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Teaching Teachers the Teaching of Physics and Astronomy: A Summer Workshop. Presented by Harold Geller [email protected] Department of Physics and Astronomy George Mason University At the Chesapeake Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers Fall 2007 Section Meeting

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teaching teachers the teaching of physics and astronomy a summer workshop

Teaching Teachers the Teaching of Physics and Astronomy: A Summer Workshop

Presented by Harold Geller

[email protected]

Department of Physics and Astronomy

George Mason University

At the Chesapeake Section of the American Association of Physics TeachersFall 2007 Section Meeting

2,3 November 2007 at

Radford University

what i ll talk about
What I’ll Talk About
  • Astronomy Workshop for Teachers at George Mason University held both in 2006 and 2007
  • What worked?
  • What didn’t work?
  • Assessments
  • Teacher Comments from 2006
  • Why Important?
iclicker question
iClicker Question

What is the name of the speaker?

  • A Ehrlich
  • B Hennig
  • C Sterling
  • D Geller
  • E Einstein
teacher workshops in 2006 and 2007
Teacher Workshops in 2006 and 2007
  • What
    • Teacher workshops geared for junior and high school science teachers
  • Who
    • Run by Harold Geller (George Mason University) and Lee Ann Hennig (Thomas Jefferson High School)
  • When
    • Two weeks in the Summers of 2006 and 2007, with 2 meetings in the fall 2006 and 2007 as follow-up presentations
  • Where
    • George Mason University (also offered at University of Virginia)
from course webpages then and now
From Course Webpages – Then and Now

George Mason University (GMU)

College of Science (COS)

Department of Physics and Astronomy

and

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)

2006

George Mason University (GMU)

College of Science (COS)

Department of Physics and Astronomy

and

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 2007 with 2 fall follow-up sessions TBD

MTWHF 10AM-3PM; with evening sessions in observatory as weather permits

August 6-10;13-17; 2 follow-up sessions in Fall TBD

Room IN 323 and GMU Observatory

2007

iclicker question6
iClicker Question
  • What years were the workshops run at GMU?
  • A 2001 and 2002
  • B 2002 and 2003
  • C 2006 and 2007
  • D 2005 and 2006
  • E It’s a hoax, there were never any workshops, just like no one ever stepped foot on the Moon.
from course webpages then and now8
From Course Webpages – Then and Now

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.

COURSE PURPOSE AND INTENDED AUDIENCE:

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.

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.

COURSE PURPOSE AND INTENDED AUDIENCE:

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 2007 (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 webpages then and now9
From Course Webpages – Then and Now

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.

OUTCOMES:

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

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.

OUTCOMES:

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 webpages then and now10
From Course Webpages – Then and Now

REQUIRED TEXT and SUPPLEMENTAL ACTIVITY MATERIALS:

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 ASP).

GRADING RUBRIC:

Description Weighting

Class Activities 60%

Final Examination 20%

Follow-up Session 20%

REQUIRED TEXT and SUPPLEMENTAL ACTIVITY MATERIALS:

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 ASP).

GRADING RUBRIC:

iclicker question14
iClicker Question
  • What was the biggest difference between the two workshops run at GMU?
  • A The number of days.
  • B The days of the week utilized.
  • C The computer usage.
  • D The personal response system.
  • E The use of guest speakers.
iclicker question18
iClicker Question
  • The demonstration of a portable planetarium system was excluded from the latest teacher workshop?
  • A True
  • B False
from course webpages
From Course Webpages
  • 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-tests
what worked especially well
What Worked Especially Well
  • Free handouts to the teachers
  • Guest speakers (from NASA GSFC, JPL, and GMU)
  • 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
  • Personal response system
    • Teachers stayed awake and focused without e-mailing too much
what didn t work too well
What Didn’t Work Too Well
  • Some teachers wanted more technical
  • Some teachers wanted more specific to SOL questions
  • Observing sessions held at night in 2006
    • Observatory not available for use in 2006
      • Teachers did get to see Moon and planets outdoors in 2006
      • Teachers did get to the observatory in 2007
  • 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 necessary
    • National study indicated that if no follow-up sessions, average knowledge latency is ~ 2days
  • Technical support issues
iclicker question22
iClicker Question
  • Who was not a speaker at either teacher workshop?
  • A Art Poland
  • B Joe Weingartner
  • C Bob Ehrlich
  • D Heather Bloemhard
  • E Heather Weir
assessments
Assessments
  • Based upon a combination of three standard tests
    • 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% in 2006
  • Post-test average of scores was 82% in 2006
  • Pre-test average of scores was 69% in 2007
  • Post-test average of scores was 76% in 2007
  • EVERY INDIVIDUAL SCORE INCREASED but one, from pre-testing compared to post-testing
    • See graphic on next slide
teacher comments
Teacher Comments
  • Teacher feedback via standard George Mason University course evaluations in 2006
  • 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)
iclicker question27
iClicker Question
  • There was only improvement on assessments in the earlier year.
  • A False
  • B True
teacher comments positive
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
Teacher Comments (Negative)
  • Negative
    • Gear more to Virginia SOLs
      • Add more content from SOL ES.14
        • This was done in 2007
      • Correlate better with Virginia earth science material
        • 2007 had more teachers from lower grades
    • Start later in day so no need to return for observing sessions in the evening
    • Have more night time observing sessions
      • Others didn’t want any
    • Make it more of a challenge
      • Make it more intellectually challenging
      • Make it less challenging
    • Have a review specifically for the final
    • Have better test questions
results from fall follow ups
Results from Fall Follow Ups
  • 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 shadow
    • 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 had teachers present results of their use of their prepared lesson plans with pre- and post-test results from their students
    • Resistance from students and teachers to pre- post- testing
conclusions from the summer teacher workshop
Conclusions from the Summer Teacher Workshop
  • 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 can whine as much 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)
    • Murphy of UVa disagrees with this
slide32
iClicker Question

What is the name of the speaker?

  • A Ehrlich
  • B Hennig
  • C Poland
  • D Geller
  • E Weir
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