revised 8/19/07 at 4pm
If you are new to Astronomy 10, take a a few minutes to read the course
description and information below. The timeline for everything you
need to do in the class is contained in the
Weekly Schedule. You will see the link
for this web page at the top of this page. Please check it out as soon
as you can! If you have questions about anything in this document,
please ask in class on Monday and Wed from 9:30 to 10:45 in room
General Course Information
Astro 10 is a one-semester
introduction to the solar system. Along the way, we will explore the
motions of the stars, planets, and moons. We will also study the Earth,
inside and out (literally!), and some of the environmental problems
that we six billion humans are facing here at home.
Using the Earth as a model,
we can also learn about other worlds, starting with the Moon, Mercury,
Venus, Mars, the Jovian planets, and the numerous small bodies that orbit beyond neptune, including Pluto and and other newly discovered "dwarf planets." As part of our exploration, we
will discuss theories on the formation of the solar system and study
evidence for these theories contained in the debris--comets and asteroids--still
in orbit about the sun. Finally, we will apply what what have learned
about our own solar system to the search for planets outside the solar
system and the possibility of finding intelligent life on these new
Learning and processing
the big picture presented in astronomy 10 will take a serious
commitment of time and concentration. To provide a point a reference,
students are advised to set aside nine hours per week for the class--three
hours in class, and six studying and working through class materials.
My best advice is to try to do something related to astronomy
every day until you find a pace that works.
In simplest terms, you
will need to do six things to succeed in this class. In order of importance
to your grade, they are
- Study material
from your textbook and web sites listed in the class syllabus, (working with classmates is highly recommended)
- prepare for and take five class quizzes.
- come to class regularly, take notes, and complete worksheets as handed out and read them over before coming to the next class.
- complete Assignments
from the Mastering
- take a final
- ask questions and get
help from your instructor!
- complete the optional
To help you track your grades, facilitate communication with your classmates and instructor, and to take a few on-line quizzes, A course management system called Blackboard will be an essential component to this class. You can access blackboard using the link at top of this page, or by going to http://clpccd.blackboard.com
From Blackboard, you
can send messages to your instructor and classmates using the
e-mail system, and your instructor can send out individual emails, or notices to the entire class (note--blackboard simply routes messages to your regular
e-mail address--be sure to go to Student Tools and personal information to make sure your e-mail
address is correct. YOU MUST have a valid e-mail address listed
there or you cannot hope to communicate as needed).
When you are finished reading this document, go to blackboard and
click on the various links to see what is available. Two on-line quizzes
will appear in the Quizzes/Exams folder on the dates listed in the class schedule. Your instructor will also remind the class well ahead of time.
In Blackboard, you can also access this page, as the vital Class Schedule.
ASTR 10 — INTRODUCTION TO ASTRONOMY: THE SOLAR SYSTEM —
Introduction to history and physical principles of astronomy, focusing
on our Solar System. Includes: constellations; distance scales; historical
development of astronomy; gravitation; motion of the Earth, Moon,
and Planets; astronomical tools; formation and evolution of the solar
system; physical properties, atmosphere, and evolution of the Earth,
Moon, and planets within the solar system; asteroids, comets, and
other small bodies; discovery of extra-solar planets; possibilities
for life beyond Earth. Designed for non-majors in mathematics or a
physical science. A companion science lab, Astronomy 30, is also available.
The textbook for our course is The Cosmic Perspective
4thEd: The Solar System by Bennett, Donahue, Schneider,
Mastering Astronomy Access Code
you purchase your text new in the bookstore, a code for accessing
the Mastering Astronomy Website will be included in an insert
in your text. If you purchase your book used, or elsewhere,
you will need to purchase an access code once you log on the
Mastering Astronomy. The cost is approximately $27.
you must enter the class id: MAHARPELL2227
when you register for the site using your access code.
Note: Benett's "Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology --The
Cosmic Perspective" is a "split"-- approximately half
of Bennett's Astronomy, the Cosmic Perspective (the
4th edition). The other half is currently used in astronomy
Other Course materials:
access: Access to Computer with working
Internet connection. While having a working internet connection at home is highly convenient, There are a large number of computers available on campus
at Las Positas College (try the
Learning Resource Center, building 800, or the science work area in 1824). Local Libraries, Internet cafes,
and community colleges also have Internet access. You are responsible
for keeping up with class work regardless of the status of your
Trails Above Mauna Kea, From APOD
and Assessment .
Astronomy 10 will be based on your performance on mastering astronomy
tutorial assignments, 5 class quizzes, a final exam, and class
attendance and participation. Each these graded items will be discussed
in more detail below.
You are expected to come to class regularly. Although attendance will not be taken each week, worksheets will be passed out without prior announcement Although these will not be graded for correctness, they will be checked for effort and of course, for attendance. Half of your points for attendance and participation will come from these worksheets and class attendance records. The other half will come simply from your instructors determination of the level of effort you have made to come to class and understand class material.
Saturn's moon Titan, as seen from the Cassini orbiter
will be 5 quizzes on dates given in the schedule. Three quizzes will be in class and two will be on-line in Blackboard. Quizzes will be
based on lectures, textbook material, Mastering Astronomy assignments, and class worksheets. Although quiz questions will not be drawn from external
websites (those linked to the class), they may be of help from time
to time. Quiz problems will be be multiple choice and short answer/essay.
Review sheets for the quizzes will be posted in the class schedule ahead of time to help you prepare. In class quizzes are closed book, and no notes, but they also will not require you to memorize minute detail. On-line quizzes are open book, and open notes, but you may not work direction with another person.
Missed or late Quizzes:
Your final exam can replace your lowest or missed quiz. In other words, if you do well on the final, it counts double. If you have missed one quiz, then the final exam percentage will automatically replace the missing quiz. If you miss a second quiz, you are out of luck unless you complete a research paper (see below) which can also replace a quiz. If you know you are going to miss a quiz in advance, please see your instructor for alternative arrangements.
from Mastering Astronomy
Mastering Astronomy Website is portal to learning astronomy
over the Internet. This site is found at www.masteringastronomy.com. Note that
you must enter the class id: MAHARPELL2227 when you
register for the site using your access code. Before you get started, please check out Harpell's guide to Mastering Astronomy
Word of warning: DO NOT IGNORE THE
Mastering astronomy website!
Tutorials, Ranking Tasks, and Practice Quizzes
from the Mastering Astronomy site are particularly useful and are a required
part of the class! The Mastering Astronomy website is designed,
created, and updated by the publishers of your textbook. See Harpell's guide to Mastering Astronomy. You
are graded for completing assignments in the "assignment list"
in mastering astronomy on a scale of 1 - 10 points. It is best to
complete the tutorials after you finish reading each chapter. A schedule of
assignments in mastering astronomy is found in the class schedule/syllabus.
Note that Mastering Astronomy contains many more tutorials than the
ones listed here. You can access the "extra" tutorials,
as well as practice quizzes and interactive figures by clicking on
the tabs beneath the "study area". .
Getting Credit for your Mastering Astronomy Assignments
For full credit, you
need only get 70% or better. If you get less than 70% you grade will be
computed by taking your percentage dived by 70%, and then multiplied
by 100% (or 8 points). So if you get 50%, for example, your score
will be 50/70 x 100% =71%. You can easily get over 70% however, but
practicing the tutorials and quizzes in the study area.
be sure to Read the Guide
to Mastering Astronomy
When you register
for the mastering Astronomy website, be sure to enter the class
you purchase your text new in the bookstore, a code for accessing
the Mastering Astronomy will be included in an insert in your text.
If you purchase your book used, or elsewhere, you will need to purchase
an access code once you log on the Mastering Astronomy. The cost is
Research Assignment (optional) :
If you wish to replace your lowest quiz score with a research assignment, you are encouraged to find a topic that interests you and complete the following assignment. The research assignment will be a current
event summary--your first source will be a print article of current
interest in astronomy beyond the solar system, backed up by information
that you find on the web. Most people want to do this in the opposite order, but if you want a good grade on this assignment, please don't ignore the directions--find a printed article, then look for information on the web..period! More of this will be discussed below. Once
you have completed your research you will create a power point presentation,
web page, or word document and submit it to your instructor via email or by brining a hard copy to class.
The only criteria
for choosing a topic for the assignment is that it be directly
related to course material, and that you have access to three recent
references on the subject, both electronic and print (at least one
of each--textbook not included), and that your material is current
(for example, a report on large astronomical telescopes should include
information on telescopes currently under construction)
In particular, you are encouraged to explore areas of current debate
and search for extra-solar planets
of life on Mars
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
planned exploration of
of finding life on Europa or other Jovian moon
of Mars or Venus
of the Earth's atmosphere
for colonizing the moon or other world.
mission to Saturn
Project Deep Impact
to Comet Tuttle.
The discovery of Trans-Neptunian
Objects such Quoar, Sedna, and the newly discovered Planet ten ("Eris")
Of course, there
a large number of choices, too numerous to list here. Once you have
selected a topic, the requirements are listed below.
1) Complete your
research and create a presentation using Power Point, a web page creation
tool, or simply a word processing program. Your work should include
text equivalent to three or four pages, twelve points and double spaced,
2) Submit your
projects it on or before the day of Quiz 5. Note ......Inserting
properly referenced images in your paper or project is a wonderful
idea, but they must lengthen your paper beyond three pages of text.
In Lieu of a formal paper, you are strongly encouraged to create a
web site or Power point presentation with illustrations, links, etc.
In all cases, you must reference your sources. While multi-media presentations
are strongly encouraged, they are by no means mandatory! Whether you
create a web page, type a formal paper, or create a power point presentation
is completely up to you.
will be based on total points as follows:
- ten assignments from
Mastering Astronomy--100 points
- 5 Class Quizzes
- a final exam 50
- course participation
total = 430 points
Grades (out of 430 possible points)
Ask questions during class, or after class...even better, come to your instructors office hours in room 1830. Here are your instructor's office hours and class schedule. You are always welcome to come by and chat!
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