Astronomy midterm question: winter coming when Orion rises in evening?

Astronomy 210 Midterm 1, spring semester 2016
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

The following story relates how the constellation Orion is used to track the coming of winter[*]:
Orion is a sure sign that winter is near. During the first two weeks of December you can see Orion beginning to emerge above the eastern horizon in the early evening.
Discuss why this description of Orion is plausible for an observer in San Luis Obispo, CA. Defend your answer by clearly explaining how you used your starwheel to do this, along with any assumptions that you may have made.

[*] souledout.org/nightsky/orionavigation/orionavigation.html.

Solution and grading rubric:
  • p:
    Correct. Discussion includes the following:
    1. sets starwheel to some date in the first two weeks of December at a plausible "early evening" time;
    2. verifies that Orion is "beginning to emerge" from the eastern horizon.
  • r:
    Nearly correct (explanation weak, unclear or only nearly complete); includes extraneous/tangential information; or has minor errors.
  • t:
    Contains right ideas, but discussion is unclear/incomplete or contains major errors.
  • v:
    Limited relevant discussion of supporting evidence of at least some merit, but in an inconsistent or unclear manner. At least attempts to use starwheel in a systematic manner to locate Orion in the sky at certain dates/times.
  • x:
    Implementation/application of ideas, but credit given for effort rather than merit. Discussion not clearly based on using a starwheel in a systematic manner.
  • y:
    Irrelevant discussion/effectively blank.
  • z:
Grading distribution:
Section 30674
Exam code: midterm01n0rD
p: 19 students
r: 0 students
t: 0 students
v: 3 students
x: 0 students
y: 0 students
z: 0 students

A sample "p" response (from student 0414):

A sample "p" response (from student 1597):

No comments: