Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Relearning Astronomy - Details

It occurred to me that I didn't give many details in my last post.  Given my track record of choosing to do something, and then changing my mind, I think it might be best if I give the details I've worked out.  The outline of the course can be found here.  The syllabus isn't given here, as it is for many courses, and had to be requested.  I then changed it from a 16 week course to a ten week course.  Some of the weeks are simply a week straight from the syllabus, while others are two weeks combined.  The readings are the same given , as are the labs.  I also added the video lectures.

The book being used is Investigating Astronomy: A Conceptual View of the Universe by Timothy Slater. The video lectures used are Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy and New Frontiers: Modern Perspectives on out Solar System

Here are the learning objectives given by the syllabus:

  1. Interpret the motions of the stars, Sun, and Moon in the sky and how those motions
    combine to create seasons, lunar phases, and eclipses.
  2. Relate how astronomers use telescopes and electronics to analyze the electromagnetic
    spectrum to identify properties of celestial objects.
  3. Recall major advances in astronomical knowledge contributed by such scientists as
    Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton.
  4. Explain how our solar system is thought to have evolved, and how these ideas inform
    our search for extrasolar planets.
  5. Describe the structure of Earth’s interior, surface, atmosphere, and magnetic field.
  6. Compare and contrast the surface processes and/or atmospheres of both the terrestrial
    and gas giant planets of our solar system.
  7. Summarize the methods used to search for life beyond Earth, and the reasons for
    thinking it might exist.
  8. Explain the process by which the Sun and other stars make energy and transport it from
    their cores outward into the system surrounding them.
  9. Make use of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram and other methods to classify stars based
    on their observed properties, and distinguish the corresponding patterns in their life
    cycles.
  10. Relate how astronomers have deduced the shape and structure of the Milky Way
    Galaxy.
  11. Distinguish between different types of galaxies, and identify how observations of distant
    galaxies have been used to probe the large-scale structure of the universe.
  12. Outline the evidence for the evolution of the universe.
  13. Demonstrate the ability to develop a research question and then collect and analyze
    data to form an evidence-based conclusion

The essays I will write and publish here are related to the first twelve objectives.  I'm really not sure what to do for the last one.  I suppose that my writing the essays themselves will satisfy it.  Some weeks will cover two objectives, while objective nine if covered over two weeks by itself.  The final week requires that I watch eleven lectures and week five requires that I watch only three.  I'm not suite such if the video lectures I chose will be appropriate for each of these objectives, so the lectures required might change.  As I don't have access to the class itself, I'm not quite sure what the purpose of each lab is.  However, I have a link to a site for each lab.  At each, I will use what I learned from the reading and lectures, what the objective is, and the contents of the site to determine what the lab should be.  It's not ideal, but it'll do. 

Each week I post an essay here, I will post the learning objective, the chapter titles, the lecture titles, what I did for the lab (not all weeks have labs), and the essay itself.  The essay is 'due' Sunday at midnight following the week in question.  I'm using Google Calendar to help me track the due dates and Google Drive to store my personal lesson plan. 

At the same time, I'll continue to pursue the 200 squat challenge.  I'll do that in the morning (as work permits) and focus on my 'class' after work.  I'm also getting back into running, which I will continue next week (this is a VERY busy week at work) on the days I don't do squats. 

It's about time I challenge myself and stop just sitting here doing nothing, as I tend to do far too often.

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