AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 23. Astronomy Education
Display, Monday, January 7, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[23.14] Analysis of a Constellation Lab Cooperative Learning Activity

A.J. Gauthier (UVa, Curry School of Education, Instr.Technology)

A cooperative learning activity was designed for use in the undergraduate laboratory course Introduction to Astronomical Observation. This group exercise enhances the student’s learning of constellations and will hopefully increase retention of the material throughout the semester. It also serves as an “ice-breaker” during the first week of lab, promoting student involvement and vested interest in the course. To gain some insight into the student mind, a survey was conducted to evaluate the usefulness and overall opinion of this method. The students who completed the survey had previously been enrolled in a pre-requisite astronomy course that also required a constellation lab. In this previous course they “learned” the constellations from an instructor and a flashlight beam, studied them on their own, and then promptly took a quiz. Both methods are analyzed from an instructional designer’s point of view and suggestions for future activities are presented. The preliminary results and accompanying activity will be discussed in poster and hand-out medium.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: ajg2w@virginia.edu

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