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Paper: Exploring our Sun: Science, Stories, and Solar Wax Melters
Volume: 533, ASP 2021: Sharing Best Practices – AstronomyTeaching and Public Engagement
Page: 233
Authors: Beck, J.
Abstract: At the University of North Carolina Asheville, our “First Year Seminar” courses all have different content themes but share the common goal of helping students transition to college. The courses have no pre-requisites, tend to be interdisciplinary, and are open to students of all intended majors. This paper will share experiences I have had designing and implementing a first year seminar course on the Sun. The course was first taught in Fall 2017, and began with a class field trip to observe a total solar eclipse. While an impressive spectacle of that magnitude has not been available in later iterations, the course continues to engage students in multidisciplinary approaches to studying the Sun, combining solar science, climate science, history, culture, and story-telling. In addition, students observe with safe solar telescopes and participate in creative group projects, such as building solar wax melters out of found and recycled materials. While some of the class activities are designed specifically with the “first year experience” in mind, others could easily be adapted to any introductory level astronomy course.
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