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W. W. Norton
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By Stacy Palen. Summary: A red dwarf star in the Milky Way barely contains any heavy elements at all. Its age is estimated at 13.5 billion years. Article: http://www.astronomy.com/news/2018/11/red-dwarf-is-one-of-the-oldest-in-the-universe. Questions for Students: 1. Why does the lack of heavy elements imply that the star formed very soon after the Big... Continue reading
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By Stacy Palen. Discussing the calendar can bring a “science and society” learning objective into the astronomy classroom. Lunar Calendars Islam, for example, uses a lunar calendar. The resulting gradual drift of holidays and festivals such as Ramadan through the seasons opens discussion not only to the use of calendars,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2018 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
by Stacy Palen. Sometimes, you do a thing in class, and you think, “Why did I never do that before?!” That happened to me this semester, when for the first time, I gave my introductory astronomy students a first assignment in vocabulary building. This was basic, absolutely basic. I gave... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2018 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
by Stacy Palen. In September of 2018, Jocelyn Bell Burnell won a $3 million prize in recognition of her outstanding discovery of pulsars. This article presents an opportunity to link science and society while recalling and applying information about radio telescopes, the motion of the sky, and pulsars. Article: https://www.npr.org/2018/09/06/645257118/in-1974-they-gave-the-nobel-to-her-supervisor-now-shes-won-a-3-million-prize... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2018 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
by Stacy Palen. Until the result discussed in the article linked below, only two distinct neutrino sources were known: the Sun and Supernova 1987a. Now there is a third: a distant blazar. This article complements material about active galactic nuclei, neutrinos, scientific instrumentation, and the process of science. Following are... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2018 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy
by Stacy Palen. Here is a nice little article from NRAO that corresponds to material in Chapter 13 of Understanding Our Universe and Chapter 18 in 21st Century Astronomy: https://public.nrao.edu/news/neutron-stars-fall. Questions for Students: Make a sketch of this triple-star system to show how the three objects move in their orbits... Continue reading
By Stacy Palen. We often wish that students were more engaged in class. Sometimes we complain that students won’t ask questions, or that they won’t answer the ones we ask. This is a training problem: we have to train students to know what our expectations are. Think of it this... Continue reading
This is a blog about teaching introductory astronomy, curated and primarily written by Dr. Stacy Palen of Weber State University. Want to share suggestions or strategies for engaging students in Astro 101? Join us in the comments! Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2018 at Teaching Astronomy by Doing Astronomy