Lecture-Tutorials for Introductory Astronomy, which was developed by the Conceptual Astronomy and Physics Education Research (CAPER) Team, is a collection of classroom-tested activities designed for the large-lecture introductory astronomy class, although it is suitable for any astronomy class. The Lecture-Tutorials are short, structured activities designed for students to complete while working in pairs. Each activity targets one or more specific learning objectives based on research on student difficulties in astronomy. Most activities can be completed in 10 to 15 minutes.
The instructor's guide provides, for each activity, the recommended prerequisite knowledge, the learning goals for the activity, a pre-activity assessment question, an answer key, suggestions for implementation, and follow-up questions to be used for class discussion or homework.
Table of ContentsNaked-Eye Astronomy
Seasonal Stars 7
Solar vs. Sidereal Day 11
Path of the Sun 19
Star Charts 23Moon Phases
The Cause of Moon Phases 25
Predicting Moon Phases 29Nature of Light and Electromagnetic Spectrum
Luminosity, Temperature and Size 33
Lecture-Tutorials for Introductory Astronomy has been developed in response to the demand from astronomy instructors for easily implemented student activities for integration into existing course structures. Rather than asking facultyand studentsto convert to an entirely new course structure, our approach in developing Lecture-Tutorials was to create classroom-ready materials to augment more traditional lectures. Any of the activities in this manual can be inserted at the end of lecture presentations and, because of the education research program that led to the activities' development, we are confident in asserting that the activities will lead to deeper and more completestudent understanding of the concepts addressed.
Each Lecture-Tutorial presents a structured series of questions designed to confront and resolve student difficulties with a particular topic. Confronting difficulties often means answering questions incorrectly; this is expected. When this happens, the activities are crafted to help a student understand where her or his reasoning went wrong and to develop a more thorough understanding as a result. Therefore, while completing the activities, students are encouraged to focus more on their reasoning and less on trying to guess an expected answer. The activities are meant to be completed by students working in pairs who "talk out" the answers with each other to make their thinking explicit.
At the conclusion of each Lecture-Tutorial, instructors are strongly encouraged to engage their class in a brief discussion about the particularly difficult concepts in the activityan essential implementation step that brings closure to the activity. The online Instructor's Guide also provides "post-tutorial" questions that can be used to gauge the effectiveness of the Lecture-Tutorial before moving on to new material.