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

Astronomy 210, fall semester 2018
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.
"One specific thing I found interesting form the 'Flipping the Classroom: Explained' video was that it never really occurred to me how I've never really experienced learning in a flipped classroom. I believe that more interaction with students in the classroom can help students feel more comfortable in class, in which feel welcomed to seek for help when needed."

"The idea of a flipped classroom sounds much more productive and very beneficial to any student in a class. I'm disappointed that teachers in high school never approached teaching a class with this method."

"When the textbook began talking about how astronomers in Australia would never get the chance to see our specific set of constellations vs theirs from their point on earth. It's almost as if were viewing unlimited amounts of space in one direction, and they were viewing unlimited amounts of space in a different direction."

"I think the slides about the zodiac are really interesting due to the stigma surrounding it. Why and how did we end up using twelve 'animals' to describe constellations if they don't exist in space at all and seem in my eyes completely irrelevant aside from maybe the shapes the constellations form?"

"I found the moon cycles very interesting. I didn’t know a lot of the correct termology so it was interesting to learn."

"The lunar cycles are surprisingly the most interesting and intriguing to learn about. In eighth grade, my science teacher played a "Phases of the Moon" rap song on Youtube and I've never been able to get it out of my head. I didn't pay attention enough to actually learn the phases, but now I can listen to the song and know what they are talking about."

"That the range of time frames for Earth's rotation, precession, revolution, and tilt varies so broadly. It ranges from rotation being 24 hours, to precession being 26,000 years. It's crazy that we have those statistics!"

"The presentation preview that involved everything about the moon was most interesting for me. The terms such as waxing, waning, and gibbous are bizarre but intrigued me. It's fascinating that the moon takes just four weeks to make a complete cycle, while Earth and the other planets in our solar system take a year or more. I've always been interested in all aspects of nightlife, for that's when you get the best view of what's above us. I've heard the terms that revolve around the moon but never really understood what they meant until reading through this presentation."

"That the Moon always keeps the same side facing Earth and you never see the far side of the moon. I never knew that and I guess assumed that we've seen all around the moon when we see it in the sky. I thought this was interesting because I have a telescope at home and am always looking at the moon, but for all these months, I had no idea it was the same side of the moon."

"That so many car company named models of car or used a symbol based on space. After reading how star stars got there names, and doing a little google searching, it's even cooler to know that some car company picked specific constellations with Latin or geek meaning. Example, Subaru's logo of the star cluster in the Taurus constellation."

"Earth rotating with tilted angle like a top was both interesting and confounding."

"That there were GIFs and pictures to go with the text in the presentation slides previews."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"How to differentiate Earth's various motions and cycles."

"How to tell if the moon is waxing or waning. I understand what the terms mean, but how can I tell if its getting less or more full by looking at one picture?"

"I found the phases of the moon sort of confusing. It is just a bit overwhelming to understand what phase the moon is exactly in. It is easy to confuse the waning and waxing moons for me because a couple of them just look alike."

"The presentation preview that involved the zodiac signs was easy to understand, but I had one question. What's the difference between the zodiac you have for your birth date, and then your 'sun-sign?' Will your sun-sign change depending on the point that Earth is at in its revolution around the sun? That was one confusing bit of information for me, as I've always just defaulted to Taurus, which is the season that April 23rd (my birthday) falls into."

"Precession was hard for me to understand. I am a very visual learner and it was difficult for me to read the explanation of how precession works and visualize it. I understood from the diagram in the textbook some of what it was saying, but it was hard in the textbook grasp the whole concept."

"Flipped classroom? I am unsure about this model of teaching as I have never personally been in a class like this."

The constellation Virgo is just above the east horizon, as seen by an observer at 11 PM in San Luis Obispo, CA. What date is this? (Ignore daylight saving time.)
February 20.  ********************* [21]
April 25.  ** [2]
July 4.  [0]
August 20.  * [1]
(Unsure/guessing/lost/help!)  **** [4]

Match these cycles with their approximate duration.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Earth's rotation: 24 hours [100%]
Earth's revolution: one year [96%]
Earth's precession: 26,000 years [89%]
The moon's revolution: one month [86%]
I believe astrology is able to make accurate predictions about my future. (This is just an opinion question, there are no right answers.)
Strongly disagree.  ***** [5]
Disagree.  ******** [8]
Neutral.  ******** [8]
Agree.  ****** [6]
Strongly agree.  * [1]

Briefly explain your answer regarding your belief/disbelief in astrology. (This is just an opinion question, there are no right answers.)
"I don't believe in a set of constellations being able to predict or have my future in mind."

"I don't see how it could matter, which stars were in certain places in the sky during the time you were born. It doesn't make sense. Also, the differences between people are so vast and to say there could only be 12 categories (at most) for the 7 billion people alive today to fit into, seems like a huge generalization to me."

"I just think we make our lives how we want it. Nobody and nothing should (and I don't think does) determine what we are destined for throughout our lifetime."

"It's pseudoscience and has no effect on anyone's life. It bears no scientific weight."

"I think when it comes to my own opinions and beliefs about astrology, they seem to be 50-50. The part of me that believes that astrology is able to make accurate predictions about my future, is because for an instance or two, I've read my horoscope one day and seemingly enough it seemed to go pretty hand in hand with accuracy. The other part of me that thinks it's not actually real, is that other people including myself, talk me into thinking it was just a coincidence."

"I mind astrology interesting however I do not believe everything that it involves."

"I feel that a lot of people born around the same time of year show similar personality traits that make me believe that astrology can predict how people will react to one another based on these traits making it easier to give an idea of what might happen in the future."

"The reason I believe s strongly in astrology is because my mom has always been a strong believer in it as well. Also I have always looked my horoscope and it usually always alines with what is going on in my life at that time. Also my zodiac sign personality traits are spot on for who I am as a person and so I do believe very strongly about astrology."

"I believe astrology can make accurate predictions about my present life, rather than the future. I don't think it's possible for anything to tell us the future, but I do think astrology reflects real things."

"Honestly, I do think that astrology has some kind of impact on our future and our moods over time. I also read some horoscopes involving how my week/month is going to go because of the alignments of the planets. And sometimes it's so accurate and other times it's not as much, so I have a mixed opinion on it, but I also don't have a lot of knowledge on it. I want to learn about it more though!"

"I don't know much about astrology but I would love to learn more about it!"

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 [75%]
First quarter: third [86%]
Waxing gibbous: fourth [75%]
Full moon: fifth [75%]
Waning gibbous: sixth [71%]
Third quarter: seventh [79%]
Waning crescent: eighth [64%]

Explain what is different about homework in a flipped class.
"Well the homework is mostly based around applying ourselves with the knowledge we learned whilst learning about other information to apply in future classes. I know them by 'hybrid' style classes which is the same thing but by a different name."

"In a flipped classroom, the homework is all on the computer. It can easily be accessed from the class website and you never have to work about losing your homework papers. Students also have the ability to do their homework on their own time and at their own pace. In a conventional class, homework is usually putting pencil to paper and having to spend a ton of time on it. With this class setup, homework is usually due the next day. Some students who understand the material might be fine with that, but others who are confused about the material tend to feel rushed and ultimately never end up understanding any of it."

"What is different about homework in a flipped class then homework in a regular class is, in a regular class you have material to study before class, then have to sit to the same repetitive lecture in class and then for homework you are completely on your own. In a flipped class environment you have access to the instructor's lectures ahead of time, then in class you can seek clarification on anything you were confused about the lecture and actually get to use the concepts you learned on the lecture and put them into use into class. Then for homework you have a better understanding of what you are going into because you have gotten more face time with the teacher to answer questions and also have access of the lectures to help you with your homework."

"Homework in a flipped class will essentially be easier to complete vs homework in a conventional class. Often homework in a conventional class is done before a student even learns to material, and the student struggles through homework. Whereas homework in a flipped class is to review of what was taught during class. Students also have access to the lecture material before the class to clarify or ask questions during class to get a better understanding of materials."

Describe where/when most student learning occurs in a flipped class.
"Outside of class due to us being able to see what the teacher will be talking next to make it so we can comprehend what is being talked about at our own pace."

"Most students learning should occur with classmates in a flipped class,rather, in a conventional class most learning should occur independently."

"I think most learning happens outside of the classroom, but then I guess it depends on the student. One student may learn a lot from simply reading through and studying the lecture before class. Whereas another student might learn more from the hands on part of the learning, after the lecture has been read at home."

Pick one piece of student advice from the previous semester, and discuss why you agree (or disagree) with it.
"'DO YOUR HOMEWORK!' After doing the homework and reading about the flipped classroom, I can see why homework is an essential portion to this class. Since a majority of our learning is on us, spending class time reviewing unclear or confusing topics, you have to make sure or are covering topics outlined in the homework."

"'Study StUdY STUDY! Get a group of people from your class and study for all quizzes/exams/midterms, anything! It will help you out a lot and don't slack off.' I agree with this piece of advice. In past-semester I have found that working in groups is very helpful. Having at least 2 brains on an assignment is better than one. Also studying the all material before quizzes and exam. One would think that this is a silly piece of advice, but its good reminder that no class is easy. You still have to put in the effort to get a good grade, and to learn the maternal."

"'DO THE READING ASSIGNMENTS. ATTEND EVERY LECTURE. BE AMAZED BY SPACE.' This is a solid piece of advice given that it addresses completing classwork, attendance, and actually taking time to enjoy what you are here to learn about."

"'Don't procrastinate, go to class, and do the readings! They help immensely with following along in class.' I agree with this student advice quote the most out of all of them because I am a self-admitted procrastinator, and I need all the reminders I can get to NOT do that."

"'Be curious and ask questions.' I agree with this advice, mostly because I hope this piece of advice sticks with me throughout the semester and it's a great subject to have many questions for."

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"Do you prefer teaching physics or astronomy?" (Probably astronomy, as students generally want to learn astronomy; as opposed to physics, where students are forced to take that class.)

"From what I've experienced in the first class and from the assigned reading, astronomy is very interesting to me and I am a big fan of how you run your class. I look forward to the next class."

"How did you come to pick the flipped classroom model of teaching for your classes?" (From attending astronomy education research conferences, studies show that students will learn more efficiently in an active learning environment such as a flipped class.)

"Are the questions on the quizzes going to be picked from the question packets you give us or do you just have another set of questions we don't have access to?" (There are always new questions for each quiz, but those types of questions will always be very similar to the samples in the question packets.)

"This more of a confirmation question, but the moon doesn't rotate, correct?" (It depends on how you define "rotate." This is a question that is argued about a lot.)

"Will all homework be on SurveyMonkey?" (Yes.)

"Do you recommend we bring a laptop or tablet to follow the material as you teach?" (If you find that useful for your style of learning.)

"Could you go over the moon phases in order in class with us?" (Yes, we'll do that.)

"Roughly what is the percent of lecture on an exam versus the percent of textbook material on an exam?" (It depends on the subject matter--starwheel questions will basically be all from in-class stuff (as that's where we practiced using them); while history of astronomy questions will be mainly from the textbook), with most topics somewhere in-between lecture and textbook material.)

"Never thought I'd have this amount of interest and joy while doing homework."

"What is the device you wear on your collar?" (It's the microphone for my hearing aid--I have profound sensorineural hearing loss.)

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