Online reading assignment: motions and cycles (NC campus)

Astronomy 210, spring semester 2013
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 Earth's rotation/precession/revolution/tilt, and the moon's motions and cycles.

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.
"The online presentation was very helpful because there were a lot of pictures."

"The whole reason for the seasons--I didn't know that revolution causes the seasons to change along with the tilt."

"That there are four motions in the sky: rotation, precession, revolution and tilt."

"How astrology is linked to astronomy and how the zodiac signs are evenly spaced around earth. I thought that they were randomly everywhere."

"The phases of the moon were very interesting to me because ever since I was a little kid I was fascinated by the moon and I can't wait to learn about why it looks the way it does."

"That revolution is the motion of Earth around the sun, it takes one year to complete. Also that the sun directly lines up on a different zodiac constellation on certain times of the year."

"I don't really know where I got this from but I always thought the seasons changed because Earth got farther away from the sun. I knew Earth tilted but I thought it moved farther away as well for the seasons to change."

"Australia doesn't see the Big Dipper! I thought everyone could see that or that we all saw the same stars just different times throughout the year."

"I didn't know that over time the sun made a higher arc in the summer and a lower one in the winter because of the way Earth is tilted."
Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"There wasn't anything to be confused on, like at all."

"I didn't really find anything confusing with the reading or the slides. I do have a bit of trouble with the starwheel. I just need a little more practice."

"I found precession confusing and I need a little more clarification on what it exactly does. The spinning top reference helps me understand it a little more, but I could use a bit more explaining on that. But I still don't get exactly what it means and why it's important."

"All the rotation stuff and timing things were confusing because I didn't realize all the different components that went into the seasons, moon phases, etc."

"I need a better visual in order to fully understand all of the Earth's simultaneous movements."

"Telling the difference between a waxing and waning moon, since I think they look similar."
Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"I really like how you let us preview the presentations before class."

"I really like the way that this online reading assignment is an easy way to be held accountable for our reading. Not often an instructor knows how to develop a presentation and asks for specific feedback after every assignment. I'm excited to see what the rest of the semester is like." (So am I.)

"Need a little more explaining of material in class." (This is why we have these online reading assignments--so I will be able to expand upon whatever it is you need more explaining on.)

"How often do you swing dance at the Madonna Inn?" (Nearly each and every week. Why aren't you there?)

"How are you an astronomy teacher if you never took an astronomy class?" (Start with an introductory physics textbook, but pull out all the interesting and awe-inspiring material. All that stuff goes into an astronomy textbook. The dry, boring material that's left behind--yeah, that's what we call physics.)

"Your cat is one good-looking feline." (She has her own Facebook page.)

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