FALL 2000 Tu Th 330 - 5 pm WEL 3.502
SPECIAL NOTICE: If you have already taken Ast 303
or 302, you cannot get credit for this course. You should change
your enrollment to an astronomy course numbered 309 or higher.
Instructor: Dr. Bob Robbins (Office
RLM 13.136, ph.471-7312)
My office hours will be : after class every day after lecture,
as long as necessary, or by appointment.
TA: to be announced
The Text: Discovering Astronomy, Fourth
Edition by Shawl, Robbins, and Jefferys. (2000)
GRADING OF THIS COURSE
Your grade will come from short quizzes
given approximately every two weeks during the semester. Seven
quizzes will be given, each about 30 minutes long at most. The
two lowest quiz grades will be dropped, so that the final grade
will be determined by the 5 best quizzes, at 20% each.
Here is how it works. One week before,
I will give out a study sheet contained 10 study questions. I
will compose questions that review the important concepts of
each section of study. When you come to class to test, you will
find that I have chosen 3 of these questions for you to write
on. These will be the SAME QUESTIONS that were on your study
sheet. You can form study groups if you wish.
There are no make-up quizzes), since dropping
2 out of 7 quizzes is more than adequate to allow for normal
(occasional) sickness, bad days, and other problems. Unusual
circumstances such as unusually severe medical problems causing
you to miss more than 2 quizzes will be considered on an individual
basis. Bring such matters to my attention as soon as you notice
them developing. By the end of the semester, it is generally
too late to do anything about it. This quiz-dropping policy has
worked quite well in the past, and it gets me out of the business
of deciding whether or not you had a "good" or a "bad"
reason for missing a quiz.
Notice that every chapter has an overview
at the start and a chapter summary at the end. These are important
The text also contains many questions (Inquiries)
interspersed in the body of the text itself. In most textbooks,
the "questions to aid in studying" are located at the
back of the chapter where they can be conveniently ignored. In
this book, the questions occur at the point where they are relevant.
When you see one of these inquiries, you should stop and try
to answer it. If you can, you are probably understanding the
material. If you can't, you should begin finding out why. The
inquiries help to change the study process from passive memorization
to a more active learning experience. The inquires are answered
at the end of the chapter, but if you simply turn to the end
and read the answer, you will not learn the material as well
as someone who really attempts to answer the questions realistically
in a quiz situation.
There are also Discovery exercises
in many chapters that also stress active learning. They are simple
activities that in general you can do on your own that assist
you in learning some astronomy by direct observations. A blue
box in the text will indicate where a certain Discovery logically
fits. The directions themselves are placed at the end of the
chapter. You can understand the chapter without doing the Discoveries,
but they definitely increase your comprehension. I will note
various useful discoveries as we go along.
Deadlines and Drops
Wednesday, Sept. 27 is the last day to
drop freely. After this date, University regulations state that
you must be working at a C rate in the class to receive a grade
of Q (dropped, passing). Up until October 25, you may change
between letter-grade and pass-fail status. (Note however that
pass-fail registration will not satisfy your science requirement.)
To drop after October 25 is even more difficult, since you must
also convince the dean of students of your college that you have
some "urgent and substantiated nonacademic reason"
justifying the drop at such a late date. If you are doing poorly
in the class, do take effective action by these deadline days.
You invite all sorts of trouble from the administration when
you procrastinate past one of them.
QUIZ DATES (all at the start of class) and the Reading they
||Chap 1, 3, 4
||Chaps 5, 6, 7
||Chaps 8 (skip 144-151), chaps 9,
10 (skip pages 218 - 222)
||Chaps 11, 12, 13, 14 (skip from
last paragraph of p. 258 to 270)
||Chaps 15 (skip Inquires 15-3 and
15-4 and the two paragraphs above them). And chaps 16, 17 (skip
CNO cycle, p. 344 and pp. 359-360.
||Chaps 18, 19, 20 (skip pp. 375-378)
||Chaps 21, 22, 23
will be no final exam.
The class lectures will basically follow
the pattern of the book chapters, except that the material on
Ancient Astronomy will be expanded somewhat in connection with
chapters 3 and 4.
Read Chapter 1 now.