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

Astronomy 210, spring semester 2016
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.
"That Australians can't see the Big Dipper--it made me wonder if there are any constellations we here in the United States can't see that Australians can."

"The moon's phases, because I always thought the moon was really cool and felt I should know them, but never really learned them! Also, I always get excited when I see a full moon so it'll be nice to be able to keep track now."

"That Earth's precession takes 26,000 years, and because of that precession we don't have a permanent north star. It's fascinating to me that it takes that many years to complete one cycle of the alignment of Earth's axis. That's just so long!"

"I was stoked to find out what zodiac signs actually were. I've been asked often what my sign is, and I know I'm a Virgo, but I've never understood why. Now I understand that it actually is defined by a set calendar, and I'm glad to have that cleared up :)"

"I actually loved learning about the flipped classroom, I think it's a really interesting idea."

"I really liked the videos/pictures. They helped me visualize instead of having to just read about it."

"I really liked the idea of a flipped classroom. Last semester I took statistics, and every day I would go into the math lab in the student center to do my homework and get help if needed. Doing that made the class way easier. In that scenario I did pretty much use the professor's lecture as a preview or general idea about the concept and then I would go into the math lab to fully understand it and it worked very well for me."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"The different Earth motions--how can it take 26,000 years for it to complete one cycle of precession, but only 24 hours for it to complete one rotation."

"How to find when the sun would line up with certain zodiac constellations."

"How to properly use the starwheel, and I'm also confused about the moon phases. It doesn't really show what comes first and what comes last."

"The differences between Earth's tilt, rotation, revolution, axis and precession. I know that they each are Earth moving in a different way, but it's really hard for me to differentiate which one is which and picture Earth moving in my head."

"Visually distinguishing the moon phases. I understand the differences between waxing versus waning moon phases, and crescent versus gibbous, but when I look at a photo I still get confused. Thankfully I drew a chart in my notes to help myself!"
"It was not confusing at all."

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.  *********************** [23]
April 25.  [0]
July 4.  * [1]
August 20.  ****** [6]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  ******** [8]

Match these cycles with their approximate duration.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Earth's rotation: 24 hours [97%]
Earth's revolution: one year [90%]
Earth's precession: 26,000 years [97%]
The moon's revolution: one month [97%]

Place these moon phases in chronological order in their cycle (starting with new moon).
(Only correct responses shown, in unscrambled order.)
New moon: first [89%]
Waxing crescent: second [82%]
First quarter: third [87%]
Waxing gibbous: fourth [82%]
Full moon: fifth [82%]
Waning gibbous: sixth [82%]
Third quarter: seventh [79%]
Waning crescent: eighth [71%]

Explain what is different about homework in a flipped class.
"The homework is more of a presentation of what you're going to be working on in the next class."

"Homework in a flipped class is all done online and can be taken at it's own pace with lots of other resources to help them learn."

"The flipped approach entails moving homework into the classroom, where the teacher can give personalized instruction to the students."

"Homework in a flipped class is way better because after class, the student has a better idea of what to do because they had so much face to face time with their teacher beforehand."

"Homework in a flipped class seems more difficult and time consuming because I would be teaching myself, where as a conventional class I'm taking notes and learning, then going home and continuing to learn by doing the homework and going over the information again."

Describe where/when most student learning occurs in a flipped class.
"In a flipped class equal time is shared learning in class and as well at home."

"Most of the learning a student does in a flipped class occurs before the class, in the readings."

"The most student learning should probably occur in class when the teacher gets to interact with the students and answer the questions that might have risen from their readings or studying. In a conventional class most learning is probably outside of class when the student has to review what they heard and wrote down in class as they do their homework to refresh their memory."

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"I am still a little confused on how to use the starwheel to be honest."

"Originally, my zodiac sign is Leo, but in some other astrology systems such as in Japan my zodiac sign is Virgo. My birthday is in early September." (Sounds like astrology in Japan is more legit.)

"It occurred to me that due to precession the locations of the zodiac constellations in the sky would shift slowly, just like Polaris. This made me confused as to whether there is a need for compensating for this in astrological zodiac signs."

"Can we go over how to remember the names of the moon phases?"

"I heard something about five planets lining up in the sky sometime soon and apparently it's going to look really cool. Can you show us?" (Here, let me show that to you.)

"I find the flipped class very interesting, I've never heard of it before."

"So I am actually not entirely sure if I was supposed to do this homework already or if this is next week's homework. I thought it was next week's homework because we haven't gone over this material yet in class, so I'm actually super confused. If this is true, I honestly think it's a little weird that we have homework on stuff that we haven't gone over yet in class." (It is a little weird, but that's the point of the flipped class. The 'homework on stuff we haven't gone over yet in class' is not meant to be comprehensive or complete, but just to start preparing you on the background and terminology for what we will eventually be discussing in class.)

"I like how you do so many activities such that the class isn't just lecture, since it's a long class as that would get boring so quickly. It really helped make the time pass and made the class really interesting."

"If some students have difficulty learning through the 'homework-flipped-in-a-classroom' method, how would you advise those students to do better? Since some students may dislike the many in class activities and flashcard questions, they might be frustrated at slow-paced group learning when they'd prefer the traditional way of learning." (Well, I understand how learning at a faster (or slower) pace than your group is always going to be an issue. However, I would consider being able to explain something to other students as a strong indicator of having mastered the material, and being able to ask questions and clarify things with other students (if you don't quite understand what's going on) as a first-resort resource for learning, before you really need to call over the instructor.)

"Do you enjoy astrophotography, or have you ever tried it? Is that your cat on your hat on your blog photo? What are you and Mrs. P-dog's favorite trails to hike in SLO county?" (Yes, yes, and actually we're just using hikes around SLO to train for backpacking in the Eastern Sierras.)

"With a nickname like 'P-dog' I think you need to rap." (Mrs. P-dog and I DJ swing music at the Madonna Inn. Does that count?)

No comments: