Introductory Astronomy Student-Centered Active Learning at the George Washington University

Cobb, Bethany E. (2014) Introductory Astronomy Student-Centered Active Learning at the George Washington University. In: Ensuring STEM Literacy: a National Conference on STEM Education and Public Outreach. Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, pp. 217-222.


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The Physics Department at the George Washington University has been successfully using student-centered active learning (SCALE-UP) in physics classes since 2008. Recently (since fall 2011), we have been developing and implementing introductory (non-majors) astronomy classes taught in the student-centered active learning mode. Class time is devoted to engaging in hands-on activities and laboratories and tackling questions and problems in a workbook. Students work in small groups, and multiple instructors circulate to answer questions and engage students in the material. Research has shown that students who are engaged in this manner have an increased conceptual understanding of the material. In developing our “Stars, Planets and Life” course into an interactive class, we encountered many challenges, but there have also been positive outcomes. Improvements to this class are ongoing, and in fall of 2013 we will begin full implementation of SCALE-UP in our “Introduction to the Cosmos” course.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Astronomy Education Research
Depositing User: Dr Michael Fitzgerald
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2017 07:32
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2018 09:26

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