Steven Finkelstein's Teaching Page

Philosophy on Learning

In addition to research, I am devoted to being a learner-centered instructor. In all of my classes, I focus on creating an active learning environment, and I try to make use of new techniques, including peer instruction, flipped classrooms, and in-class activities.

Courses Taught
Astronomy 301 - This course is our 101-level non-science major astronomy survey course. This course covers all areas of astronomy, from Ancient Greece, to the Solar System, to distant galaxies and the Big Bang. The majority of activities in this course come from the Center for Astronomy Education, but I have developed some of my own:

1) Astrophysical Scales I do this activity on the first day of class, to set the tone for active learning. In this activity, students explore the distance between the Earth and the Moon, the Sun and Alpha Centauri, and the Milky Way and Andromeda. I use 12 in paper plates to represent these objects, and the students get a visceral sense for the emptiness of space when compared to the size of the objects in it.
2) Dark Matter
3) Photometric Redshifts