Online reading assignment: flipped classroom, motions and cycles (SLO campus)

Astronomy 210, spring semester 2014
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, the moon's motions and cycles, and watching two video presentations on the flipped class: "What Is the Flipped Class?" and "How the Flipped Classroom Works."

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.
"I never realized that the moon waxed from right to left. I don't know why that had never occured to me before, but I always thought it went the other way!"

"How the north star is always changing. It's interesting because I've always been told that Polaris is the north star. Technically, it is for our lifetime."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"I think I found visualizing how everything rotates and revolves around each other and there different positions to be kind of hard. I would love to see some kind of visualization or video that could tie in everything. Thinking of a celestial sphere, but also we are rotating and revolving and precession and those take different times and speeds gets kind of jumbled in my head."

"The waxing, waning, crescent and gibbous moon phases are confusing. The definitions totally make sense and I understand them, but when it came to looking at pictures and trying to figure out which one was each picture, it became confusing to distinguish which moon was which. I could use some review in class on the different moons and what they look like and how to distinguish them from each other if there is time."

What date would Virgo be just above the east horizon, as seen by an observer at 11 PM in San Luis Obispo, CA? (Ignore daylight saving time.)
February 20.  **************** [16]
April 25.  * [1]
July 4.  [0]
August 20.  ***** [5]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  *** [3]

Match these cycles with their approximate duration.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Earth's rotation: 24 hours [96%]
Earth's revolution: one year [88%]
Earth's precession: 26,000 years [92%]
The moon's revolution: one month [84%]

Place these moon phases in chronological order in their cycle (starting with new moon).
(Only correct responses shown, in unscrambled order.)
New moon: first [92%]
Waxing crescent: second [64%]
First quarter: third [68%]
Waxing gibbous: fourth [60%]
Full moon: fifth [88%]
Waning gibbous: sixth [64%]
Third quarter: seventh [64%]
Waning crescent: eighth [60%]

Explain what is different about homework in a flipped class.
"The about homework in a flipped class is that you get a feel for what is going to be talked about in class ahead of time and you can get help from a teacher and class mates instead of sitting through a lecture and trying to apply the knowledge all by yourself."

"It seems that the homework is effectively preparing for the next class's activities rather than just stuffing your brain with information simply to do it again in class. I think that this class program would be good for some types of classes and poor for others (math, for example)."

Describe where/when most student learning occurs in a flipped class.
"Most of the learning happens before class and is expressed during class with helpful guidance."

"In a flipped class, most student learning is happening during class. This is the time where students are participating in activities, interacting with each other, and asking questions."

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"I'm really looking forward to this class and all that I can learn! I really enjoy the way the homework is set up as well. When will we receive grades for homework, quizzes and exams? A week after they are due or when you can get to grading them?" (After each quiz, all the points leading up to it will be posted online.)

"I sort of really enjoy the flipped class idea. Makes me feel like I'm coming into class with some more knowledge than I would otherwise."

"I'd like to know what you, the expert thinks of astrology. Do you believe that it holds any weight in your future?" (Let me consult the Magic 8 BallTM to answer that.)

"Do you have pets?" (A Miniature Schnauzer, a Pixiebob cat, and a Bengal cat with her own Facebook page.)

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