Assignments for WEEK 2

Weekly Objectives:

  • Explain how solar system dynamics has influenced the existence of life on Earth.
  • Describe how terrestrial mechanisms have affected life on Earth.
  • Survey students to determine existing concepts related to the study of Astrobiology.
  • Analyze student surveys to provide qualitative and quantitative data on student beliefs about astrobiology topics.
  • Discuss the use of inquiry-based learning in the classroom.


Reading Assignment:

  • Read Chapter 2 (pgs. 16 to 34) and Read Chapter 3 (pgs. 35 to 53) of Jakosky


Lab Activity:

  • There is no lab activity assigned this week


Homework Assignments:


  • Assignment #3: Provide a brief answer to each of the following questions.
    1. What role has Jupiter played in the history of impacts on Earth and the existence of life?
    2. Describe the four fundamental mechanisms by which the Earth is heated?
  • Assignment #4: Administer the Astrobiology questionnaires to your students and provide a quantitative analysis that identifies the percentage of interesting responses students gave. Focus on results that identify the concepts that your students appear to already understand as well as those scientifically incorrect ideas that they have which you feel would be important to address in a classroom lesson.

Note: There are three different surveys. When administering these surveys to students be sure to let them know that they may not and are not expected to know all the exact right answer to the questions. Ask them to tell us what they really think is the right answer. Tell them to imagine that they are just talking with their best friends about these ideas. Make it clear that their answers will not be shared with other students and they will not be penalized or graded on their responses.

Each student you survey does not need to complete each survey, (however it is OK to do so if you have the time). Rather the three different surveys should be distributed to the class with a nearly even distribution of students each getting one of the surveys. In this way each student answers at least one survey and each of the three surveys gets an equal representation from your population. A minimum of at lease 30 students should participate.

By completing this assignment you will gain experience on what it is like to perform Astronomy Education Research and you will develop a better understanding of your students conceptual understanding on topics pertaining to astrobiology. You may use this information to drive ideas for your curriculum development projects, and field test and implementation project.

Study & Discussion Questions:

Discuss the questions shown below in your groups:

  1. If you wanted to teach your students about the important concepts related to the topics of impacts, impact rate, and mass extinctions, what type of inquiry-based activities would you use? What is meant by an "inquiry-based activity?"
  2. Would the activity that you describe be considered an Astrobiology Activity? Why or why not?

Then, answer the study questions for Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 as assigned by your instructor.