TIME SCOPE OF THE COURSE:
This course is structured in an unusual manner. The time devoted to the course (approximately 16 - 17 weeks) is distributed evenly between four units. A substantial part of the time is devoted to the independent group work on specific topics in each unit. The following is a possible scenario of how learning material can be introduced and consolidated in class, and what teaching techniques can be used during the semester.
- Week No. 1 - " Introductory Week"
The first week should be devoted to the description of the syllabus, of the subject's logical structure, and of the textbook that is going to be used. In addition, some time may be spent on selecting small groups of students(5 - 6) and setting their goals. But the most important thing is to give an overview of the basic concepts of modern astrophysics to be studied in the course. Showing a movie such as "The Day the Universe Changed" (1986, Churchill Films, 50 minutes), "The Harmony of the Worlds" (1980, Films, Inc., 60 minutes), or "The Films of Charles & Ray Eames, Powers of Ten" (1968, Pyramid Film & Video, 21 minutes) can be useful.
- Week Nos. 2 through 5 - " Unit One"
Week Nos. 6 through 9 - "Unit Two"
Week Nos. 10 through 13 - "Unit Three"
Week Nos. 14 through 17 -" Unit Four"
- Each unit may include the following methods of instruction:
Introduction of the new material and its class discussion (one week)
Collaborative group work ( two weeks) that includes:
organizing library and computer research; conducting lab and demo experiments; participating in observations; gathering and organizing information; creating data tables, posters, and other visual aids; developing the format for class presentation, and participating in a final class project (optional.)
Class presentations (one week):
Each group should be given at least one period for not merely giving a presentation in front of the class, but playing a teacher's role for a day. It means that each group is responsible for presenting the material they have researched, organizing work with the textbook, involving class in experiments, explaining to other students how to solve problems (if necessary), answering questions, and organizing class discussions on the topic introduced.
Recapitulation of all the concepts discussed in class and presented by different groups (one or two periods).
- Testing the level and quality of understanding of the material studied within the unit (one period).
- Course review and final test (two - three periods).
- At the end of each unit all students are evaluated according to the following format:
- Participation in group research
- Input and quality of group presentation
- Lab reports
- Visual aids created (summary tables, models, slides, videos, diagrams, posters, newsletters, etc.)
- Student's portfolio: journals of research information (notes, data, names); glossary of new words, expressions and acronyms; drawings, graphs, and tables; problems and their solutions; short plan of group presentation
- Review dittos and worksheets
- Test results
(Information about course syllabus and grading policy should be given to students during the first couple of days of a semester.)
SYLLABUS of the course
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