Collected notes on improving the lecture-mode class, particularly Introductory Astronomy.
The Participatory Lecture from Darrel Hoff
Notes from Zeilik
Color Astronomy demo/interactive
The following is a summary and excerpts from "The Participatory Lecture" by Darrel B. Hoff, JCST, March 1980. (Interpretation, including any mistakes, is mine - E. Roettger)
Assuming you're stuck with a large, lecture-style Introductory Astronomy course, how do you overcome student passivity, and get the students to practice some of the processes of science?
Once or twice a week, have students divide into groups of 3-5, designating a group recorder-reporter. Confront students with a phenomenon, possibly in photographs, slides, graphical information, a film segment, or a demonstration. Give them 10-15 minutes to discuss certain questions (you design the questions to stress one or more aspect of the scientific process), then have them report. Use this to uncover misunderstandings and figure out where to start to amplify the concept.
Hoff noticed animated discussions, more spontaneous questions, better attendance, and increased numbers of students approaching the instructor. He also notes:
(This is a placeholder until I find my notes from his poster at the 1995 ASP symposium. It involved collaborative work in lectures, including group grades.)
Edna DeVore does an activity where participants use diffraction gratings and colored filters (squares of theatrical gels taped to a card) to look at things at the front of a classroom. It's quite impressive to look at slides of certain astronomical objects (particularly nebulae) through the colored filters. I have the draft of a write up available.
Go (back) to the Astronomer's Education Notebook or Elizabeth Roettger's Homepage.
Created 24 September 1995, last revised 15 June 1997by Elizabeth E. Roettger, firstname.lastname@example.org