Astro 375 / Astro 300 (Fall 2013)

This course qualifies for the GSI Teaching and Resource Center's Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.


Class is held: Wednesday from 6-8 pm in Dwinelle 210.

The Bootcamp is held: Tuesday, Aug 27 and Wednesday, Aug 28 from 4-6pm in Hearst Field Annex, Room B-1.

Faculty Instructor: Imke de Pater (imke@astro)

Graduate Student Instructors: Francesca Fornasini (, Aaron Lee (


Ay 375 Lesson Plans

(Any lesson plans for future dates are subject to revision, but feel free to peruse if you're interested.)

Class Number Date/Week of Topics Lesson Plan Link
1 Aug 27 Bootcamp 1: Paper airplane activity/discussion, What makes a good section? General classroom setting, syllabus design, philosophy from the instructors BootCamp Day 1
2 Aug 28 Bootcamp 2: Syllabi activities, board work activity, first day activities (Experienced GSI visit (Karto)), class closings and assessment, resources BootCamp Day 2
3 Sept 4 Section Recaps, Ay375 Logistics, Lecturing Styles Class 3
4 Sept 11 Learning Styles, Implementing Group Work Class 4
5 Sept 18 Experienced GSI visit (Isaac), Learning Objectives & Lesson Plans, Group Work continued Class 5
6 Sept 25 Exam, Worksheet, and Quiz Question Discussion, Big and Small Group Dynamics Class 6
7 Oct 2 Teaching Philosophy, Experienced GSI visit (Josiah), Grading Rubrics Class 7
8 Oct 9 Board Work Part 1, Demos, Midsemester Evals Class 8
9 Oct 16 Board Work Part 2, Experienced GSI visit (James) Class 9
10 Oct 23 General Reflection Day, Improving Office Hours Class 10
11 Oct 30 Midsemester Eval discussion, Experienced GSI visit (Nick), Ethics Class 11
12 Nov 6 Design-A-Section (introduce, setting milestones), Misconceptions Class 12
13 Nov 13 Design-A-Section (milestone 1), The Hidden Curriculum Class 13
14 Nov 20 Design-A-Section (milestone 2), Student Expectations / Motivations (Celia's Day) Class 14
15 Dec 4 Design-A-Section Presentations Class 15
16 Dec 11 Professors Visit, Teaching Portfolios, Philosophy and Course Closing Class 16


Ay 375-specific and general pedagogy

Teaching Pedagogy Books that Aaron enjoys

Teaching and Designing Courses

Strategies for Astro 101 by Tim Slater and Jeff Adams. (Amazon) A great affordable book on designing Astro 101 (Introductory Astronomy for non-majors) courses. Applied to the course as a whole, but a lot of this book applies to running sections as well.

McKeachie's Teaching Tips by Marilla Svinicki and Wilbert McKeachie. (Amazon) Almost biblical in the pedagogy world, this book covers almost anything you need to know about teaching. If you want to shell out the money, this is the book to get. It covers everything in Slater and Adams and more (no need to buy both…).

Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite by Edward Redish. (Amazon ; the book chapters are available for free here) Teaching Physics is a book about learning to be a more effective physics teacher. It is meant for anyone who is interested in learning about recent developments in physics education.

Student Learning

Why Students Don't Like School: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom by Daniel Willingham. (Amazon) Fascinating account on how the brain “learns” and how you can use that both to your advantage in the classroom and to assess why certain activities might have failed.

How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching by Ambrose et al. (Amazon) An interesting book that covers seven very real problems that you will experience in section. Applied to teaching a course as a whole, many of the book discussions can also be applied to sections.

GSI Assignments

Astro 10 (Blitz) - Cheng, Duncan

Astro 12 (Marcy) - Goldstein, Fricke, McBride, Lovill

Astro 160 (Marcy) - Nims

Astr 122 (Graham) - Wang, Cohen

Members of Ay375 (teaching times)

Elizabeth McBride (TR 2-3 W 9-10)

Carina Cheng (1-2 W B1 3-4 W Evans)

Danny Cohen (OH sun)

Danny Goldstein (12-2 W)

Jason Wang (T 6-8, OH T 5-6)

Jesse Nims (T 4-5 and M 4-5)

Kyle Fricke (W 11-12 2-3)

Sky Lovill (TR 12-1)

Jake Duncan (F 1-2 3-4)

Stuff for the instructors

Some Notes on development and from previous semesters.

The syllabus given to the GSI Resource Center.

Stuff Aaron uses for Spring 2014 C10: AyC10

Previous Semesters