Online reading assignment: history of atoms, Earth, the moon, Mercury (NC campus)

Astronomy 210, fall semester 2012
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 on reading textbook chapters and previewing presentations on history of atoms, Earth, and the impacted worlds: the moon, and Mercury.

Selected/edited responses are given below.

Describe something you found interesting from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally interesting for you.
"By the time the universe was three minutes old, the protons, neutrons and electrons in your body had come into existence."

"The comic strip was awesome! I love it when art and school can be combined so well. It made me feel very small, but in a good way if that makes sense. It was a bamf way to get me to learn astronomy. Thinking about the universe being within us is calming in a way."

"Earth's atmosphere is one of my favorite things to read about because I'm extremely interested in global warming and learning about what effects our atmosphere."

"Not all greenhouse gases are bad."

"How we can tell what features on the moon are older and younger just by looking at the it."
Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"The fact that Earth has evolved over millions of years--and it eventually evolved to support life. Why has this not happened in any other terrestrial planet? It's always been weird to me that the universe is so vast, yet, we still do not have any definitive evidence to show that other life exists. I find this odd and confusing."

"Plate tectonics--although I found this to be interesting I still found it to be confusing and think I only understood the basic concept of what the continental drift is."
Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"Wow, Earth has it all figured out. Volcanoes emit carbon dioxide, the atmosphere traps it which in turn keeps us warm, and oceans reabsorb the carbon dioxide to be recycled back into the volcanoes." (Yes, if nothing goes wrong.)

"John F. Podojil: 'Teaching is not a profession; it's a passion. Without passion for your subject and a desire for your students to learn and be the best in the world, then we have failed as a teacher and failure is not an option.' Not many teachers are passionate for what they teach, and simply from your lectures and explanations of things you can tell you teach from your heart and with passion... Thank you." (You're welcome. And it is certainly hard not to be excited about teaching a bamf subject like astronomy.)

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