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

Astronomy 210, spring semester 2015
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 found the section on seasons to be very interesting. I had never put too much thought into how the seasons worked. The summer and winter solstice was pretty cool to read about, and the book did a good job with pictures and examples of how seasons happen."

I find the concept of precession interesting because it has such dramatic effects. It is pretty amazing to thing that 4,800 years ago, the Egyptian records show that the celestial pole was the star Thuban. Now the pole is switching toward polaris. And in another 12,000 years the pole will have moved toward Vega."

"I had no idea that the north star was constantly changing, i just always thought it was the same star."

"I thought it was interesting that Earth wobbles while it rotates on its axis and takes approximately 26,000 years to complete one cycle. I never knew this information before I only knew that Earth rotated every 24 hours."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"I found 'pole wandering' to be somewhat confusing because I couldn't really wrap my head around that concept. Is there not always an exact assigned North Star?"

"The difference between rotation and revolution are kind of confusing, but I think it's just going to take examples and some memorization on my part to fully grasp it."

"The textbook says that in January we would see the sun in front of the constellation Sagittarius, and in March it would be in front of Aquarius. Being someone who is intrigued by the zodiac signs and when they correspond with certain months of the year, I'm confused as to why they are different with the sun. Because Sagittarius is December and March is Pisces and Aries...so does it have to do with different planet placement? Stars? The moon?"

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.  **************************** [28]
April 25.  [0]
July 4.  [0]
August 20.  *** [3]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  ** [2]

Match these cycles with their approximate duration.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Earth's rotation: 24 hours [94%]
Earth's revolution: one year [100%]
Earth's precession: 26,000 years [100%]
The moon's revolution: one month [94%]

Place these moon phases in chronological order in their cycle (starting with new moon).
(Only correct responses shown, in unscrambled order.)
New moon: first [94%]
Waxing crescent: second [76%]
First quarter: third [76%]
Waxing gibbous: fourth [73%]
Full moon: fifth [91%]
Waning gibbous: sixth [76%]
Third quarter: seventh [73%]
Waning crescent: eighth [70%]

Explain what is different about homework in a flipped class.
"For homework you go over what you're going to do in the next class meeting."

"Students do their homework at school with the teacher. This allows the teacher to spend more one on one time with the student answering questions and explaining things a little more in depth."

"Homework in a typical class is normally a second look at the information that we have already gone over in class. It's usually a good to to study and get to better know the material. In this flipped class, we are going over the material for the first time. I'm not sure is that will be a good or a bad thing for me. I wouldn't know if my brain was taking in the information the way it was meant to. I might make sense of the material in a different way and feel good about what I know, if I'm still doing the readings and putting in the work."

"This is the first time I've ever had homework like this online. Usually teachers have you turn in written homework."

Describe where/when most student learning occurs in a flipped class.
"Most learning occurs at home, doing homework. Class time is used for clarification and questions."

"In a flipped classroom, most learning is happening pretty equally inside and outside of class. The students have the ability to learn what's going to be discussed prior to class, learn even more information during the class, and then extend their knowledge after class as well."

"On my own time, but I definitely need to hear and see the instructor explain everything in order to feel confident in understanding the material."

"Students learn in the classroom more than they do outside the class."

"It happens at home rather than class."

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"The wording and jargon in this textbook is flying over my head. I can kind of understand what it's explaining....but not really. It needs to be described by a living person that knows what they're talking about... Will you spend a good amount of time explaining in class?" (As needed, where needed. That's why I need you to show me specifically what you understand, and what you are confused on before coming to class, even if it's nothing...or everything.)

"A flipped classroom isn't the best way for me to learn. I like to read the material before going to class and preview the online presentations but I would miss the lectures. For me the best way to learn is to read the material, listen to a lecture that goes into more detail/ explains what the material is, then to work in group activities. I'm not the best at teaching myself." (While there just isn't time to lecture on everything during class, there will still be some time devoted to traditional lecture in class, but selectively on what the class is most interested in and/or confused on.)

"I really appreciate your effort to make the class fun and interactive, a three hour lecture would be too dry and who really has the attention span for three hours of straight lecture. I am impressed with your website too, hands down the best professors’ site I have seen so far. Good layout and easily accessible. Pondering the true size and scale of Earth in respect to our known universe, and the fact that there is even more we do not know, makes me feel insignificant and suicidal." (Thanks. And dang, those are some deep thoughts.)

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