Mailed November 2, 2006
Greetings on this cold and cloudy Thursday morning:
With the lousy weather outside, it is a great time to stay inside, grab a cup of hot chocolate, and catch up on Astronomy assignments. I am "hearing" from about half of you students on a regular basis, and the other half have not sent anything to me in over 2 weeks. I am making weekly progress reports to the NSO office on all of the student work done so far.
I teach another Astronomy course through a distance education format at a local college in the Twin Cities, and it is really hard for me to grade work when they turn everything in at one time. I am asking you to please complete the work on the History Unit and to complete the work on the NASA Space Race Unit.
Starting next week, I will NOT accept any work turned in for those units. We will be moving on to the study of planets and moons, and I want everyone to be on the same page in the course when we start this.
For those who do not see the emphasis I am putting on working consistently on a weekly basis in the course, I will NOT accept any work turned in for the Space Race and the History Units after this weekend is over. Sunday night at midnight is the deadline for those units.
Hope you will get going a little better for those who have been sluggish on the assignments, and I hope that others out there who are all caught up will enjoy the next unit. I am really excited to teach these next few weeks, but in order to have the best effect, I have to get everyone on the same page at the same time.
Mailed November 6, 2006
It is 7:27 am, and I am sitting in my classroom at Hopkins watching the sun rise over the trees to the east. It looks like a very nice day today. In fact, it looks like a great day! So great, that it is time to celebrate by beginning a study of the Earth and the Moon. This is a critical assignment, so please follow carefully.
1) Welcome to our newest student ... Eric Cooper. Can everyone say, "Hi Eric."
2) As I have been operating all term so far, the course is all worked on through the webpages that I have been trying to make for this course. you can link directly to the syllabus at: Syllabus
By scrolling down the right hand column, you will find that we are now at UNIT 6
There is an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT assignment. Please do this assignment TODAY or TOMORROW, since the weather might not hold up much longer. The idea is to create a model of the solar system that gives you an idea of just how big space is. See Scale Model
A teaching friend of mine sent me this interesting e-mail that puts it into perspective a little bit. When I can figure out how to copy and paste the pictures, I will send it to you.
3) After you have done the scale model, please proceed to: Earth Quiz
This is a direct link to the Quiz on the Earth. The Earth Unit became really, REALLY huge last spring when I had to do some work for the Minnesota State Board of Education. I enlarged the teaching on the Earth, and there are links to lots of extra information that are only relevant to an earth science class. However, the quiz is the place to begin for Astronomy, and you should print out a copy, and then go back to the introduction page for the Earth unit and look for the answers in the reading.
4) When this week is over, we will focus on the Moon, and move out to the planets.
5) I will try to write more specific instructions later today. This is a time where I will need to be an online teacher and you will have to read your e-mails to do what I am asking of you, and NOT do what is not necessary for this course.
Talk to you later today.
Mailed November 7, 2006
Well, it is another foggy morning here at Hopkins, but the weather outside will still be pretty good. It never got as nice as it was supposed to yesterday, but maybe today and tomorrow will be better. As you can see, there are now 10 students enrolled in the course. This is a new record, but none of this matters if I cannot help each of you finish the course. This week, the Scale Model project is happening. The purpose is to give you a perspective on how big space really is, and how small earth is in comparison.
Model of the Solar System
This is the link to the Scale Model Exercise. If you have any questions, please let me know immediately and I will help you with whatever you need.
Mailed November 10, 2006
Thas continues to be a very busy week, and I have to run into my class in 10 minutes. Something came across my inbox this morning that I want to quickly share with you.
Moon is Alive
Please click on this article. It holds very interesting news relevant to next week when we start to learn about the Moon. For almost the entierty of our understanding of the Moon, it has been considered geologically dead. This means that it has no plate tectonics, no active volcanoes, and does have a core that has solidified.
This new research presents possible evidence that the Moon might not be as we have thought it to be. If the Moon is still somewhat active, then two sets of questions arise:
1) What is the possible physical force behind the Moon's geologic activity?
2) Maybe Mars, Venus, and Mercury are active too, albeit in minor amounts compared to the Earth. Can Olympus Mons erupt on Mars again?
What I am asking you to do is just check out the article and write back to me saying whether you found it interesting or not. I just want you to read it, please.
Hope you are enjoying the return of winter!
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