Poster: "Current Events Quiz at Start of Introductory Astronomy Laboratory Promotes Student Promptness and Awareness" (Cosmos in the Classroom 2010)

"100712 Poster"
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Poster presented at the Astronomy Society of the Pacific Cosmos in the Classroom National Symposium on Teaching Astronomy for Non-Science Majors, August 2-4, 2010, University Memorial Center (UMC) Ballroom, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.

Methodology (tinyurl.com/CEQsamples)
      Several (3-5) online current astronomy news articles are posted on the course webpage, along with links to sunrise/set times and moon phases.
      Students are given 10 minutes at the start of laboratory to complete the quiz, typically finishing within 2-5 minutes. Late students are only given the time remaining.
      Quizzes are hand-graded such that students with perfect scores are notified verbally during laboratory ("Today, you are a stargeek!"). Later in the week, scores are recorded, and responses are compiled and posted on an education research blog. Graded current events quizzes are handed back to the students in the following laboratory.

One week before lab:
      Astronomy news articles selected, current events quiz written.
One week to 10 minutes before lab:
      Students study online links.
Start to 10 minutes after start of lab:
      Students take current events quiz.
10 minutes to 1 hour after start of lab:
      Current event quizzes graded, students with perfect scores ("stargeeks") notified.
One week after lab:
      Student responses compiled and posted on education research blog, for validation/reference, current events quizzes handed back in the following lab.

Analysis (tinyurl.com/ALLSresults)
      Student attitudes were assessed using an Astronomy Laboratory Learning Survey (ALLS), a five-point Likert scale of demographic, attitude, and course evaluation questions (Len, in development), administered to students during the first and last laboratory meetings.
      ALLS results from 2009-2010 show significant pre- to post-instruction positive attitude gains in responding to "I know where and how to look up astronomy information" (p < 0.0001, <g> ≈ +0.6). In contrast, there are no statistically significant shifts in attitudes in regards to "Astronomy has little relation to what I experience in the real world," and "I am interested in news that is related to astronomy," which is consistent with earlier findings of static student attitudes in introductory astronomy lecture (Zeilik and Morris, 2003).

Findings (tinyurl.com/2exuf7u)
      On average, only two students arrive to laboratory too late each week to take the current events quiz (out of three sections of 25 students each).
      Overall, current events quizzes have an average score of 77% ± 22%.
      Students look forward to being notified later during laboratory of "stargeek" status (a perfect current events quiz score), and strive with each other to achieve this.

      Sample current events questions: tinyurl.com/CEQsamples.
      Zeilik, M. & Morris, V. J. 2003, "An Examination of Misconceptions in an Astronomy Course for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Majors," Astronomy Education Review, 2(1), 101.

      Travel grant from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and sponsors (NASA Lunar Science Institute, University of Arizona Center for Astronomy Education, Chandra Space Telescope EPO Program, NASA Planck Mission).

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