instruction1. Strongly disagree     16 : ****************2. Disagree               6 : ******3. Neutral               27 : ***************************  [2.7 +/- 1.3]4. Agree                  4 : ****5. Strongly agree         8 : ********Student t-test p = 0.56 (t = 0.586, sd = 1.24, dof = 120)Class-wise <g> = -0.0610. I can understand difficult concepts better if I am able to explain them to others.Pre-instruction1. Strongly disagree      1 : *2. Disagree               6 : ******3. Neutral               17 : *****************4. Agree                 30 : ******************************  [3.6 +/- 0.9]5. Strongly agree         7 : *******Post-instruction1. Strongly disagree      2 : **2. Disagree               7 : *******3. Neutral               14 : **************4. Agree                 22 : **********************  [3.7 +/- 1.1]5. Strongly agree        16 : ****************Student t-test p = 0.52 (t = -0.641, sd = 0.989, dof = 120)Class-wise <g> = 0.0811. I can understand difficult concepts better if I am able to ask lots of questions.Pre-instruction1. Strongly disagree      0 : 2. Disagree               3 : ***3. Neutral               10 : **********4. Agree                 28 : ****************************  [4.1 +/- 0.8]5. Strongly agree        20 : ********************Post-instruction1. Strongly disagree      1 : *2. Disagree               1 : *3. Neutral                7 : *******4. Agree                 33 : *********************************  [4.1 +/- 0.8]5. Strongly agree        19 : *******************Student t-test p = 0.74 (t = -0.333, sd = 0.816, dof = 120)Class-wise <g> = 0.0512. Knowledge in astronomy consists of many pieces of information each of which applies primarily to a specific situation.Pre-instruction1. Strongly disagree     2 : **2. Disagree              5 : *****3. Neutral              30 : ******************************  [3.3 +/- 0.8]4. Agree                22 : **********************5. Strongly agree        2 : **Post-instruction1. Strongly disagree      2 : **2. Disagree               7 : *******3. Neutral               25 : *************************  [3.3 +/- 0.8]4. Agree                 25 : *************************5. Strongly agree         2 : **Student t-test p = 0.91 (t = -0.110, sd = 0.821, dof = 120)Class-wise <g>> = 0.0113. I am good at math.Pre-instruction1. Strongly disagree      3 : ***2. Disagree              13 : *************3. Neutral               16 : ****************4. Agree                 25 : *************************  [3.2 +/- 1.0]5. Strongly agree         4 : ****Post-instruction1. Strongly disagree      4 : ****2. Disagree              10 : **********3. Neutral               19 : *******************  [3.3 +/- 1.1]4. Agree                 18 : ******************5. Strongly agree        10 : **********Student t-test p = 0.62 (t = -0.503, sd = 1.08, dof = 120)Class-wise <g> = 0.0614. I am good at science.Pre-instruction1. Strongly disagree      2 : **2. Disagree               6 : ******3. Neutral               23 : ***********************  [3.5 +/- 1.0]4. Agree                 22 : **********************5. Strongly agree         8 : ********Post-instruction1. Strongly disagree      2 : **2. Disagree               8 : ********3. Neutral               21 : *********************  [3.5 +/- 1.0]4. Agree                 20 : ********************5. Strongly agree        10 : **********Student t-test p = 1.00 (t = 0.00, sd = 0.993, dof = 120)Class-wise <g> = 0.0015. This course will be/was difficult for me.Pre-instruction1. Strongly disagree      2 : **2. Disagree              16 : ****************3. Neutral               33 : *********************************  [2.9 +/- 0.8]4. Agree                  8 : ********5. Strongly agree         2 : **Post-instruction1. Strongly disagree     10 : **********2. Disagree              24 : ************************  [2.4 +/- 0.9]3. Neutral               20 : ********************4. Agree                  6 : ******5. Strongly agree         1 : *Student t-test p = 0.0044 (t = 2.90, sd = 0.874, dof = 120)Class-wise <g> = -0.22`

No statistically significant (p > 0.05) shifts were observed for relating astronomy to personal experience (question 2), interest in astronomy-related news (question 5), pondering astronomy-related questions (question 6), self-efficacy in use of calculators and math in astronomy (questions 7 and 8), individual/group learning habits (questions 9, 10, 11, and 12), and self-efficacy in math/science (questions 13 and 14).

Of note is a statistically significant (p < 0.05) downward shift in interest in using telescopes/binoculars in astronomy (question 1)!

However, there are statistically significant (p < 0.05) gains in being able to find astronomy-related news/information (question 3), finding night sky objects (question 4), and rating the expected/experience difficulty of this course (question 15). The first two of these positive self-reported shifts correlate well with two of the student learning outcomes for this course:
• Keep abreast of present-day discoveries and developments in astronomy (current events).
• Construct and use devices to measure locations and sizes on the celestial sphere (observational astronomy).

(For completeness, the remaining four student learning outcomes are listed below, and are measured primarily through grade-related assessment):
• Apply laws of spectroscopy and gravitation to remotely determine properties of satellites, planets, and stars (astronometry).
• Develop and test physical models of the properties of solar system bodies (planetology).
• Collect data, evaluate the data using error analysis, draw conclusions from the data.
• Explain the information in a laboratory report.

Previous posts:

## 20100109

### Education research: ALLS post-instruction opinion results (Cuesta College, Fall Semester 2009)

Student attitudes are assessed using an Astronomy Laboratory Learning Survey (ALLS), a five-point Likert scale questionnaire with demographic questions, and entry/exit evaluation questions (Patrick M. Len, in development) to Astronomy 210L students at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA. This laboratory course is a one-semester, adjunct course to Astronomy 210 lecture, and is taken primarily by students to satisfy their general education science laboratory transfer requirement.

The ALLS is administered as a pre-test on the first laboratory meeting, before any introduction/instruction took place; and as a post-test on the last laboratory meeting.

The results from the post-test opinion questions follow below. Values for the mean and standard deviations are given next to the modal response category for each question.
`Cuesta CollegeAstronomy Laboratory Learning Survey (ALLS) Post-instruction opinion resultsAstronomy 210L Fall Semester 2009 sections 70178, 70186, 7020016. Astronomy lab was (or would have been) helpful for learning in lecture.1. Strongly disagree      0 : 2. Disagree               2 : **3. Neutral               12 : ************4. Agree                 30 : ******************************  [4.0 +/- 0.8]5. Strongly agree        17 : *****************17. I understand more about astronomy concepts because of what I learned in lab.1. Strongly disagree      0 : 2. Disagree               1 : *3. Neutral                3 : ***4. Agree                 41 : *****************************************  [4.2 +/- 0.6]5. Strongly agree        16 : ****************18. Astronomy lab was an enjoyable experience.1. Strongly disagree      1 : *2. Disagree               1 : *3. Neutral                7 : *******4. Agree                 30 : ******************************  [4.2 +/- 0.8]5. Strongly agree        22 : **********************19. Math used in astronomy lab was difficult.1. Strongly disagree      3 : **2. Disagree              31 : *******************************  [2.6 +/- 0.9]3. Neutral               18 : ********************4. Agree                  7 : *****5. Strongly agree         2 : *20. It was hard to understand concepts in astronomy lab.1. Strongly disagree      3 : ***2. Disagree              31 : *******************************  [2.5 +/- 0.8]3. Neutral               20 : ********************4. Agree                  6 : ******5. Strongly agree         1 : *21. This course helped me see how astronomy is related to other sciences such as geology, physics, and chemistry.1. Strongly disagree      0 : 2. Disagree               5 : *****3. Neutral               14 : **************4. Agree                 35 : ***********************************  [3.7 +/- 0.8]5. Strongly agree         7 : *******22. I asked a lot of questions in astronomy lab.1. Strongly disagree      5 : *****2. Disagree              17 : *****************3. Neutral               26 : **************************  [2.8 +/- 1.0]4. Agree                  9 : *********5. Strongly agree         4 : ****23. I generally understood what was needed to be done in astronomy lab.1. Strongly disagree      0 : 2. Disagree               1 : *3. Neutral                8 : ********4. Agree                 39 : ***************************************  [4.0 +/- 0.6]5. Strongly agree        12 : ************24. My work in astronomy lab was graded fairly.1. Strongly disagree      1 : *2. Disagree               3 : ***3. Neutral                2 : **4. Agree                 25 : *************************5. Strongly agree        30 : ******************************  [4.3 +/- 0.9]25. I did a lot of explaining to other students in astronomy lab.1. Strongly disagree      0 : 2. Disagree               7 : *******3. Neutral               33 : *********************************  [3.3 +/- 0.8]4. Agree                 17 : *****************5. Strongly agree         4 : ****26. I was generally confused about what was going on in astronomy lab.1. Strongly disagree     10 : **********2. Disagree              29 : *****************************  [2.3 +/- 0.9]3. Neutral               16 : ****************4. Agree                  6 : ******5. Strongly agree         0 : 27. I would recommend astronomy lab to other students.1. Strongly disagree      0 : 2. Disagree               1 : *3. Neutral                6 : ******4. Agree                 23 : ***********************5. Strongly agree        31 : *******************************  [4.4 +/- 0.7]28. Astronomy lab should only be taken in the same semester as astronomy lecture.1. Strongly disagree      6 : ******2. Disagree               7 : *******3. Neutral               18 : ******************  [3.4 +/- 1.2]4. Agree                 17 : *****************5. Strongly agree        13 : *************29. Astronomy lab should only be taken after completing the entire semester of astronomy lecture.1. Strongly disagree      9 : *********2. Disagree              24 : ************************  [2.4 +/- 0.9]3. Neutral               21 : *********************4. Agree                  6 : ******5. Strongly agree         1 : *30. This course helped me feel more comfortable with the idea that many values in science are uncertain to some degree.1. Strongly disagree      0 : 2. Disagree               3 : ***3. Neutral               13 : *************4. Agree                 38 : **************************************  [3.8 +/- 0.7]5. Strongly agree         7 : *******`

Previous posts:

## 20100108

### Education research: ALLS demographic results (Cuesta College, Fall Semester 2009)

Student attitudes are assessed using an Astronomy Laboratory Learning Survey (ALLS), a five-point Likert scale questionnaire with demographic questions, and entry/exit evaluation questions (Patrick M. Len, in development) to Astronomy 210L students at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA. This laboratory course is a one-semester, adjunct course to Astronomy 210 lecture, and is taken primarily by students to satisfy their general education science laboratory transfer requirement.

The ALLS is administered as a pre-test on the first laboratory meeting, before any introduction/instruction took place; and as a post-test on the last laboratory meeting.

The results from the pre-test demographic questions follow below. Only matched-pair results are shown, for students who were eventually able to take the post-instruction ALLS at the last laboratory meeting.
`Cuesta CollegeAstronomy Laboratory Learning Survey (ALLS) Demographic pre-instruction question resultsAstronomy 210L Fall Semester 2009 sections 70178, 70186, 70200(N = 63, matched pairs only)16. What is your gender? (A) Female.  [24](B) Male.    [39]17. Have you previously taken an astronomy lecture class? (A) Yes.     [15](B) No.      [47]18. Are you currently enrolled in an astronomy lecture class? (A) Yes.     [45](B) No.      [18]19. How many college science courses have you completed prior to taking this course? (A) None.    [25](B) 1.       [21](C) 2.       [ 5](D) 3.       [ 6](E) 4+.      [ 6]20. What is your college major (or current area(s) of interest if undecided)?  Choose as many areas of interest that apply.  (A) Business.                                  [16](B) Education.                                 [ 9](C) Humanities, Social Sciences, or the Arts.  [26](D) Science, Engineering, or Architecture.     [10](E) Other.                                     [16]21. Which of these college math classes have you completed prior to taking this course?  Choose as many classes that apply.  (A) Algebra.       [49](B) Trigonometry.  [14](C) Geometry.      [22](D) Pre-calculus.  [23](E) Calculus.      [ 7](F) Statistics.    [12]`

Previous post:

## 20100107

### Education research: Astronomy Laboratory Learning Survey (ALLS) version 1.1

Student attitudes are assessed using an Astronomy Laboratory Learning Survey (ALLS), a five-point Likert scale questionnaire with demographic questions, and entry/exit evaluation questions (Patrick M. Len, in development) to Astronomy 210L students at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA. This laboratory course is a one-semester, adjunct course to Astronomy 210 lecture, and is taken primarily by students to satisfy their general education science laboratory transfer requirement.

The ALLS is administered as a pre-test on the first laboratory meeting, before any introduction/instruction takes place; and as a post-test on the last laboratory meeting.

The pre- and post-instruction forms (versions 09.08.21 and 07.12.29, respectively) are reproduced below.

ALLS pre-instruction form, front/back.

ALLS post-instruction form, front/back:

## 20100106

Astronomy 210, Fall Semester 2009
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Students have a weekly online reading assignment (hosted by SurveyMonkey.com), where they answer questions based on reading their textbook, material covered in previous lectures, opinion questions, and/or asking (anonymous) questions or making (anonymous) comments. Full credit is given for completing the online reading assignment before next week's lecture, regardless if whether their answers are correct/incorrect. Selected results/questions/comments are addressed by the instructor at the start of the following lecture.

(The following questions were asked after the last lecture, but prior to the final exam.)

Discuss the most interesting aspect of this course, and explain why this was personally interesting for you. (Graded for completion.)

The following are all of the student responses to this question, verbatim and unedited.
"Learning about the stars and the consellations using the star wheel. Also about learning how to tell how massive a star is by the luminosity and the color, I found that very interesting because to learn that's how they can tell how big a star is and going more in depth that there is massive one, meduim and low mass stars.!"

"i really liked learning about everything in general. i was surprised to find out crop circles are phony."

"I think the most interesting aspect of this course was learning about the different orbits and all of the compositions of different planets."

"The most interesting aspect of this class were the online reading assignments. They really helped me out to get an idea of what was going to be taught before I was actually learned it."

"Honestly, this class was challenging for me, I didn't undertand too many concepts, but what was interesting was see all the crazy stars how many and all the funky names!"

"In general i liked it all because it was very interesting. I liked moon phases, telescopes, planets, the big bang theory, amongst others but the class was fun overall."

"I didn't know that light years (of stars and planets) meant how many years away a body was from Earth."

"It's very difficult to narrow it down to just one. The class as I whole was very enjoyable and very engaging. I found the subject matter to be very fascinating most of the time."

"The second half of the course as a whole was quite interesting...once we started learning about planets and their characteristics"

"I enjoyed the beginning when we learned about constellations and how to find them in the sky, because I can show off my mad astronomer skills. :)"

"The whole thing was very interesting because I really only had basic knowledge of astronomy.
i have always been interested in space. i dunno what the most interesting part would be"

"i really enjoyed learning about our solars system and also the big bang theory. just seemed really interesting"

"I really enjoyed learning about how big our universe really is. That is an aspect right? I don't know. I just didn't realize how truly small we were until I took astronomy. I also liked learning about different star types: low mass, medium mass, massive, etc.!"

"the most interesting part of astronomy class was the star wheel. Throughout the whole semester it was the easiest part of class and it was fun looking up constelations** and shtuff
formation/aspects of black holoes; because i've always wanted to know and now i see it's mind-blowingly (yes, i needed to make up the word blowingly to describe it properly) amazing."

"Um geez personally i liked the lab much better. maybe learning about some star positions so you can actually look into the sky and know more than just the dippers."

"Learning about the planets in our solar system. I think it was interesting to learn how different they are from ours."

"I really enjoyed the real photos of space incredible to think about the vast space that we live in.
the study of the moon phases. I've always had a facination of the moon so now it's exiting knowing which phase each moon is in when ever I look at the sky."

"It was interesting to learn about space! I've never learned anything this massive."

"I liked chapter 1 with the moon phases, the changing positions of stars relative to Earth and also the different star types, the big bang and learning about the drake equation. I generally liked everything."

"I thought that the most interesting part of this course was asking if life exists on other planets because I have always been curious about that."

"the most interesting aspect of this course was learning about the constellations and getting to use the star wheels. i love the stars and everything out in the universe and learning to use the star wheels was a lot of fun."

"I really liked learning about the moon! i guess i really liked it because its always been something i look at with lots and lots of questions!!"

"I enjoyed using the star wheels. It was the most interesting because I could actually look at the sky and know something. The info about planets and stuff like that was not as interesting because I couldn't see it as easy as just looking up in the sky."

"i really thought that the star positioning and moon phases were the most interesting because it was easy to understand and i found a really cool way to remember them"

"I think i'd have to say learning about the stars and using the star wheel because its just something i've always wanted to know how to do... how to find the constellations and stuff."

"I enjoyed the part about the beginning of the universe, it was a good concept to ponder"

"The overall layout of the course. I have never had a lecture course that was so group oriented."

"Moon phases i was always kinda wondering about their patterns"

"How looking farther into space is looking farther into time. I never thought of it that way that's all."

"i liked the cooper cooler effect because it made sense to me and we got to experiment with it ourselves."

"i like the big bang theory...idk i like everything we talked about its hard to pick one
the most interesting part of this course would be learning all about stars and constellations. Getting a star wheel!!"

"I think the most interesting thing to me were the different theories astronomers have had throughout history. It was personally interesting to me because I think it's cool how it has developed and how a long time ago, some theories weren't too far off."

"i loved everything"

"the most interesting aspect of this course was probably learning about the OBAFGKM graph and how the luminosities depended on size and or temperature."

"I really enjoyed P-dog's unconventional lectures and the way the class was run. It definitely took some getting used to but I know that I gained long-term knowledge through the in-class activities and real-life examples, rather than just memorizing information which I would forget after the semester."

"starwheels cuz i like the stars"

"I liked learning about the various planets and how much they differ from one another."

"I got the girls number who sat next to me"

"the milky way... very interesting to learn....."

"The formation of stars and planets, also how size and activity effect lifetimes. I had no idea our planet and our sun were not very old compared to the universe."

"It was all interesting. I've always been interested in space."

"The most interesting part of this course for me was working with groups, it was hard to get used to."

"I really enjoyed the group activities because if i didn't understand what we were learning then the group could help me"

"Learning the creation of the universe the matter and antimatter state is quite mind blowing"

"life of planets"

"constellations because they were interesting"

"I rather enjoyed the moon phases because that is something you can so easily check and explore each night."

"The most interesting part of this course is understanding how the universe began, and trying to grasp all of the material as a whole and conceptually piece together all aspects of the universe in a way that you can understand it when you go to bed at night. How the stars were born, what happens in a black hole, are we the only living organisms in the universe?"

"stuff"

"I thought the big bang theory was very interesting.. It brought interest to me because it deals with the begining of our planets."

"The most interesting aspect of this course was how P-dizzle took the concept of whatever subject he was talking about for astronomy and related it to ordinary things. For example the Turkey and Cornish hen and relating them to planets and how they cool."

"I liked this course beacuse I want to be an astronomer. I enjoyed just learning the material in general."

"the interaction of the students and their different personalities getting along"

"Gaining a better aspect of how things originally formed in the universe, and a better perspective how tiny we are in comparison to the universe. it is enlightening."

"The most interesting aspect of this course was learning about black holes cause I think they're pretty cool and amazing that we know so much about them."

"the most interesting part of the course was the last class, just because it was fun. other than that, learning about black holes and novas and such... cuz mysteries and explosions are just cool"

"I liked the phases of the moon topic, it was the easiest to understand and interesting."

"Its the cosmos. dig it."

"I really liked the course as a whole. I thought it was taught well and the material was presented in a manner that was eas to understand."

"The most interesting aspect of the course was the examples : who farted, cornish hen, cooper cooler. I love examples, makes it easier to remember things."

"The most interesting thing to learn in this class were how stars live their life course. This was interesting to me as I never understood the concepts behind why some stars were brighter than others."

"stars...cause i just love them"

"I really enjoyed the starwheels--though basic it allowed us to gain skills we can use any night."

Discuss the most confusing aspect of this course, and explain why this was personally confusing for you. (Graded for completion.)

The following are all of the student responses to this question, verbatim and unedited.
"Sometimes in the lecture I would feel like I would understand it but when it came to doing the in class assignment on some of them I would be confused or I wasn't sure about how to do it!"

"The most confusing aspect of this course personally was learning the moon phases."

"Learning about star life stages was the most confusing aspect of this course. I always would mix up the different stages with different stars."

"Pretty much all of it to me was confusing so it was frustrating at times..."

"i just could not grasp the concept of absorption, emission, and also i got totally lost when talking about main sequence stars, white and red dwarfs, supergiants. it was very confusing."

"I still don't fully understand star parallax and how it correlates with absolute and apparent magnitude."

"There were a few concepts that I found somewhat challenging to grasp, so there were times I was confused on the material, but overall I can't think of anything that really inhibited my ability to learn."

"Probably learning about the light spectrums...took me a while to distinguish between the three."

"Electrons and all that jovian halo stuff... Because i just didn't really understand it."

"I had the hardest time with the moon cycles. It was just very hard for me to remember it all and then apply it."

"i lot of this class was confusing. it was different than what i expected. momorizing stuff and the really scientific stuff was hard."

"starwheel. definately haha"

"The teaching style was different then I was used to, but I got used to it. Also, the light spectrum was a little difficult for me...don't know why, but it was."

"The whole effing course was confusing and i was super frustrated throughout every lesson, except for the star wheel"

"bing bang; i don't particularly agree with it and see how it is plausible given the physical laws of our universe"

"OH there was one really confusing part but i forgot what it was. somewhere in the middle of the coarse. i think it was right after learning about star death."

"Everything having to do with protons, eletrons..etc that stuff is just over my head."

"Really the first few quizes were the most difficult, some of the wording was a bit abstract, but they got easier as we went along."

"Understanding some concepts was confusing because it wasn't gone over in much detail during class."

"There's a lot of scientific principles that interrelate and sometimes it was hard to make those distinctions and connections between all the concepts."

"Some technical things, like the physics was a little harder to grasp, but it wasn't that bad."

"For me, the most difficult part of this course was understanding the sun and how it works. I was confused about how magnetic fields can create sunspots among other things."

"the most confusing aspect of this course was learning the difference in stars. i had a difficult time trying to understand those concepts."

"The most confusing well nothing really was confusing maybe what we did today in class with the alien thing but its just a lot of memorization"

"Discussing what massive stars and medium-mass stars and low mass stars become was confusing. I still don't think I understand what supernova's and nova's do or what a planetary nebula is.
the most confusing was the absorption line widths."

"ughhh i don't know i think it was learning about telescopes but that's only because i missed the day we went over it."

"None, all of it was presented concisely"

"All of the spectrum business. I didn't understand the overall concept when they were first introduced and from there on I just got more and more mixed up. Just when I thought I knew them backwards and forwards I missed the multiple choice question on the midterm."

"Never quite got a feel for the star wheel. I entered the class late though may have been a factor
HR diagram. I know how to remember OBAFGKM but I don't know what it really stands for."

"Probably the part about the stars and how far away or close they are because there was math involved and you had to remember little equations."

"at first reading and understanding the star graph, with the giants and super giants etc...it was a little confusing, but i got it in the end"

"i had a hard time understanding moon phases but i get it now!"

"The most confusing thing would probably be finding certain things on the star wheel, and the moon phases. I understand some of the concepts, but applying them was sometimes confusing"

"the theory of the big bang"

"the most confusing part was probably learning about the parallax angle just because i honestly didnt get it."

"I was confused about if the groups were randomly generated, why did I keep having the same people in it every other week, and why are there some people I never was in a group with?"

"how planets form..i just didnt get it"

"The most confusing was the star wheel because i can barely read an analog clock."

"She didn't call me back."

"the star wheel hard to use it...."

"Um, why I missed the 8th question on our last quiz. =("

"A lot of it was tough, but none harder than the others."

"Most of the time I didnt feel prepared for the in class activities, so they were the most confusing, either that or trying to take notes."

"The lectures...i didn't really understand a lot of what you were teaching us."

"Little details about how our universe works"

"its was during the first couple of weeks, I still have problems understanding how the planets move"

"the different types of rays and telescope. Just didnt get it"

"I did not enjoy the light spectrum's. They were confusing."

"The most confusing part of this course was really trying to imagine the stars, how big they are in relation to the earth, how hot they are in relation to anything we know (2,000K--what does that even look like!) and so forth. This is space, less than .001% of the population really thinks of it beyond just 'being there.'"

"stuff"

"probably umm i don't know haha"

"The most confusing aspect of this course was not having enough time to go over a subject where all the class was confused. It's is kinda hard to explain because i had no idea what to talk about."

"The most confusing part of this course would probably been some of the in class activities. Sometimes it was hard to relate them to what we were learning in lecture."

"big bang theory....and the evolution part....big assumptions made that dont make sence"

"using your online waiverx site. it was very helpful and convenient once I figured everything out."

"The most confusing aspect of this course was remembering the time line for low/medium/massive stars, it confuses me every time which time line has what in it."

"I don't know, the Big Bang was kind of confusing, wrapping your head around all that happened in such a short amount of time...and like, how? why?"

"The different sizes and temperatures of the stars. i didnt get that smaller stars could be hotter."

"what we did on that last quiz. i bombed it."

"Sometimes it was hard to figure out the right answers to some of the questions the insructer would ask. Most times answers were unclear."

"Memorization. My reading comp. sucks @\$\$."

"The class structure was confusing in general at first... The fact that it was nearly impossible to take notes was confusing... But the group activities and P-Dogg's dedication to helping came through."

"what metal came from what"

"I believe the moon phases confused me the most.. I don't really know why."

Tell a student who is about to take this course next semester what he/she needs to know or to do in order to succeed in this course. (Graded for completion.)

The following are all of the student responses to this question, verbatim and unedited.
"Attend Class everyday, read, ask questions if confused or not sure about something, do online assignments and just hold on tight and enjoy the outerspace adventure with P Dog! =)"

"They should talk with other students during the flashcards to make sure they understand the concepts. They should also read the text book along with the material we learn in class in order to perform up to par on the quizzes."

"I think you either really enjoy and understand it, or it's pretty difficult...get help from the classmates who really understand!!"

"attend each class because missing one can throw you off. pay attention and take good notes, and have P Dog as a teacher because he makes it easy and fun."

"Do your readings, and always show up for class. you'll need every point you can get your hands on.
Make sure you remember to do the online reading assignments. The class overall was very straight forward and self explanatory, but you've got to remember to do those assignments!"

"make sure you study the flashcard questions...usually a good number of the questions come from that selection"

"ASK QUESTIONS. Make sure you understand the material before you leave."

"Study from the sources that are available online because when you do the whole course becomes a lot easier."

"study"

"read the book. haha especially for quizzes"

"You must study the old quizzes, flash card questions, and read. I didn't read much, but I know it would have helped if I did. Also, if you have a question don't be afraid to ask. I would always hear people around me saying they didn't get it, but they never raised their hands to say so. Chances are if you don't get it, someone else doesn't either. Also, doing the old quizzes and sending them to P-Dog to get the right answers helps a lot!"

"I would tell the student that is planning on taking astro to read the book and the chapters a million times and to study all the flashcard questions a gagillion times in order to succeed."

"do the online assignments and try to be intelligent. this isn't a cake class but come now; it's fun, you should do well if you are moderately paying attention."

"You need to know how to take notes from lecture not whats written on the projector. You'll be golden if you can do that."

"Use the flashcard questions, old quizzes, and the book to study."

"Do not miss class, do all of the reading assignments, and in class activities and really pay attention to the lectures."

"Review old quizes from other semesters!!!"

"Do all the in-class assignments, take all the online surveys, study flashcard questions, and study old tests and quizzes and you will be golden."

"They need to pay attention to the in-class presentations and study all the archive tests."

"Obviously, they need to read all the assigned chapters and sometimes reread certain parts that are difficult to understand. Something that has been helpful to me is looking at the flashcard questions outside of class and attempting to answer them."

"go to all the classes, participate in the in-class activities and study everything before every quiz or test in class."

"You dont need to know anything going into the class but deff need to attend class and review for the test and stuff but i had a blast and it is going to be fun!"

"Keep all quizzes."

"you gotta remember the analogies"

"ummm make sure to remember to do the online reading assignments and to pay attention in class."

"How to use as starwheel"

"I still haven't figured it out myself."

"Make sure you get all the points you can (reading assignments online!)"

"Do all the reading assignments. Print out all chapter questions and quizzes."

"I would say study and read the book."

"find friends to go over stuff with you, most of all study FLASH CARD QUESTIONS!!!! they help the most!!!"

"STUDY STUDY STUDY"

"Listen to the lectures more than the book, because the book is more confusing, so if you understand things from the lectures, you will understand the book better"

"don't f**k up"

"to succeed in this course go to every class, honestly its not that bad and itll really help you pass."

"ATTEND THE LECTURES. First of all, 8 points are possible with the in-class activities. Secondly, quizzes and midterms are based on these in-class activities and P-dog's lectures, instead of material directly from the book. I have not opened my textbook since week 3 or 4 and have been doing fine, but I know if it were the other way around I would not be doing as well."

"dont over think shit"

"Study the old tests and in class assignments."

"Free condoms always break"

"Get involved in the activities, don't let the other teammates do all the work. Also, genuinely try and get the right answer on the flash card questions. I hardly touched my book, only as a dictionary of definitions I needed to memorize."

"Go to class and study"

"Take notes all the time."

"Prepare for the test a couple days early to catch up if you didn't feel like goin to the 3 hr class all the time and do the reading assignments"

"just study, and do your assingments"

"pay attention and study"

"Just go to class everyday and you will be fine."

"READ the chapters. TAKE separate notes other than the ones in class. READ THE CHAPTERS. It will be GREATLY beneficial. (Trust me, I failed three of the first quizzes even though I did everything in class--trust me, you aren't doing EVERYTHING--and the reading material is actually mapped out to be easily comprehensible)"

"take it"

"study hard and show up 2 class"

"You need to know that P-dog is the shizz-nit and listen and take notes of his lectures. Also, take the time to read the chapters in the book and go over the sample quizzes and test for more information on subjects p-dog faintly goes over."

"take notes from the powerpoints and actually study for quizzes."

"show up every class and dont drop out"

"Make sure to study before all quizes and tests. show up to class every time. take advantage of group study and extra credit."

"You need to study a decent amount for every quiz/test and read stuff in the book as well as going to class."

"study. don't slack and study. and do the easy stuff! max out on reading assignment and in-class points!"

"go to class, study a little bit."

"I didn't take notes. Do well on the in class activites. check your answers with other groups. do all the reading assignments. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE OLD QUIZZES. What he says is on the test/quiz is going to be on it (ex: if he says its from an old quiz, study that quiz) o yeah keep your old quizzes to look at."

"They need to read the book."

"You need to keep on top of group activities, do the practice quizzes and tests, and read the bold terms. Email trial tests to P-Dogg for corrections and helpful information! He is super helpful.
Track your grade, study group activities, flashcard questions, and old quizzes and tests. Don't stress, P-Dogg is chillllll."

"go to all the classes"

## 20100105

### Physics final exam problem: metal sample specific heat capacity

Physics 205A Final Exam, fall semester 2009
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Cf. Giambattista/Richardson/Richardson, Physics, 2/e, Comprehensive Problem 14.83

A 1.20 kg slab of metal is taken from a container of 100.0° C boiling water, where it was in thermal equilibrium. The metal slab is then placed into a thermally insulated vessel containing 5.00 kg of 25.0° C water. The metal slab and water reach thermal equilibrium at a temperature of 26.2° C. What is the specific heat of this metal, in kJ/(kg·K)? Show your work and explain your reasoning using the properties of heat, temperature, and thermal equilibrium.

• p :
Correct. Sets up an energy balance equation with the internal energy decrease of the metal slab and the internal energy increase of the water summing to zero, or sets them equal to each other (with the appropriate handling of ± signs).
• r:
Nearly correct, but includes minor math errors. As (p), but has a negative specific heat for the metal.
• t:
Nearly correct, but approach has conceptual errors, and/or major/compounded math errors. At least sets up an energy balance equation.
• v:
Implementation of right ideas, but in an inconsistent, incomplete, or unorganized manner. Attempts to derive total heat capacity from C = Q/∆T.
• x:
Implementation of ideas, but credit given for effort rather than merit.
• y:
Irrelevant discussion/effectively blank.
• z:
Blank.

Section 72177
p: 10 students
r: 0 students
t: 0 students
v: 1 student
x: 0 students
y: 2 students
z: 0 students

Sections 70854, 70855
p: 34 students
r: 2 students
t: 2 students
v: 9 students
x: 1 student
y: 0 students
z: 0 students

A sample "p" response (from student 5555):
Another sample "p" response (from student 8128):
A sample "r" response (from student 5685):
A sample "v" response (from student 1448):
Another sample "v" response (from student 4581):

## 20100104

### Physics final exam problem: downhill rolling cylinder

Physics 205A Final Exam, fall semester 2009
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Cf. Giambattista/Richardson/Richardson, Physics, 2/e, Problem 8.59

[20 points.] A 0.45 kg cylinder is released from rest and allowed to roll without slipping down a ramp. If the cylinder is released from a height of 0.80 m above the bottom of the ramp, what is the cylinder's translational speed when it reaches the bottom? Neglect drag. Show your work and explain your reasoning.

• p = 20/20:
Correct. Sets up an energy conservation equation with changes in gravitational potential energy, translational kinetic energy, and rotational kinetic energy summing to zero, and solves for vf (also recognizing v = R·ω for rolling without slipping, and I = (1/2)·m·R2 for a solid cylinder).
• r = 16/20:
Nearly correct, but includes minor math errors. At least specifically recognizes that rotational kinetic energy is relevant, but somehow unable to include it in the energy conservation equation.
• t = 12/20:
Nearly correct, but approach has conceptual errors, and/or major/compounded math errors. Neglects rotational kinetic energy, thus solving for the translational speed of a sliding (point) mass. Or neglects translational kinetic energy, thus solving for the rotational speed of a cylinder given the gravitational potential energy of a falling equivalent point mass.
• v = 8/20:
Implementation of right ideas, but in an inconsistent, incomplete, or unorganized manner. As (t), but energy balance equation (with only two terms) has math errors or minor omissions.
• x = 4/20:
Implementation of ideas, but credit given for effort rather than merit. Garbled attempt at calculating an energy term, or may involve kinematics.
• y = 2/20:
Irrelevant discussion/effectively blank.
• z = 0/20:
Blank.

Section 72177
p: 0 students
r: 0 students
t: 5 students
v: 2 students
x: 4 students
y: 2 students
z: 0 students

Sections 70854, 70855
p: 4 students
r: 2 students
t: 17 students
v: 5 students
x: 16 students
y: 4 students
z: 0 students

A sample "p" response (from student 5555):

Another sample "p" response (from student 9626):

A sample "r" response (from student 7895):

A sample "t" response (from student 1445):

A sample "y" response (from student 2096), with explosive results:

Another sample "y" response (from student 7676), relocating the cylinder and ramp into a zero-g environment:

## 20100103

### Physics final exam problem: coin on turntable

Physics 205A Final Exam, Fall Semester 2009
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Cf. Giambattista/Richardson/Richardson, Physics, 2/e, Problem 5.79

[20 points.] A 0.0023 kg coin is to be placed on a horizontal turntable that will rotate at 4.7 rad/s. The coefficient of static friction between the coin and the turntable is 0.25, and the coin is at a distance of 0.087 m from the center of the turntable. Will the coin stay on the turntable, or begin to slide off? Show your work and explain your reasoning.

• p = 20/20:
Correct. Compares the maximum static friction force with the required net force for uniform circular motion, or the maximum radial acceleration that the static friction force can provide with the radial acceleration at 4.7 rad/s, and interprets relative values correctly to state whether coin would slide off or not.
• r = 16/20:
Nearly correct, but includes minor math errors.
• t = 12/20:
Nearly correct, but approach has conceptual errors, and/or major/compounded math errors. Mixes (correctly calculated magnitudes of) forces and accelerations, or problematic calculation to compare forces or to compare accelerations, but rational comparison of relative values to reach a conclusion.
• v = 8/20:
Implementation of right ideas, but in an inconsistent, incomplete, or unorganized manner. Use of energy conservation or kinematics to calculate quantities to compare.
• x = 4/20:
Implementation of ideas, but credit given for effort rather than merit.
• y = 2/20:
Irrelevant discussion/effectively blank.
• z = 0/20:
Blank.

Section 72177
p: 2 students
r: 0 students
t: 4 students
v: 6 students
x: 0 students
y: 1 student
z: 0 students

Sections 70854, 70855
p: 3 students
r: 2 students
t: 8 students
v: 21 students
x: 11 students
y: 1 student
z: 2 students

A sample "p" response (from student 5555):

Another sample "p" response (from student 9626):

A sample "r" response (from student 2889), using a = w*r^2 instead of a = r*w^2:

A sample "v" response (from student 7895), who appears to be a gambler:

Another sample "v" response (from student 1230), ensuring that the coin will stay on by other means:

A sample "x" response (from student 2022):

Another sample "x" response (from student 1052):