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Insights into the Universe (2003)

Edited by T. F. Slater and Michael Zeilik

AstroNotes was started to give physics and astronomy teachers insightful approaches to engage their students. This book continues that tradition. Timeless ideas and classroom-proven strategies will help the novice teacher and the seasoned pro find more effective ways to teach astronomy. Many of the articles focus on a single concept. Nearly all embody a new slant on teaching a topic. Use this book to help invigorate your astronomy class.


So, you are it! You may be a new college faculty member with a background in physics (maybe even astronomy!) assigned the honor of teaching “Astronomy 101”, the proverbial introductory course for non-science majors. Or, you may be a high-school teacher with no background in astronomy thrilled to start-up an elective course. Or, you may be a middle-school science teacher who has seen the brain lights “turn on” with astronomy topics. Whatever your situation, you likely seek new topics and fresh approaches to your teaching.

If you instruct at the college level, you have a sticky task. You know that the class will be large (in the U.S.A., the average size is about 300!). You sense (correctly!) that many students will have a deep fear of “math”—even graphs will challenge them. You sigh because “limited resources” means in reality that you will have little help from the department chair, who has told you to “make the course popular” and “fill the seats, we need those student credit hours to grab the Dean’s attention.”

What to do? You have subscribed to The Physics Teacher for many years and recall glancing at some astronomy articles and the regular AstroNotes column. Now, where are all those back issues … ? Well, here they are, all in one handy volume! You can now jump to some intelligent planning for your course for novice students.