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W. W. Norton
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By Stacy Palen Remnants of the lost city of Cahokia. Credit: Steve Moses/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) In this article from Scientific American, a climate scientist talks about why she is not reassured by the idea that “the climate has changed before.” This is an opinion piece, but it is worth... Continue reading
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By Stacy Palen This set of nifty (free!) posters came through my inbox over the summer. We printed some of them to hang around the Physics Department, and the College of Science more generally. In addition to raising awareness of the contribution of women, they raise awareness of the contribution... Continue reading
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Credit:Tony Tallec / Alamy Stock Photo By Stacy Palen Here in August, just as we are getting ready to go back to school, this Teen Vogue article that came across my desk was a useful reminder that people care deeply about their names. I have a name that is not... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2019 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
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By Stacy Palen Summary: Hayabusa2 has been investigating the asteroid Ryugu. This is a sample-return mission, which has implications for Solar System formation and may cast light on the origins of life on Earth. Article: Japan (Very Carefully) Drops Elastic Explosives Onto an Asteroid 1. Consider what you know about... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2019 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
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Credit: Vadym Drobot / Alamy Stock Photo By Stacy Palen Everyone has their favorite sky maps, planispheres, and apps. I am no exception! Here are two resources that I go back to again and again as I prepare for class or for observing sessions. Sky Maps is my favorite source... Continue reading
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By Stacy Palen It’s that time of the semester when we are talking about galaxies, galactic structure, and supermassive black holes. Fortunately, Chandra has our back and has released a new image of a superbubble in NGC3079. The picture is sufficiently spectacular that I want to let you know about... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2019 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
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By Stacy Palen Credit: Sloan Digital Sky Survey, www.sdss.org Once in a while something new happens. In the case of an article published in The Atlantic, astronomers observed an object that had properties like those of a supernova explosion, but much too fast. That led to some detective work across... Continue reading
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By Stacy Palen On May 18, 2014, Hokule’a left Oahu for a 3-year voyage that would take her and her sister vessel, Hikianalia, around the globe. The journey covered 47,000 nautical miles with stops in 26 countries, and ended in Hawaii on June 17, 2017. The vast majority of the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2019 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
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By Stacy Palen Perhaps I should not have been surprised to find out that many of my students see Bill Nye (the Science Guy) as a personal hero, but I was. It’s probably got something to do with the bow ties…or the lab coat…or something. I was too early for... Continue reading
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By Stacy Palen As I was working on the first draft of Chapter 3 for the fourth edition of Understanding Our Universe, I ran across this wonderful summary article about ‘Oumuamua by Steven Spence of GotScience Magazine. You probably remember that ‘Oumuamua is the first interstellar object that we’ve observed... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2019 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
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Image Credit: Emmanuel Masongsong/UCLA EPSS/NASA By Stacy Palen In January, geologists updated the model of Earth’s magnetic field, a year ahead of schedule. 1. Study the map titled “Magnetic Motion.” How much time separates each pair of red dots between 1900 and 2010? Answer: The dots indicate 10-year time intervals... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2019 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
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By Stacy Palen Don’t forget to remind your students about the Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower, coming in the beginning of May. The peak occurs around May 4-5. This is the last chance for most of us to remind Spring semester students to go out and watch a meteor shower! This... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2019 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
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Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls By Stacy Palen Don’t forget to remind your students to watch for the Lyrid Meteor Shower this month. The peak occurs around April 21-22. This meteor shower comes as Earth passes through the debris left behind by Comet Thatcher. Particles lost from the comet continue to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2019 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
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By Stacy Palen My students came in talking about this, and so I thought I’d pass on a couple of resources that I used while answering questions in class! I felt I needed to put the new image in context, with respect to M87 and all its fascinating parts. This... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2019 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
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By Dr. Bradley W. Carroll We live at a unique point in history. For the first time, we humans know the entire story of our species, at least in broad outline. We know how the universe expanded from the initial Big Bang, how generations of stars manufactured a periodic-table’s worth... Continue reading
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By Stacy Palen Somehow or other, classroom architects in the 1960s, 1970s, and as far along as the 2010s did not get the memo that instructors would sometimes want students to work together on projects. It’s a mystery. Even in our two-year-old science building, the lecture halls are set up... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2019 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
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By Stacy Palen As I mentioned in the last post, David Brooks recently collated several different studies of teaching and learning into an Op-Ed for the New York Times titled “Students Learn From People They Love.” Two paragraphs of this article particularly caught my attention; one about brain activity in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2019 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
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By Stacy Palen David Brooks recently collated several different studies of teaching and learning into an Op-Ed for the New York Times titled “Students Learn From People They Love.” Two paragraphs of this article particularly caught my attention, one about in-person vs video teaching, and one about brain activity in... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2019 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
Stacy Palen has created 23 videos on key topics to accompany her textbooks, Understanding Our Universe and 21st Century Astronomy, that instructors can assign as pre-class activities or show in class. A mixture of live demos and mini lectures, these videos explain key concepts in an understandable and compelling way.... Continue reading
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By Stacy Palen The article from Nature Ecology & Evolution, How the Entire Scientific Community Can Confront Gender Bias in the Workplace, came across my screen recently, and it occurred to me that many astronomy professors might not see it… I find that while evidence of gender bias is well-documented,... Continue reading
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By Stacy Palen A few weeks ago, Colin Inglefield wrote a guest post about his uses of trade books in the classroom. Over break, I finally had a chance to read Glass Universe by Dava Sobel, and I think this would make a great book to use in this context.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2019 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
By Stacy Palen LIGO has been busy, and a newly released graphic summarizes many of the exciting discoveries the detector has made in concert with Virgo, its European counterpart. Summary: Since 2015, the LIGO/Virgo collaboration has detected gravitational waves—ripples in spacetime caused by rapidly accelerating massive objects—from 10 stellar mass... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2019 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
Using Trade Books in an Introductory Physics Course By Colin Inglefield I regularly teach PHYS 1010: Elementary Physics, at Weber State University. I didn’t choose the course name; at your school, it might also be called Conceptual Physics or Descriptive Physics. Regardless, it is a physics course with no math... Continue reading
By Stacy Palen In the last two posts, I explained what a rubric is and why they are useful. In the prior blog post, I explained how I use the first part of the rubric to guide me as I assess content knowledge in each question. In this post, I... Continue reading
By Stacy Palen In the last post, I explained that a rubric is a written explanation of your expectations and intentions, and why they are useful in clarifying expectations and simplifying grading. I divide my grading rubrics into two parts: a part that is applied separately to each question, and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2019 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy