Presentation: marketplace astronomy

Before we begin, let's watch everything you will be learning this semester in this course in a movie less than seven minutes long. There is no narration for this movie--just enjoy the show for now. But by at the end of this semester, you should be able to narrate this movie for yourselves--or at least tell something about what you learned at each step. (Video link: "The Known Universe by AMNH (American Museum of Natural History).")

Today we'll participate in something called "Marketplace Astronomy" (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)).

Since will be your very first in-class activity for this course, let's explain a few things before we get started.

Find your assigned group and your assigned seating for today. (You'll be working with different groups each class, so eventually you'll get to meet everyone else in this class.)

Notice that everyone appears as a dog, cat, bear, or bunny on the roster sheets, so after you find your assigned seating, group pictures will be taken, and your faces will be cropped out. (Anyone notice the degrees of separation between these people? Also note that these are not the real faces for these names.)

When you get your group worksheets, discuss and list at least five astronomy-related car brands--they can either be makes or models, and can be classic and/or current cars.

Then list some astronomy-related name brands you would find at a supermarket. Think of at least five food-related brand names, and at least five non-food related brand names. (Now would alcohol be considered a food, or non-food item? Hey, that's your call.)

Even though you might find DVDs, books, and miscellaneous merchandise at a supermarket, avoid any astronomy-related TV shows, movies and books, as these would be too obvious. (You know who you are, "trekkers" and "twihards.")

Also answer a few other questions on the worksheet, such as:
  • List at least three astronomy-related concepts you expect to be interesting.
  • List at least three astronomy-related concepts you expect to be confusing.
  • Ask at least one question, or make a comment that you would like the instructor to respond to at the end of this in-class activity.

When your group has completed with the worksheet, turn it in at the front of the class, and we will have a whole-class discussion to share your responses.

Now let's take a look at the some results from previous semesters.

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