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Paper: Facilitating Inquiry in Online Astronomy Labs
Volume: 531, ASP2020: Embracing the Future: Astronomy Teaching and Public Engagement
Page: 211
Authors: Sibbernsen, K.
Abstract: For the last 10 years, I have been teaching online astronomy laboratory classes at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska. In the development of these laboratory exercises, the focus was on inquiry—getting students to ask good scientific questions and answer them using real databases and some NASA simulators that are free and open to the public online. For laboratory exercises, students use such databases as the USGS Earthquakes site, Helioviewer, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, Galaxy Zoo, and the Exoplanets database in addition to unaided eye observations of the night sky throughout the term. Students also participate in virtual science conferences twice throughout the term where they share their individual research questions, data, and conclusions with the class and use evaluation criteria to hone their science skills. This session will explain reasons for supporting inquiry in online astronomy labs, suggestions for how to teach students to ask good scientific questions, how to use real data that is accessible online to answer those questions, and ways to allow them to communicate their results with others.
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