Astronomy Week #6

This week, we had our first midterm, and did not have a lecture, so there is seemingly not much to report.

On the contrary! First, grading ~350 midterms is no easy task. Now, this course has been set up for years to be only multiple-choice exams. Take it or leave it, I decided to not mess with this the first time around. It certainly reduces the time put into marking exams. Though, I had to figure out where to take them, how to properly prep them to be graded, then get them back, AND figure out how to read the files with the results (which can only be done using a Windows-based program – I have a Mac). There’s been a lot of running/calling/emailing around trying to get this all figured out. Most things are finally set – just the make-up exams to do.

Last week, I polled my students how they wanted to learn the material for week 6 and gave them the following options:

  1. No lecture, quiz is 1 hour (normally 30 minutes), quiz due in 2 weeks (normally 1)
  2. Short lecture, regular quiz (30 minutes, 1 week deadline)
  3. Short lecture, no quiz, but material fair game on next midterm & final

Not surprisingly, perhaps, over 60% chose #1. I did provide the lecture slides to help summarize the lesson as well. We’ll see how the quiz goes!

The week’s learning outcomes are:

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to describe the following to a general audience:

  • Then when, where, why, and how of the beginning of early life on Earth
  • How life has evolved on Earth (including humans)
  • The importance of impacts from asteroids/comets to life on Earth

Next week is reading break, so next class is on Feb. 22nd. I will do a longer review of the previous week’s material than normal, and I plan to try out another jigsaw activity!

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