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Paper: A New Approach to Active Learning in the Planetarium
Volume: 457, Connecting People to Science
Page: 269
Authors: Hodge, T. M.; Saderholm, J. C.
Abstract: In a recent survey, Small & Plummer (2010) found that the goals of planetarium professionals are aligned with inquiry-based, active learning. However, most planetarium shows are designed as passive entertainment, with education as a secondary goal. In addition, there are very few research-based studies on the types of activities which promote greater learning within the planetarium environment, particularly at the post-secondary level. We report the results of the pilot test of a novel use of the planetarium to provide a simulated night sky, which students use to make longitudinal observations and measurements of planetary positions. In spite of several pragmatic limitations, the planetarium environment is well suited to student construction of both geocentric and heliocentric models of the solar system from direct observation. The curriculum we are developing addresses common misconceptions about the nature of science, in particular the use of modeling in the development of scientific knowledge.
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