Inquiry-Based Learning – Astronomy

Inquiry-Based Learning in Introductory Astronomy Courses

The ultimate long-term goal of this effort is to increase student motivation, success and interest in STEM fields through the development, use and assessment of collaborative inquiry- based methods in introductory astronomy courses.

Around 2800 students/year choose to take an astronomy class; the exposure of a significant fraction of LSA students to STEM concepts is through astronomy. The aim of this proposal is to explore and assess our efforts to make that contact with undergraduates more beneficial by adopting collaborative inquiry-based methods.

This project will focus on two medium-term tasks:

  • Develop and implement new collaborative inquiry-based learning activities into our survey courses. Such activities expose students to the challenges and sense of achievement when solving engaging and conceptually-rich problems.
  • In parallel, measure the effectiveness of inquiry-based learning as part of creating a larger departmental culture of assessment.

Project Team:

Eric Bell, Associate Professor, Department of Astronomy, College of LSA
Jon Miller, Associate Professor, Department of Astronomy, College of LSA
Monica Valluri, Associate Research Professor, Department of Astronomy, College of LSA
Chris Miller, Assistant Professor, Department of Astronomy, College of LSA