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December 3-5

Embracing the Future: Astronomy Teaching and Public Engagement

ASP2020: A Virtual Conference

ASP2020: A Virtual Conference
Preliminary Schedule

Click here for the Schedule-at-a-Glance
Gamified ASTRO 101—Flip Your Classroom in More Ways Than One
This presentation describes an innovative approach to ASTRO 101 using a gamified classroom that can operate in a flipped, hybrid, synchronous or asynchronous mode. Designed for flexibility and equity to enable as many students as possible to succeed, the course imagines students are a cohort of interns at a space science museum, preparing to be explainers on the museum floor. They cycle through various areas (planetarium, observatory, and exhibits halls) to learn astronomy in order to explain it to the public. Projects are geared toward students thinking about how to explain concepts to others.

For the vast majority of students taking ASTRO 101, it is a terminal course in the field. There is nothing they must learn in this class in order to succeed in a future course. Therefore, there has been significant latitude afforded to faculty in their course content choices. This course takes advantage of that freedom to offer a rethinking of the standard model of a general education science course. For many students, it is one of only a few post-secondary science courses they will ever take, and some will have only taken the minimum of two high school science courses prior. As a result, they have not had significant practice in effective science study skills. This course takes an approach for course material presentation, assessment, and grading that is more equitable for the population of students.

There is a further benefit for this rethinking. It is reasonable to assume that out of ~250,000 students who take ASTRO 101 annually in the US, there are a large number of pre-service teachers, whether they know it yet or not. We have an opportunity to affect both current students' views of science and how those views may be passed on to the next generation of students. Providing students with an engaging, interactive environment in which success is measured in a more equitable manner might inspire those future teachers to use innovative methods with their own students someday.
Conference Strand: Online K-16 Teaching & Learning