Teacher Workshop Presentations by dkf19917


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									ASTR 590: Special Topics in Astronomy
      Astronomy for Teachers
              A Recap

      Presented by Dr. Harold Geller
   Department of Physics and Astronomy
         George Mason University
        What I’ll Talk About
• Astronomy Workshop for Teachers at
  George Mason University
• What worked
• What didn’t work
• Assessments
• Teacher Comments
• Why Important
         Astronomy Workshop
• What
  – A teacher workshop geared for high school earth
    science teachers
• Who
  – Run by Harold Geller (George Mason University) and
    Lee Ann Hennig (Thomas Jefferson High School)
• When
  – Two weeks in the Summer of 2006 with 2 meetings in
    the fall 2006 as follow-up presentations
• Where
  – George Mason University
          From Course Webpage
                     George Mason University (GMU)
                        College of Science (COS)
                 Department of Physics and Astronomy
         College of Education and Human Development (CEHD)
    Office of Adult Learning and Professional Development (OALPD)
                ASTR 590: Special Topics in Astronomy
                         Astronomy for Teachers
            Summer 2006 (with 2 fall follow-up sessions TBD)
MTWHF 10AM-3PM; with evening sessions in observatory as weather permits
              August 7-11;14-18; 2 follow-up sessions TBD
             Room IN 323 and GMU Observatory (if available)
                      From Course Webpage

CoInstructor: Harold Geller                                CoInstructor: Lee Ann Hennig
Phone:                      703-993-1276                   Phone:                     703-750-8380
FAX:                        703-993-1269                   FAX:                       703-750-5010
E-mail:      hgeller@gmu.edu                               E-mail:      LeeAnn.Hennig@fcps.edu
Address:     Department of Physics and Astronomy, MS 3F3   Address:     Astronomy/Planetarium
                            George Mason University                     Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology
                            4400 University Drive                                     6560 Braddock Road
                            Fairfax, VA 22030                                         Alexandria, VA 22312
               From Course Webpage

                                 COURSE DESCRIPTION:
 Participants will review astronomy concepts, focusing on the concepts which appear in
 the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL). Workshop participants will utilize innovative
  activities for teaching students physical concepts required of students to comprehend
  astronomy related natural phenomena such as the appearance of the night time sky,
 reasons for the seasons, phases of the Moon, motion of the stars and planets, surface
                        features of the Moon, and nature of eclipses.
 This is an intensive two week long professional development workshop for teachers in
the grades 6-12. There will be two follow-up sessions in the Fall 2006 (dates to be set).
   This workshop will aid teachers in comprehending and developing lesson plans to
    address astronomy concepts that are part of the Virginia Standards of Learning.
                From Course Webpage
                                     COURSE FORMAT:
     The workshop will address astronomy concepts utilizing lectures, group activities,
 laboratory exercises and open class discussions. Lectures will consist of various forms
     of presentation material including videos, computer displays, demonstrations and
    transparencies. Questions are acceptable at all times. Participants should be alert
 during the lecture and prepared to answer queries posed as they arise. Class activities
    are collaborative efforts of three or four participants. Each participant will hand in a
   write-up for each class activity. Class activity sessions will consist of both computer-
      based exercises and hands-on exercises. Activity reports will be turned in at the
                              conclusion of each class meeting.
 After attending this workshop teachers will be able to explain and develop lesson plans
  for use in their classrooms to explain the appearance of the night time sky; explain the
reasons for the seasons; explain the phases of the Moon; explain the motion of the stars
and planets; explain the surface features of the Moon; and explain the nature of eclipses
               From Course Webpage
    The required textbook for this course (provided to participants) is Foundations of
Astronomy by Michael A. Seeds, 9th edition with Starry Night CD-ROM. Supplemental
activity materials for this course (provided to participants) includes the Mag 5 Star Atlas
  (from Scientifics Online); a Diffraction Grating Film Sheet 12" x 6" (from Scientifics
   Online); a Cardboard Spectrometer Kit (from Learning Technologies Inc. (LTI)); a
 Celestial Sphere Kit (from LTI); the Cycles Book (from LTI); a Miller Planisphere (from
Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP)); and a Solar Motion Demonstrator Kit (from

                                  GRADING RUBRIC:
                          Description          Weighting
                            Class Activities      60%
                            Final Examination     20%
                            Follow-up Session     20%
From Course Webpage
     Date            Topic/Learning Experiences                        Readings
                     In Class Activity
     7 August 2006   Preliminaries:                                    Chapter 1 and Appendix A
                     Contract Course Enrollment Forms
                     Contract Course Information Overview
                     Payment and Receipt for Payment
                     Lunch Passes
                     CAER Introductory Astronomy Survey and Pre-test
                     Harvard General Astronomy Pre-Test and Survey
                     Virginia SOL Astronomy Questions Pre-test
                     Scale of the Cosmos – Time and
                     Distance Measures
                     Mathematical Tools Review
                     Solar System Scale Model Activity
     8 August 2006   The Sky – Constellations and the                  Chapter 2 pages 12-22
                     Celestial Sphere
                     Miller Planisphere Activity
                     1300 JC Rm G – Astronomy Journal Club (see
                     presentations by graduate students)
                     Telescope Observing Session - weather
                     permitted to observe Jupiter and its
                     Galilean Moons, the Moon, the Ring
                     Nebula, and more
     9 August 2006   The Sky – The Sun and the Seasons                 Chapter 2 pages 22-27
                     Mag 5 Star Atlas
                     Celestial Sphere Activity
                     Solar Motion Demonstrator Kit
                     Guest Speaker Heather Weir, NASA
                     Goddard Space Flight Center
                    From Course Webpage
10 August 2006   The Sky – Motion of the Planets          Chapter 2 pages 25-32
                 Cycles and Starry Night Activity
                 Guest Speaker, Greg Redfern, NASA
                 JPL Planetary Ambassador
                 Telescope Observing Session (weather
                 will not permit - cancelled)
11 August 2006   Cycles of the Moon – The Phases          Chapter 3 pages 36-41
                 Guest Speaker Steve Berr, Learning
                 Technologies Inc. (demonstration of
                 StarLab Planetariums)
14 August 2006   Cycles of the Moon – Eclipses            Chapter 3 pages 42-55
                 Moons of Jupiter Activity
15 August 2006   Origins of Modern Astronomy              Chapter 4
                 Guest Speaker Art Poland, NASA
                 Goddard Space Flight Center (retired),
                 former Project Scientist SOHO,
                 research faculty, GMU
                 GMU Observing Session (weather not
                 permitting - CANCELLED)
16 August 2006   Newton, Einstein and Gravity             Chapter 5
                 Geller Presentation and complete
                 activity (Jupiter’s Moons)
                 Guest Speaker Bob Ehrlich, author and
                 physics professor, GMU
From Course Webpage
    17 August 2006   Light and Telescopes                               Chapter 6 pages 108-122
                     Reflection Activity
                     Refraction Activity
                     Diffraction Grating Handouts
                     GMU Observing Session (starting at
                     8:30 PM)
    18 August 2006   Light and Telescopes                               Chapter 6 pages 122-135
                     Spectrometer Activity
                     Closing Paperwork
                     CAER Introductory Astronomy Survey and Post-test
                     Harvard General Astronomy Post-Test and Survey
                     Virginia SOL Astronomy Questions Post-test
                     Course Evaluations

    14 October       Saturday Fall Follow-up Session                    Lesson plan presentations
    2006             Workshop participant presentations                 developed by participants
    2 December       Saturday Fall Follow-up Session                    Student results from lesson
    2006             Workshop participant presentations                 plans used in class (pre-
                                                                        and post- test results)
      From Course Webpage
• Also on course webpage
  – http://physics.gmu.edu/~hgeller/TeacherWorkshop/
• Links to all of the vendors that provided the
  handout materials
• Links to the presentations made during the two
  week summer period of the class
• Links to additional web-pages that may be
  useful to the participants
• Links to the tests used as pre-tests and post-
  What Worked Especially Well
• Free handouts to the teachers
• Guest speakers (from NASA GSFC, JPL, and
• Activities (some were more difficult than others)
• Team work with Lee Ann Hennig and me
• Use of pre- and post- tests from Harvard, CAER
  and UVa excerpts from SOLs
• Starlab portable planetarium demonstration
• Computer laboratory exercises
  – CLEA and Starry Night especially so
    What Didn’t Work Too Well
• Some teachers wanted more technical
• Some teachers wanted more specific to SOL
• Observing sessions held at night
  – Observatory not available
     • Teachers did get to see Moon and planets
• Some teachers felt they traveled too far
• Some teachers didn’t like the requirement of two
  follow-up sessions
  – GMU Education department has data that they are
• Based upon a combination of three standard
  – CAER Introductory Astronomy Survey (formerly the
    Astronomy Diagnostic Tool version 2.0)
  – Harvard General Astronomy Test
  – Virginia SOL Questions related to astronomy
• Pre-test average of scores was 72%
• Post-test average of scores was 82%
  pre-testing compared to post-testing
  – See graphic on next slide
                  Assessment of Teacher Learning in Workshop From Pre-tests and Post-tests

                                              Pre-test Grade   Post-test Grade











          1   2        3     4     5     6      7       8       9       10       11   12   13   14   15   16
                                                    Student Number
            Teacher Comments
• Teacher feedback via standard George Mason
  University course evaluations
• Scored on a Likert scale of 1-5
  –   Instructor preparation   Mean Score 4.93 /5
  –   Course organization      Mean Score 4.81 /5
  –   Instructor motivation    Mean Score 4.69 /5
  –   Intellectual challenge   Mean Score 4.20 /5
  –   Instructor fairness      Mean Score 4.94 /5
  –   Overall course rating    Mean Score 4.75 /5
• Room on course evaluations for comments
  – (see next slides)
 Teacher Comments (Positive)
• Positive
  – Great speakers
  – Great resources
  – Kept target audience in mind
  – Organization of learning
  – Visualizations and hands-on learning
  – Good activities to demonstrate concepts
  – Excellent team teaching approach
  – Provided hands on materials to use in class
 Teacher Comments (Negative)
• Negative
  – Gear more to Virginia SOLs
     • Add more content from SOL ES.14
     • Correlate better with Virginia earth science material
  – Start later in day so no need to return for observing
    sessions in the evening
  – Have more night time observing sessions
  – Make it more of a challenge
     • Make it more intellectually challenging
  – Have a review specifically for the final
  – Have better test questions
 Results from Fall Follow Up #1
• Teachers presented their lesson plans
• Not all teachers present
   – Hard to find date that all can be present
   – Those not in attendance had to videotape their presentation and
     send it in to me
• Wide variance in efforts in lesson plans
• One in particular was cause for concern
   – Would lead students to believe that phases of Moon caused by
   – Teacher response was “I don’t care if they understand the
     abstract concept, I just want them to get it right on the SOLs and
     this will help them do just that”
• Follow up session #2 will have teachers present results
  of their use of their prepared lesson plans with pre- and
  post-test results from their students
Views of Professional Development
• Contradictions in Professional Development
  – Professional development courses are “key
    mechanisms for providing teachers with ongoing
    training opportunities”
  – Most professional development courses have a short
    term effect and lack adequate follow-up
• Conclusions from two studies sponsored by the
  U.S. Department of Education
  – “Formal professional development typically lasts for
    the equivalent of 1 day”
  – This point was highlighted by Donna Sterling
  – Not a particularly new issue, as it was highlighted by
    Thomas Guskey over 20 years ago
Views of Professional Development
• More conclusions from NCES
  – “teachers were most likely to have participated in
    professional development that focused on state or
    district curriculum and performance standards”
  – “the extent to which teachers felt that participation in
    the activity improved their teaching depended on
    whether that activity was followed by various school-
    based activities,”
• The VESC workshops were focused on the
  Virginia Standards of Learning.
• There must be two distinct follow-up sessions in
  the ensuing fall semester for the summer
  workshop in spite of the lack of time teachers
  have to participate
             Some Parting Thoughts
• More workshops are needed and they ideally should be
  over a longer period of time
   – This flies in the face that teachers don’t have time available
• Teachers as students
   – Can’t gear one workshop for all teachers
       • Many are at different levels themselves
• Need both hands-on activities and lecture format
   – Teachers like students have different learning styles
• If time is short don’t build materials during activities, let
  teachers take home and use the already built materials
  that are available in the astronomy lab (if available)
• Don’t count on promises of contractors
   – Construction of observatory and conference room is going to be
     one year late
   – Total construction is $1.7 Million overbudget (~10% of building

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