ASP2021: A Virtual Conference
3:00 PM - 3:50 PM: Concurrent Session 8D: 3:00 pm PST (6:00 pm EST) - Oral Presentations
"Who Speaks for Earth?" A Theme for ASTR 101
Conference Strand: Teaching Introductory Astronomy – What are We Doing Now?
Kathryn Williamson, West Virginia University
Ellen Rodrigues, West Virginia University
Abstract of Session/Presentation: In his book and televisions series "Cosmos," Carl Sagan posed the question, "Who Speaks for Earth?" in the context of the Cold War and the threat of nuclear self-destruction. Today, we still grapple with this question as we also engage with climate change, issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and search for life beyond Earth. While many of us who are astronomy educators already bring these topics into our teaching, this talk will explore how the question of "Who Speaks for Earth" can be used as an overarching theme throughout an ASTR 101 course to help guide students in building their identities as "Earthlings" and chart a vision for the future. Interventions piloted during Spring and Fall 2021 semesters include daily scientist highlights, historical anecdotes, statistics from various reports, homework assignments, guest speakers, and targeted training. Student responses to assessments on these interventions, as well as materials for adapting in your own course, will be shared.