Astronomy Weeks 8 & 9

I had a lot of extra things on my plate in the last week or two, preventing me from posting here.

So, here is what we did in week 8 and 9 of my astronomy class.

Week 8 was all about Mars

Learning Outcomes for Week 8:

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

  • What Mars was like in the past and what it’s like now
  • The evidence for water on Mars
  • The habitability of Mars
  • Human exploration of Mars

We did our weekly Kahoot review as per normal. This week’s in-class participation activity used virtual clickers. I had the students answer several questions throughout the lecture to gauge their learning. To earn a participation mark they had to write down each question, what their answer was, what the correct answer was and why that answer was correct. They could submit this either via paper or email.

Week 9 was about the Jovian Moons

Learning Outcomes for Week 9:

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

  • The general characteristics of the Jovian Moons
  • The possibility of life on Jupiter’s Galilean Moons
  • The possibility of life on the Moons of Saturn & Beyond

Again, we started with a Kahoot review (I have received much positive feedback about this). The flow of this class was different than the others in that I covered the lecture material all in one chunk. I did this so I would have good amount of time to run a review for the upcoming midterm #2.

I did the review using Learning Catalytics. It went well overall (I think), and the students who stayed for it seemed appreciative.

Advantages of this tool is there are many question types you can use (such as word clouds, matching, priority/ordering, region (where students click on a region of an image), etc), the students can click on “I get this now” or “I still don’t get it”, and can send message to the instructor.

One distinct disadvantage is there doesn’t seem to be a way for students to view the correct answers when they go back to review the lesson.

Next week is midterm #2 and no lectures. Since the students are still responsible for the material, they will get extra time for the quiz and I’ll do a summary the following week.

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