20190130

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

Astronomy 210, spring semester 2019
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.
"Star trails and how looking in a certain direction can change the path of them. I found this interesting because prior to reading this section, I didn't know that looking north as opposed to south could change the path you see so drastically."

"How Polaris (located near the north celestial pole) hardy moves, but other stars circle the celestial pole as the sky appears to rotate westward."

"What stars you can see depends on your latitude. The people in Australia see many stars versus North America."

"The different terms for Earth's rotation, revolution, and precession was confusing to me at first. I think it was probably the different terms and remembering how much time each one took to complete."

"The precession of Earth's axis, because it is like a top that is spinning."

"How many different ways the Earth moves. I had always pictured the earth just rotating in a simple circle--I had never considered that Earth could spin, wobble and tilt all at once. I'm still not 100% on exactly how all of these movements occur, but it's definitely an interesting concept that I had simply never comprehended before."

"Explanation of the seasons; learning the tilt of the planet's axis controls our weather."

"Even when Earth is at perihelion in January, it doesn't affect the seasons. The fact that Earth is closest to the Sun then but not blasting hot in January is fascinating."

"Zodiac signs aren't just something that social media made up as a trend, but however the position the sun is at compared to the stars (as seen from Earth)."

"Phases of the moon. I didn't really know that we see the same side of the moon everyday but because of the shadows it it appears differently."

"While at first I was confused about this term, I found it very interesting and funny that the border between the lit and dark sides of the moon was called the terminator. I never would have guessed that."

"I never understood why the moon could sometimes be out during the day, but the last point you made about revolution and rotation of the earth and moon happening simultaneously made me feel like the heavens were opened up to me in a blast of blissful understanding."

"The idea of a flipped classroom. Doing preparatory work and studying independently, then coming to class for clarifications and knowledge reinforcement is very interesting."

"I found the flipped classroom very interesting; I had never really thought of that before or had a teacher do that."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"Being able to read the starwheel still."

"How does one determine precession? I don't understand how it one is able to calculate something from 26,000 years ago, when there was no understanding of precession at that time?"

"What Earth's precession is and how its cycle is 26,000 years."

"Some of the moon phases still kind of confuse me. Like the waxing, waning, gibbous. The blog post kind of helped but I still have a hard time distinguishing it."

"At this moment I feel a little overwhelmed with all the terminology, but I feel is the matter of hearing it, studying more and simply getting adjusted. I really enjoy the pictures/animations as I am a visual learner."

"So far pretty much anything graphical is a bit confusing to me. I just see a bunch of words. I think maybe because already there are a bunch of terms, names of stars, and constellations and I'm just thinking, 'so many white dots.'"

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. ******************* [19] April 25. * [1] July 4. ** [2] August 20. * [1] (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!) ********* [9]

Match these cycles with their approximate duration.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Earth's rotation: 24 hours [100%]
Earth's revolution: one year [78%]
Earth's precession: 26,000 years [97%]
The moon's revolution: one month [87%]
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. *********** [11] Disagree. ***** [5] Neutral. ********* [9] Agree. ***** [5] Strongly agree. ** [2]

"I don't believe in astrology because there's no scientific evidence that shows what date your born on constructs your personality. I think its an excuse for people to act certain ways because they can blame it on the stars."

"There was a time my life completely went down hill which resulted for me to become in tune with myself and everything else around me. I then began picking up books, which furthered my horizons on what to believe. I then started realizing a lot of things that I'd ask myself was that a coincidence? And later began finding a really big interest in astrology, numerology, etc. I am still learning and I am fascinated on what I am discovering which leads me to having an opinion on how I feel about this subject. :)"

"I find it superinteresting, I love to read my horoscopes because I find it fun. I don't necessarily think it predicts my future but I've found they can be accurate in personalities and such with vagueness."

"I don't know too much about astrology, but when others have told me about their own belief and how it relates to themselves I could see what they were getting at. I've also heard the basics when it comes to Capricorns and stars being aligned and so on and I guess I can see the stereotypes (common attributes) being true."

"I find it hard to belive that astrology can influence every sinlge persons future."

"I feel very connected to the world around me and that there is an energy that runs through the living and nonliving that is all connected. To say that the moon and stars and galaxies are exempt from this could mean discrediting any and all possibility of exploring this concept, which would be a disservice to those who also feel without needing to see."

"I believe that astrology can affect the weather and the tides, but when it comes to affecting my personality and my career I don't think the stars have anything to do with it."

"I don't believe that stars in the sky have an impact on the fate of my future, the stars have existed for millennia before us and have the same patterns over those years."

"I really have no opinion at all about it"

"My disbelief in astrology comes from my spiritual faith and guidance..."

"Wouldn't make any sense."

"How do the stars make me the person I am? I know people with the same sign as me and we are completely different."

"I feel as though the stars cannot determine who I am as a person, but rather it is in my control. The same goes for my future and moods."

"We as humans have an incredible knack for identifying patterns, and I believe we have structured astrology in a manner where everyone, if they choose to do so, may be able to find or apply these patterns within and throughout their own personality traits (kinda like confirmation bias)."

"I believe that spirituality as well as science and math harmonize at certain points. I believe the mapping of the physical positions of the planets have correlation to one's personality. Our personalities are also simply defined through atoms shifting through our physical vessels with the force of gravity. Rooms have different energies depending on what vessels are placed in it, so why would Earth be any different? Earth is placed in the room of our solar system, and its energies constantly shift."

"I think that astrology can make some predictions."

"I believe that a well-educated astrologist can predict our future based on our quality of life and history, but if we change the way we do things, those predictions can change. Nothing is set in stone and many things can happen in our life."

"I agree but don't strongly agree because there are predictions based on astrology that aren't right a lot."

"I don't believe that inanimate objects can determine the future, or alter the universe in any manner."

"I believe the stars and planets will be where they say they will be but we do not know enough information from this course to know just yet."

"I just don't think the position of the earth around the sun at the time of one's birth can actually significantly affect a person's future or behavior."

"I believe in science."

"There is no evidence to suggest that the pseudoscience of astrology has any truth behind it."

"I believe astrology can accurately predict what the earth's future is to an extent, because we don't know completely what is happening out in space at all times and there could be things in space that we have not accounted for yet."

"I have not seen any peer reviewed academic studies regarding astrology. If I do see any, my mind will change."

"I think astrology is interesting, but when I think about it, it's mostly the zodiac signs that I know about. I think that maybe their are some characteristics that could be shown in people from the zodiac signs but I wouldn't necessarily say that most decisions should come from that."

"I do not really know much about astrology so I do not have an opinion on it's ability to make accurate predictions about my future."

"I have never seen or read scientific evidence that proves astrology to be accurate."

"Astrology is comforting to ignorant people who crave simple explanations to complicated, nuanced questions. Astrology is as relevant in explaining an individuals behavior as crystals and tarot card readings, which is to say that it is complete bullshit. Space is so vast and complex that I find it laughable people dumb it down into a series of human qualities like "\'Oh he's a Leo so he is very prideful but irresponsible with finances?!?' Ha ha. Whatever dude."

"I have not seen hard evidence to support astrology. Even the textbook defines it as a pseudoscience."

"More of a disbelief although there is some correlation to human interaction and although I find some horoscopes to be intriguing, I don't believe that they are based on any actual facts. That's not saying that they can't be accurate, there is just no evidence backing it up. It's a pseudoscience."

"Whenever I read my horoscopes they seem to be right???"

Place these moon phases in chronological order in their cycle (starting with new moon).
(Only correct responses shown, in unscrambled order.)
New moon: first [97%]
Waxing crescent: second [88%]
First quarter: third [91%]
Waxing gibbous: fourth [%84]
Full moon: fifth [88%]
Waning gibbous: sixth [81%]
Third quarter: seventh [84%]
Waning crescent: eighth [84%]

Explain what is different about homework in a flipped class.
"Students have access to the teacher's lecture beforehand, so questions can be asked during the in-class lectures and more time is available for group work."

"Flipped classrooms is when a teacher posts the material they are going to study online for the students to look at before class as many times as they need."

"We will be learning the material at home from lessons you assign us, then when we make it to class we will not have to go over it all again just the subjects we had a difficult time with to discuss with the instructor and peers."

"Homework is usually preparation for the next class, including preview/review of lecture materials."

"Completing homework in a flipped class is more engaging as whereas conventional is more text book centered. A flipped class allows more hands on it allows more activities in the class room and time for professor to clarify any questions/concerns."

Describe where/when most student learning occurs in a flipped class.
"Most learning should occur before class, during the study of lectures or notes previously prepared by the instructor."

"Most of the learning will be done in the classroom as students have seen the material prior to class and are aware of what will be presented. Once in class, the students will have time to ask any questions and clarify any concepts that weren't clear."

"If I understand correctly, I think it splits the learning equally, but the breadth of learning is done independently, and depth may be done in class. Personally, I learn quite a bit by doing, but others may feel differently."

Pick one piece of student advice from the previous semester, and discuss why you agree (or disagree) with it.
"'"Do your readings and show up everyday to class because it helps so much more than thinking you can just read the book and be good.' I agree with this piece of advice because this class only meets once a week. Missing a single class could put you further behind than you think."

"'ASK QUESTIONS AND PUT IN EFFORT! This class is so engaging. You'll learn so much. Do your homework, and come to class. It is all worth it. If you put the effort in you will pass this class easily. P-dog is the best.' I believe that we only learn as much as we want to learn, so this advice really spoke to me. Not being afraid to ask questions, and always trying to put in the effort has made my college experience so much worth while when compared to high school where I essentially just 'floated' by, as if in space."

"'Always do the homework assignments, they are super-easy and pay attention in class. This is a great course and you will have a lot of fun.' I agree with this because if you skip homework the information you need to learn won't become solid."

"'In order to succeed, I would recommend that you go to all the class sessions, do not forget a single online reading assignment, do all of the extra credit, and try your best not to procrastinate!' I agree with this because it is important to be present in class to understand and ask any questions one may have on any of the presented material. It's important to complete all the online reading assignments as they are an easy thing to do."

"'DO THE READING ASSIGNMENTS. ATTEND EVERY LECTURE. BE AMAZED BY SPACE." I agree with this advice because this quote basically sums up my current approach to the class. I can now tell that I need to study and be present and do the assignments, but most importantly, be amazed by space. I also need to take in how great this information we are learning really is."

"'COME TO CLASS.' I'm honestly kind of surprised that so many people need to be reminded of this, but it's valuable advice nonetheless. Although I've only been a part of this course for one week, I can already tell that Dr. Len's teaching style, the flipped classroom method he employs, and the activities that happen in-class, are extremely helpful and beneficial to any student who wishes to be successful in this course."

"'Be curious and ask questions.' I agree with this strongly because I have found that asking questions and desire a more in-depth explanation is always more helpful in the end, and overall makes you more intelligent."

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"GIF animations are a godsend to understanding astronomy. Your visuals in the lecture really helped, and was thinking to myself while reading the textbook how much this would be true. I'm thankful you put them in." (#yourewelcome)

"With most of the questions involving the reading I was only able to answer them with the book right in front of me... just saying." (That sounds exactly how you should be studying.)

"I love the way you understand our way of thinking and learning." (That's only because you are all giving me weekly feedback on your way of thinking and learning.)

"What are the main topics and or materials that we should utilize and study for quizzes and exams?" (There is a study guide posted for each quiz, along with a review session for each midterm. Also the study guide for the first quiz has already been posted online.)

"Will we be receiving new groups every class (week)?" (Yes.)

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

"One question: How can this class already be so fun, just one week in?" (Don't question it.)

"Would you be able to maintain a friendship with an individual who believes Earth is flat?" (If their belief system says Earth is flat, that's okay. If they have facts that Earth is flat, then I would have a problem.)

"Will all eight planets ever line up on the same side of the sun?" (Eh, not exactly in a straight line, but every so often some of them could be found tending towards one side of the sun. And I'm glad you mentioned that there are eight planets.)

"How do some people claim to see a 'rabbit' in the moon? I am not understanding what really happens and would like clarification." (Actually, there are a number of 'things' people can see in the face of the moon.)

"YOUR CAT IN YOUR PROFILE PICTURE IS TOO DAMN CUTE!" (Just so you know, Pocahontas has her own Facebook page.)

Online reading assignment: total internal reflection, polarization

Physics 205B, spring semester 2019
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Students have a bi-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 total internal reflection and polarization.

Selected/edited responses are given below.

Describe what you understand from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview. Your description (2-3 sentences) should specifically demonstrate your level of understanding.
"I think I'm starting to really understand Snell's law."

"If the incident angle results in an transmitted angle greater than 90°, then all of of the light is reflected back and you have total internal reflection (TIR). If the incident angle results in a transmitted angle that is 90° from the normal, then the incident angle is called the critical angle."

"During total internal reflection, where the incident angle in the medium with higher n is larger than the critical angle, light wouldn't be transmitted to the medium with smaller n. In this case, Snell's law doesn't apply."

"One of the things I understood was the difference between a polarized light source and an unpolarized light source. A polarized light source vibrates organized (up-and-down, side-to-side, diagonal-to-diagonal). An unpolarized light source vibrates randomly."

"If unpolarized horizontal and vertical rays pass through a polarizer, only the parellel rays will pass through the transmission axis and the perpendicular rays will be blocked."

"Sorry P-dog, but I am swamped."

"I honestly just did not get to this yet."

Describe what you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview. Your description (2-3 sentences) should specifically identify the concept(s) that you do not understand.
"The Snells law formula did kind of confuse me. I get a little confused with which parts go up when others go down."

"I found total internal reflection to be quite confusing. I had time figuring out what exactly the critical angle meant and how it tied into each scenario. In the homework I also had trouble with the 'plug-and-chug' questions and relating the index of refraction to a wavelength etc. and finding that the frequencies were equal to each other."

"What I don't understand is how the critical angle idea works. Why there? Why does it work?"

"The idea of a critical angle confused me a little bit. I may just have to go back and read it a little bit closer or read about it more in the textbook."

"What I found confusing from the reading was the application part of total internal reflection. I understand the part about the diamond and how it is cut a certain way to reach TIR. I do not understand about optical fiber and the see snake and how they are able to reach TIR."

"I don't understand the difference between horizontal polorized light and vertical polorized light. Also, I am not sure when transmitted if it's vertical or horizontal polarization from the antenna."

"Sound waves cannot become polarized because they travel longitudinally? I do not quite understand what this means. I think that it means the wave moves forward and backwards along a path outward from the source, but it is difficult for me to visualize. Also, light can be polarized because it is transverse? I would like to understand these concepts with more clarity."

"I'm not confused about anything in particular."

If the incident angle of a light ray is less than the critical angle, the light ray will be:
 reflected. *** [3] transmitted. *********************** [23] (Both of the above choices.) ******** [8] (Neither of the above choices.) [0] (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!) *** [3]

If the incident angle of a light ray is greater than the critical angle, the light ray will be:
 reflected. ******************************* [31] transmitted. ** [2] (Both of the above choices.) * [1] (Neither of the above choices.) * [1] (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!) ** [2]

Total internal reflection is possible when a light ray in a __________ medium hits a boundary with a __________ medium.
 faster; slower. ********* [9] slower; faster. ****************** [18] (Both of the above choices.) *** [3] (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!) ******* [7]

A vertical antenna will emit __________ polarized light.
 horizontally. ******* [7] vertically. ************************ [24] (Both of the above choices.) [0] (Neither of the above choices.) * [1] (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!) ***** [5]

Horizontally polarized light can be received by a _________ antenna.
 horizontal. *********************** [23] vertical. ********* [9] (Both of the above choices.) * [1] (Neither of the above choices.) [0] (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!) **** [4]

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"Frequency determines the type of wave and not wavelength? I thought different kinds of light have specific wavelengths." (If you always compare different types of light in the same medium (such as vacuum), then it doesn't matter if you compare different types of light in terms of different frequencies or different wavelengths. But for light going from one medium into another medium, the frequency will remain the same, while the wavelength will change. So it will make more sense to describe light in terms of frequency, as that will always stay the same no matter where that light goes, as an x-ray in air will remain an x-ray as it goes underwater (as its frequency stays the same), even though its wavelength will not stay the same.)

"Why does the energy of a wave increase as its frequency increases, and at what point is this energy enough to cause biological harm?" (It takes energy per time to continuously wiggle charges to produce light waves, and the faster you wiggle, then the more energy you put into the wave, so "faster wiggling" (higher frequency, smaller wavelength) light sends out more energy for a given amount of space. For radio waves, this is a low frequency, low energy wave that is "spaced out" a large distance (long wavelength), so it's not so dangerous. For infrared waves, this is a medium frequency, medium energy wave that is "more compact" (medium wavelength), so the cells in your body receive this energy, and (safely) warm up. For x-ray rays and even shorter frequency waves, these high frequency, high energy waves are "scrunched in" (small wavelengths), so dangerous amounts of energy can be absorbed by individual molecules or atoms in your cells and DNA, causing damage.)

"I understood most of Snell's law I think. It was nice having lab before lecture and then homework about it."

"I'm sure you said in lecture but we are calling refracted rays 'transmitted' rays right?" (Yes.)

"I'm slightly confused in the total internal reflection section. So when the incident angle is greater than the critical angle, it internally reflects so there's no transmitted angle?" (That is correct.)

"Could you go more in to detail about the three specific cases and how to use Snell's law with the weird case?" (We'll do that in the form of a flowchart.)

"Could you go into polarization a little bit before you let us loose on the worksheets?" (Yes, both today and next Monday.)

"Can light only exist vertically, diagonally, or horizontally polarized, or is it possible to send polarized light in a spiral?" ("Spirally polarized" light is what is known as circular polarization.)

"So both emitting and receiving antennae need to be with both horizontal or both vertical, would it just not work if there was one horizontal and one vertical?" (Correct!)

"No comment."

20190129

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

Astronomy 210, spring semester 2019
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.
"Using the starwheel in class was cool, seeing how the night sky changes during different times of the year and how quickly it can change in just a few hours."

"The celestial sphere because it's an imaginary sphere that surrounds Earth. The celestial sphere is an example of a scientific model that helps demonstrate how something works by creating a framework to help scientists think about that aspect. This scientific model of the celestial sphere is very beneficial for me because I am taking astronomy for the first time."

"The concept of 'pole wandering' in the presentation slides was interesting to me because I realized that our 'north star' is not always going to be the same star and is just on Polaris at the moment because of Earth's position in its precession cycle."

"From the presentation previews, I definitely found the part about the zodiac interesting. I love everything about zodiacs, and am involved in researching it outside out astrology! I love that the zodiacs can be integrated into this science course, and would love to learn more about the scientific aspects of it."

"How Earth's seasons are based on the tilt in its rotation. And without it we wouldn't have of the four seasons, just one."

"The cycle of the moon phases."

"I'm pretty sure I had waxing and waning backwards. I found it interesting that my perception of the way the moon is illuminated from right to left instead of left to right has been wrong this whole time (never paid too much attention to it)."

"That the 'moonth'--the time it takes the moon to complete one cycle, takes about four weeks which equals a month."

Describe something you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview, and explain why this was personally confusing for you.
"The starwheel--although it was entertaining to use, there were times where it would get confusing such as if it was in the correct position or if I'm looking at the correct constellation."

"How to align the starwheel when you knew the alignment of constellations, but didn't know the time."

"I think the starwheel is confusing and I'm not sure how to use it."

"That at one point in history the north star was not Polaris but was rather a different star. I had always thought that the north star was Polaris."

"Waxing, waning, gibbous, crescent are confusing to remember and differentiate from each other."

"All the different moon phases and cycles was kind of confusing because there is a lot to remember, and also the names are kind of confusing and sound weird. I love learning about the moon though, and even have a book called moonology which is all about the moon and its cycles and how it affects us as humans which I am going to read!"

"The new moon identifies the moon when it is absent?"

"Exactly what we were supposed to be reading for the assignment. I eventually figured it out, but it took a second to realize."

"The access of the online stuff because I didn't know a good way of finding the answers, it took me a long time, didn't understand the questions, and I didn't know how it works. I didn't know that the links you give to me for the homework would become questions.

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. *************** [15] April 25. ** [2] July 4. [0] August 20. * [1] (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!) ******** [8]

Match these cycles with their approximate duration.
(Only correct responses shown.)
Earth's rotation: 24 hours [100%]
Earth's revolution: one year [81%]
Earth's precession: 26,000 years [88%]
The moon's revolution: one month [85%]
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. ******* [7] Disagree. ******* [7] Neutral. ********** [10] Agree. ** [2] Strongly agree. [0]

"I have to be neutral because I have done zodiac readings and they have been correct. I also don’t think that they can fully predict your future because everyone is so different."

"Although astrology is a very interesting and engaging topic of study, it doesn't apply to what I personally hope to pursue as a career."

"I've had a fair share of eerily creepy zodiac reading, but I fell that they could also be used as a ploy. Like an umbrella term or something that everyone does from time to time."

"I think that while astrology is not 100% accurate, is very thoughtful and has truth since it is intertwined with science. Many people are opposed to astrology but if you see past the gimmicks pop culture places upon it you will be able to see there is truth within it!"

"While I do have fun with astrology, I believe that it holds the accuracy of a Buzzfeed 'What Kind of Pizza are You?' quiz."

"I think its unrealistic to count on stars to predict our futures."

"I don't think the alignment of the stars will predict my future."

"Frankly, the statements provided are so general they fit anyone looking to be fit into a box or category.I do not believe that the date and time you were born can determine things like personal characteristics, traits, and attributes. I think that some of the things published are coincidence's and people read way into it."

"I believe that you can predict about the future weather/station, etc. I am Catholic, so I believe that God is the only one that can tell us our future."

"I do not think that astrology gives accurate predictions yet some predictions dealing with planet cycles seem somewhat accurate."

"I don't personally believe that the stars have any more impact than they give them on a person behaviors or future."

"I am neutral because I don't know enough about astrology to agree or disagree, however I do think it is interesting."

"I don't believe the stars could tell someones future because the stars are balls of gas emitting radiation from light years away. Although they can tell the future in the sense that you'll know when the next super blood moon will be or when its gonna be summer or winter but not someones personal life."

"No empirical evidence."

"I don't know a lot about the subject so I don't believe have enough knowledge to give my opinion on the subject."

"I never believed in astrology. Growing up it never made sense to me that the formation of the universe could determine something about everyone with the same astrological sign because everyone is so different. I had a friend that could not go a day without knowing her 'daily horoscope' and would tell all of us ours. Once I got annoyed I did research of my own and discovered it was pseudoscience. Which are just claims that are portrayed as being true without any real evidence or scientific research that uses the scientific method."

"I believe neutral because it depends on the date and time. I don't really have a strong opinion on astrology and don't notice too well of the time. I was confused of what it means."

"I believe the information regarding astronomy and what is learned is definitely useful, but to say that it will shape my future seems like a stretch."

"I don't really know a lot about astrology so I'm not sure what to say."

"I don't believe astrology has any pertinence over anything as specific as an individuals' personal life but I do believe that the positions of the planets could have some large scale (possibly subtle) effects on the solar system which may effect Earth."

"I personally don't think that anything can predict a persons future, and I also have found that most of the time the predictions that are given about one's future are just very general statements such as you will have a happy life and so on."

"I have been into astrology since my junior year of high school and I have accumulated multiple books on theories and ideas based around astrology beyond sun signs and I conclude that it paints an accurate picture of people's personalities and what their life holds for them."

"While I do believe that any and all superstitions come from a basis of truth, I find it difficult to blindly believe without some form of evidence that I can find somewhat reliable."

"I've honestly not had any experience with astrology in that way."

"I don't really know, I haven't had many experiences with it predicting my future."

Place these moon phases in chronological order in their cycle (starting with new moon).
(Only correct responses shown, in unscrambled order.)
New moon: first [88%]
Waxing crescent: second [77%]
First quarter: third [88%]
Waxing gibbous: fourth [77%]
Full moon: fifth [84%]
Waning gibbous: sixth [73%]
Third quarter: seventh [73%]
Waning crescent: eighth [81%]

Explain what is different about homework in a flipped class.
"While there is normal homework like a conventional class, a good amount is reading and looking over things like the powerpoint that will be talked about in the following class. This prepares the student for the next class and also frees up time so students can work in small groups together."

"You learn the material at home before class, then come to class and practice it and the teacher has more time to help people individually if they didn't understand it from the night before."

"A conventional class is generally just a teacher lecturing for the entire class. A flipped class is when students learn about the lecture online, so when students come to class they can ask questions and apply what they learned at home in class."

"In a flipped class, homework is accessing the lectures and being able to see the material as many times as you need. In a conventional class, homework is to study material or work on an assignment alone."

"In a conventional class, homework is based on the lecture given during the previous class. In a flipped classroom, the homework can be done more effectively because the class time is used more towards answering questions rather than learning new concepts. "

Describe where/when most student learning occurs in a flipped class.
"Where most student learning should occur in a flipped class is at home, this learning should happen after each class (or before each class, depends how you think about it)."

"The learning in a flipped class happens when a student performs the task of preparing the information before the contact period and the instructor digs into the information that the student dug up further, whereas in the conventional class the students learning is said to have occurred after the test is finished."

"Students should be able to be learning before class. That way they can clear things up during class."

"Most students should be learning outside of class just as much as they are learning inside of the class. They are two halves to the whole lesson."

Pick one piece of student advice from the previous semester, and discuss why you agree (or disagree) with it.
"'Do your readings and show up everyday to class because it helps so much more than thinking you can just read the book and be good.' I agree with this piece of student advice because staying on top of reading and showing up to class everyday is essential to succeed in college classes."

"'Do your readings and show up everyday to class because it helps so much more than thinking you can just read the book and be good.' Doing the homework and all reading assignments before class seems common sense since this is a flipped classroom setting. I like the idea because I'll have more time to ask P-dog questions when I'm stuck."

"'Do your readings and show up everyday to class because it helps so much more than thinking you can just read the book and be good.' I agree with this because I tried this in one of my classes last semester and it did not work well at all."

"'The most important thing to know in order to succeed is to follow @Patrick_M_Len on Twitter. He also posts everything on blogs, from former test questions with correct answers, along with the reading assignments and basically everything related to the course.' One student said to follow you on twitter because you post old midterm review questions a long with lectures, diagrams, and things from you online presentation blogs, I find this to be a peculiar but useful tip and will be following you ASAP to see if it is helpful for me this semester."

"'Preview the presentation slides online so you can be the more confident while being in class or with in-class activities.' I totally agree that if you know the material you will be more confident and comfortable in the class."

"'Be curious and ask questions.' I'm not one to ask questions on stuff that I know or love to learn about (like astronomy), but I need to start asking questions if I'm going to help my academic habits."

"'Do the homework.' To me this is so obvious but many times it becomes so easy to slack and miss homework! Homework can act as a cushion to help propel your grades upward or downward, so being on top of it really makes a huge difference."

"'DO THE READING ASSIGNMENTS. ATTEND EVERY LECTURE. BE AMAZED BY SPACE.' One of the most impactful factors on a grade for class is the interest level on the subject. When someone allows themselves to be amazed by space they will learn more because they are more invested in learning."

"'Don't get behind on the reading and ask a lot of questions.' This is a piece of advice I think majority of students should try to remember. Reading is an easy thing to forget and procrastinate on, and in a flipped class setting, I think students found it easy to dismiss or forget about. And in regards to asking questions, THAT'S LITERALLY WHAT THE INSTRUCTOR IS THERE FOR. Most students feel awkward or uncomfortable, for whatever reason, to ask for clarification, but asking questions not only helps you out, it also allows for you to easily and quickly move on to the next piece of learning material, now that you've been cleared on what was confusing."

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"I was wondering if the starwheels change for different parts on the world. I would imagine they do, and it think it would be interesting to line up several for across the us and compare where the same constellation would be visible during different parts of the year." (Here's a link to an online starwheel for Paso Robles (note that it will be slightly different than the starwheel from the bookstore, which is only approximately correct for our part of the U.S.); you can use this website to also change your location in the settings and see what the sky will look like anywhere else in the world.)

"I like the flipped class method you use. I feel like I can come more prepared to class and have my questions ready rather than taking my questions home after class."

"Regarding the flipped classroom format, from what it sounds like, internet access is a MUST-HAVE, but how does this affect students with minimal access to internet, or from internet blackouts? Additionally, does this mean the student is 100% responsible for finding the material, or does the instructor give them instructions on how to access their videos, readings, etc.?" (I don't want you to stress out about spending a lot of time/bandwidth online, or stress out about finding the correct answers all the time. You're graded for completing the assignment at whatever engagement level you feel comfortable with, whether it is skimming or hardcore understanding. We'll go over the material much more comprehensively in class, so just "preview" it before coming to class.)

"Is it possible to get more of a reminder about upcoming homework in class please?" (I'll give you guys a verbal reminder at the end of class on Thursday, and the homework links will always be at the bottom of Thursday's webpage announcements, and also at the top of the next week's webpage announcements. Also set a notification alarm on your phone, and/or find a classmate "accountability buddy.")

"What do you think is the most interesting subject to learn in astronomy?" (The birth, life, and death of stars. Especially the death part.)

"When the full moon is out it, isn't always blocked by Earth's shadow?" (Usually the full moon "misses" going completely behind Earth--we'll learn more about this next week, as to why not every full moon is a total lunar eclipse.)

"Has there ever been a mission to the dark side of the moon?" (Well, the side of the moon facing away from Earth ("the far side") isn't always dark. Also China's Chang'e 4 spacecraft landed there earlier this year, and sprouted some plants inside its housing to see if they would germinate. Afterwards, the plants died.)

20190128

Online reading assignment: electromagnetic waves, reflection and refraction

Physics 205B, spring semester 2019
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Students have a bi-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 electromagnetic waves and redirecting light (reflection and refraction), along with advice from students from the previous semester, and videos on the flipped class mode of instruction used in this course.

Selected/edited responses are given below.

Describe what you understand from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview. Your description (2-3 sentences) should specifically demonstrate your level of understanding.
"Visible light (what our eyes can perceive) only takes a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum and the rest can only be recorded through the use of certain instruments."

"That wave speed and wavelength are affected by change in medium but how frequency is not. Previously I didn't quite understand why but it makes more sense when you say it, because it's from a source (I thought of it like a projector or flashlight being the source)."

"One thing I did understand was the independent and dependent variables for electromagnetic waves. The wavelength is dependent on the speed and frequency of the waves. The speed is independent and set by the medium and the frequency is independent and set by the source."

"Light changes its speed as it passes through different things. The index of refraction helps calculate the speed. Light travels quickest through a vacuum and slower through other materials."

"Indices of refraction describe the speed at which light moves through a medium. In a vacuum n = 1 and the speed of light equals the maximum. In other mediums, light moves slower and n > 1."

"That reflection is light bouncing off a surface where refraction is light bending because it travels through materials with different indices of refraction."

"There are two ways to redirect light, one is to reflect the light which means that the light will bounce off the surface and leave at the same angle in which it first interacted with the surface. The other way is by refracting the light."

"If light travels from smaller refractive index to larger, the refracted ray is bent towards the normal. If on the other hand, light travels from larger refractive index to smaller, the refracted ray is bent away from normal. this relationship is known as Snell's law of refraction."

Describe what you found confusing from the assigned textbook reading or presentation preview. Your description (2-3 sentences) should specifically identify the concept(s) that you do not understand.
"How a light wave has the same frequency as it travels from one medium to another medium."

"When it came to refraction, I was having a difficult time comprehending the concept behind Snell's law. The equation shown did not help much with the explanation, but the simple 'fast-to-slow' and 'slow-to-fast' phases helped get the point across bluntly."

"The 'fast-to-slow' and 'slow-to-fast' phrases were a bit confusing. Although it was mostly trying not to mix them with each other."

"Snell's law came off a little bit confusing since the concept makes sense, but applying numbers kind of throws me off, so some examples in class might clarify my concerns. The index of refraction equations make sense, however some examples in class would be helpful in getting a better understanding in solving. Essentially the ideas make sense, but once they are thrown into math-like equations, I can have a hard time translating, so tutorial-like demonstrations can help clarify the transfer."

"Refraction is a little confusing for me, just being able to comprehend what is happening. I know what refraction looks like in different scenarios, but I have a hard time with being able to understand what exactly is happening with the light."

"I experienced difficulty trying to interpret the Snell's law slides. I was hoping the diagrams that accompanied the laws would be beneficial but I don't think I completely understand their relationship or where sine comes into play. I could use so extra time in class explaining this law."

Consider light traveling either through air (nair = 1.0) or through water (nwater = 1.33). Light travels with the faster speed through:
 air. ******************************** [32] water. **** [4] (There is a tie.) [0] (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!) ** [2]

A ray of light has an incident angle of 60° in air, and a transmitted angle of 36° in plastic. Determine what happens to each of the following parameters as the light passes from air into plastic.
(Only correct responses shown.)
speed v: decreases [71%]
frequency f: remains constant [63%]
wavelength Î»: decreases [50%]

For the above example of light incident in air being transmitted into plastic, __________ has the greater index of refraction.
 air. ***** [5] plastic. **************************** [28] (There is a tie.) [0] (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!) ***** [5]

A ray of light has an incident angle of 20° in plastic, and a transmitted angle of 29° in air. Determine what happens to each of the following parameters as the light passes from plastic into air.
(Only correct responses shown.)
speed v: increases [53%]
frequency f: remains constant [66%]
wavelength Î»: increases [58%]

For the above example of light incident in plastic being transmitted into air, __________ has the greater index of refraction.
 air. ************************ [24] plastic. ******* [7] (There is a tie.) [0] (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!) ******* [7]

State your preference for denoting the inverse sine operation.
 Arcsin. * [1] sin–1. ***************************** [29] (No preference.) ***** [5] (Unsure/guessing/lost/help!) *** [3]

Pick one piece of student advice from the previous semester, and discuss why you agree (or disagree) with it.
"'Stay on top of homework!' After taking Physics 205A last semester I definitely agree with the advice of doing all the work and coming to all the classes. Even if you understand the concepts, there's still more to build upon in class."

"'Always, always do the work. It's easy points and can make the difference when passing the class.' Don't procrastinate because things can really pile up which can be overwhelming. Also don't forget to do the homework because they are a fairly easy way to earn points."

"'Don't give up early on.' Physics is a tough subject and quitting will not get me anywhere. Their advice on doing the homework, going to class and to do the labs are helpful. I was doing the same thing in Physics 205A and it helped. I will try and take their advice and get study buddies to better understand the material and work together to figure out the problems. They stated to learn the website and I have been. It was confusing to first but mainly because I was not used to it. I think I have it down for the most part."

"'Try to ask questions.' My regret from last semester was having a lot of questions but never raising my hand in class when I had concerns. I also think it's important to stay on top of the homework rather than categorizing it as a second thought and waiting until 10:00 PM to do it just hours before it's due."

"'Practice, practice, practice solving all the example problems given to you. Also, it helps a lot to write out short answers on what you did.' Last semester I struggled with short answers, so I think writing them down as I do the practice problems would help a lot by the time the exams come around."

"'Actually do all the assignments because they do help a lot. I noticed that when I did the reading and homework assignments it was a lot easier to follow the next class.' I agree with this student because last semester I didn't do all the homework and I would be so lost. The times when I would try to catch up on it all, it would be too late to turn in assignments."

"'Disregard trying to read the textbook and read the blog posts carefully instead because the book is not user-friendly.' I disagree--I find the textbook helpful. It may not relate to this class as much as the online lectures, but reading the textbook before helps me familiarize myself with what the lecture is referencing. I think I will remember more if I continue to read the textbook as an introduction to topics and use the lecture to dig deeper and solidify my learning."

"'Read everything on the waiferx.com course website because there are no reminders and it is not organized like Canvas.' I agree with this comment. It took me a while to get used to understand the format of this class, so missed out on a lot of points I would have easily earned."

"'I suggest the future students take notes while reading (the night before lecture), to better understand the material. Take notes again in class!' I agree with this piece of advice a lot. Partway through last semester I started taking notes on the material I was reviewing before lecture and it really helped my comprehension during the next class period. The information was fresh in my mind and my notebook plus it helped me have confidence knowing at least a little bit about what we cover in class."

"'The grade you get is how much time you put in.' This is probably the most universal advice I've read on the page. It encompasses all aspects of being an effective student, and has rung true for most of my academic career."

Ask the instructor an anonymous question, or make a comment. Selected questions/comments may be discussed in class.
"What are all these angles about?" (All these angles are necessary to measure the directions and changes in directions of light rays--which is what optics is all about.)

"How different is the 11th edition textbook from the 10th or 9th editions? Can a student get by by using an older version?" (The primary difference is the re-numbering of the end-of-chapter problems; you should be able to get by if refer to a classmate's current edition and renumber the problems by hand in your older edition.)

"How exactly do your lectures go? My previous instructor would just go over presentation slides, and the class felt repetitive." (Class is pretty fluid in terms of allocating time between presentation slides, lectures, examples, worksheets, and problem-solving; it all depends on what level of understanding/comprehension the class has and what level of introduction/challenges the class needs. Typically Physics 205A last semester had some review of a presentations slides and introductory lectures, with mostly a mix of examples, worksheets, and problem-solving.)

"I will say at first I was skeptical of the flipped classroom structure, but I have to say I very much enjoyed last semester and it is one of my favorite learning styles, because I learn best by doing it myself at home, such as going over the notes and doing the problems. This in turn has helped me in other classes."

"How was your winter break?" (It was quite relaxing. Hope you enjoyed yours as well.)

"I hope this is another great semester!" (I hope so, too!)

"I'm sorry P-dog but believe it or not, the beginning of this particular semester is actually difficult. But I can reassure you that I am still a hardworking student!"

20190116

Astronomy in-class activity: planet-hunting

Astronomy 210 In-class activity 6 v.19.01.11, spring semester 2019
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Students find their assigned groups of three to four students, and work cooperatively on an in-class activity worksheet to determine where in the sky each naked-eye planet will be observed on a given date (here, February 6, 2019).

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