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

Astronomy 210, fall 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.
"Seasons are not caused by distance between the earth and sun, but by the amount of solar energy received in the northern and southern hemispheres at different times of the year."

"At certain points of the precession there is no north star. I always thought there was just one north star so I thought it was interesting to learn that the north star changes and sometimes it doesn't exist."

"'Sun-sign' astrology--it amazes me that if you could look directly at both the sun and stars every day for a month you would see the same constellation, but each month Earth is directly signed up with a new one."

"As a child my parents would bring me and my brother out every night to spot the Big Dipper. Yet Australians never see the Big Dipper."

"The lunar phases--I have always loved looking at the moon, so it was interesting to actually know what the phases are."

"It's fascinating to know that the changing shape of the moon as it passes through its cycle of phases is produced by sunlight illuminating different parts of the side of the moon that we see."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"Looking at pictures and deciding which type of moon is shown is personally confusing for me. I have difficulties telling the difference between waxing or waning and crescent, gibbous, and quarter."

"I don't know why but I couldn't really wrap my mind around Earth's precession and it taking 26,000 years."

"I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around it to visualize the celestial sphere."

"Precession and pole-wandering."

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.  *************** [15]
April 25.  * [1]
July 4.  [0]
August 20.  ***** [5]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  ****** [6]

Match these cycles with their approximate duration.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Earth's rotation: 24 hours [85%]
Earth's revolution: one year [50%]
Earth's precession: 26,000 years [96%]
The moon's revolution: one month [74%]

Place these moon phases in chronological order in their cycle (starting with new moon).
(Only correct responses shown, in unscrambled order.)
New moon: first [93%]
Waxing crescent: second [67%]
First quarter: third [70%]
Waxing gibbous: fourth [63%]
Full moon: fifth [85%]
Waning gibbous: sixth [56%]
Third quarter: seventh [59%]
Waning crescent: eighth [59%]

Explain what is different about homework in a flipped class.
"When doing homework, students have access to presentations and other notes that the teacher puts online so the students can look something over again."

"More ways to learn, for many different types of learning. Students can learn at their own pace and bring questions to class."

"The difference about homework in a flipped class is that the student is give the next class material in advance and given the opportunity better understand what going to be talked about in the next lecture."

"Homework in a flipped class is what you would normally learn in class but is done before, so the teacher is free to assign more hands-on activities in class."

"Students are able to complete reading assignments and other assignments at their own pace, making it easier to learn the material."

"In a flipped class you do a lot of your learning online, and this brings you to class with some pre-existing knowledge."

Describe where/when most student learning occurs in a flipped class.
"Most of the learning happens during the class time. What students had read before class gets reinforced. Students get more hands on work so the teacher also has the opportunity to help students fill in any gaps they have about the material."

"In the classroom where the student can clarify any subjects they weren't too sure on."

"Usually you read the lectures at home on your own time. So I would say that's where you would learn the most in a flipped class."

"The most student learning occurs independently, which the instructor there to help with any questions in class."

"Most learning occurs in class because you have studied before and get questions answered and explained."

"In the classroom."

"At home."

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"Which one do you like better, Star Trek or Star Wars? (I'm Star Wars' #1 fan!)

"I'm really looking forward to this class and am excited to experience the flipped classroom!" (Me, too.)

"P-dog, are we allowed to listen to music while in class? Just in one ear, it helps me concentrate." (I'm going to say no. But be thankful you have two ears--I only have one.)

"In this class will we be talking about astrology? I'm some what curious to find out if astrology can make accurate predictions about my future." (My horoscope says...yes. Yes, we will be learning about astrology.)

"Is Mars really going to be spectacularly visible on August 27th?" (Snopes.com says no.)

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