Calendar of Events

Events Calendar

Beyond the Night Sky: Astronomy Education Research in Cultural Cosmology and Space Exploration

Date and Time: Wednesday, November 09, 2022, 03:30pm - 04:30pm
Location: 330W and via Zoom

Speaker: Janelle M. Bailey, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Science Education, Temple University


Abstract:  Astronomy has a noteworthy position in garnering interest among STEM majors and non-science majors alike, providing rich opportunities for investigating students’ beliefs and understanding. In this talk I will describe current progress in two ongoing studies. The first study investigates the impact of a project in which upper-division students explore cultural aspects of cosmology (such as those of Indigenous, non-Western, or marginalized groups). Students’ written reflections and oral interviews suggest students were surprised in the number of ways where the cosmological beliefs of their selected culture aligned with current science, within the limitations of available technology of the time. Students also reported that engaging with the projects made them feel like the astronomical community would be welcoming of them, even if they are not from the majority demographic, and that it supported goals of continued astronomical learning. In the second study, we look at how two activities, Migration to Mars and Solar Sails, designed for an undergraduate astronomy course and taught online during the COVID pandemic, influenced students’ understanding of various factors relevant to space exploration both with and without human crews. Results show that students generally understood the value of uncrewed missions and the fact that solar sails use sustainable energy.


Host:  Geraldine Cochran