Astro 300 (Fall 2010)


Class is held: Monday 5-7pm, 501 Campbell

Instructor: Aaron Lee (, Josh Shiode (

Advising Professor: Imke de Pater (imke@astro)

You should make sure to read the syllabus.

Other Important Stuff

An important resource for GSIs is the Electronic Big Red Binder and, to a lesser extent, its hard copy equivalent, the Big Red Binder (located in the seventh floor library in Campbell) . Reuse and modification of any and all of the materials in these resources is highly encouraged! So is contribution back to the EBRB of your improved materials!

Astronomy in the News - A list of interesting astro-related news articles and websites (usually with more of an emphasis on pop-culture type stuff). Everyone in the class should update this on occasion.

Ay 300 Lesson Plans

Class Number Date/Week of Topics
Class 1 T 8/24 Boot Camp Day 1 Intro / administrative details / course goals / teaching in general / the atmosphere of section / syllabuses / resources
Class 2 W 8/25 Boot Camp Day 2 lecturing and board work / interacting with students / peer learning / your first section / first day activities
Class 3 M 8/30 Ethics & cheating / group work / worksheets / planning lessons
Class 4 M 9/13 Administering Demos / Writing & Administering Quizzes / Choose GSI visitation partners / Choose Design-a-Demo Groups
Class 5 M 9/20 Writing Effective Worksheets / Grading HWs & Quizzes / Discuss GSI visitation
Class 6 M 9/27 Writing exam questions / Present Initial Ideas for Design-a-Demo Presentation
Class 7 M 10/4 Review Sessions / Finish Initial Ideas for DaD Presentations / Collaborative Learning Techniques (e.g., Think-Pair-Share)
Class 8 W 10/13 ? Hour long class: Midterm Evals
Class 9 M 10/18 Present Design-a-Demo Projects 1 / Writing effective problems
Class 10 M 10/25 Present Design-a-Demo Projects 2 / Section Recap
Class 11 M 11/1 Section Recaps / Board Work practice
Class 12 M 11/8 Section Recaps / Board Work practice
Class 13 M 11/15 Teaching for advance classes ( McBride, George, Chiang visit )
Class 14 M 11/22
Class 15 M 11/29 Alex visits / Teaching portfolios


Ay 300-specific and general pedagogy

AY 10-specific


Sample syllabi and first section lesson plans can be found on this page of the EBRB.

Sample mid-semester evaluations can be found on this page of the EBRB.

GSI Assignments

AY C10 (Filippenko/Jones)

Graduate Student Instructors

  1. Therese Jones (Head)
  2. Francesca Fornasi
  3. Garrett Keating
  4. Timothy Kwan
  5. Casey Stark
  6. Huanhuan Wang
  7. Jonathan Wright
  8. Mike Yee
  9. Jieun

Undergraduate Student Instructors

  1. Jess Allen
  2. Iok Chang
  3. Rachel Kennedy
  4. Michelle Kislak
  5. Allison Merritt
  6. Marin Anderson

AY 7a (Eugene)

  1. Yookyung
  2. Katie Silverio

Phy 7a (?)

  1. Robert Wills

Members of Ay300

  1. Francesca Fornasi
  2. Garrett Keating
  3. Timothy Kwan
  4. Casey Stark
  5. Jonathan Wright
  6. Mike Yee
  7. Jieun Choi
  8. Jess Allen
  9. Iok Chang
  10. Rachel Kennedy
  11. Michelle Kislak
  12. Allison Merritt
  13. Marin Anderson
  14. Katie Silverio
  15. Robert Wills

Previous Semesters

C10-specific webpages

Section Recap Questions

Think of a particular instance from section (a class discussion, group work on a worksheet, mini-lecture, etc.).

  • What was your goal for this part of the class?
  • What was your plan to accomplish this goal?
  • What were the students reactions? How did they compare to your expectations?
  • How did you assess whether your goal was achieved?
  • What did you do well?
  • What could you have done differently?

Here is a thorough example:

I prepared a mini-lecture on the Doppler effect that was supposed to be 10 minutes. I planned to draw several figures on the board that involved an exoplanet orbiting a star. I polled the class for when I would observe a redshift and when I would observe a blueshift. I was hoping to emphasize (1) that we observe the star and not the planet, (2) the magnitude of these Doppler shifts, and (3) how the Doppler shift translates to the existence of an exoplanet around the star.

Students were quiet when I asked questions. Students were resistant to answer and mumbled in their groups. I tried cold calling on a group to answer my question “When do we see a blueshift?”, and the group just stared at me. One of the group members eventually answered correctly after a couple seconds of silence, but it was unclear whether the rest of the group (or the class) understood the concept. I noticed I was short on time at this point and decided to move on.

I had expected to cover more questions in the given time, but the lack of student participation hindered progress. I gave a worksheet after this mini-lecture that talked about what we had just covered. Mingling with the groups, I saw most of the groups were correctly answering the questions. However, it is unclear what part the mini-lecture played in their understanding of the Doppler shift.

I feel I did a good job on asking specific questions even though students did not answer until they were probed. I felt the worksheet was well designed and adequately assessed whether they understood the material. I would have liked to have more student participation but I am not sure how to get students to want to speak up in class. Perhaps I could have used something like Think-Pair-Share during the mini-lecture to give them time to assess their understanding.

Stuff for Josh and Aaron

Quick recap of Fall 2009 semester, with comments on pieces of the curriculum and recommendations for this upcoming semester.

Things to do before the semester starts!