Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Study Of The Sun

The past couple of years, I have been lucky enough to teach something that is a hobby to students. I am not really an expert in Astronomy but I do like to study it in a recreational format. That led me to establish a class on Astronomy at AHS. The class usually fills with seniors and since there is only one section, it is a bit more relaxed than the chemistry classes that I teach. However, the past couple of years, I have stood at the front of the room at the beginning of the semester and presented material about our closest star (the Sun, just in case). Usually the students spend the time checking their eye lids for any signs of "leaking light." So, I thought I would try something different...

With the access to the computers and a seemingly endless supply of images on-line I set my stents out on a hunt.
  1. Find out what some of the terms are that describe features of the Sun.
  2. Collaborate with other students about descriptions dealing with the Sun.
  3. Find images showing examples of the features of the Sun.
  4. Use the information that they generated to identify features of the Sun on images that I found.

I was amazed. Not only were they excited about looking at images of the Sun, they were looking at images of other things dealing with Astronomy at they were discussing them. There were some images that the students had difficulty interpreting and they even returned to their computers to continue research and eventually decided on the identification of the images. This was becomming a dream for me. I was able to watch a diverse group of studetns start on the same path, find information, put it into an organized format, and then use the information to analyze and interpret additional data. We were doing science! It sure is nice when there is the time to do something right.