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A site has been posted containing problems appropriate for courses in introductory Astronomy. Problems in basic Physics are also included. They can be freely downloaded and used as you wish.These exercises are suitable for –• an honors introductory course for non-science majors• an introductory course for science majors • ...
A site has been posted containing problems appropriate for courses in introductory Astronomy. Problems in basic Physics are also included. They can be freely downloaded and used as you wish.
These exercises are suitable for –
• an honors introductory course for non-science majors • an introductory course for science majors • a second course for non-science majors
All of them are quantitative, and are at a mathematical level involving nothing beyond exponential arithmetic. Many are quite extensive. None are multiple-choice.
Also included: problems involving inquiry / project-based learning and group work.
These exercises have evolved out of my years of teaching introductory courses in Astronomy for non-science majors at Amherst College. Surveying the available problems in textbooks, web sites etc I was struck by the need for exercises that students would find interesting, that go beyond the usual (‘verify equation such-and such,” or “what is the distance to a star with such-&-such a parallax”) and seek to involve the student in more challenging issues.
We have a tendency to think that independent thinking cannot be done by non-science students, and that only advanced science majors have learned enough of the material to begin to think creatively about it. I believe this attitude is false. In this website I present exercises designed to move students beyond their normal comfort level, and that give them the opportunity to think about issues somewhat more subtle than they may be used to.
I hope that instructors will find these problems useful in their teaching. Please download them, use them in any way you see fit, and modify them in any way you wish. I would appreciate hearing from people who have used these exercises about students’ reactions to them, and I would appreciate suggestions about how they can be improved. I intend to modify this web site from time to time in the light of users’ comments.
George Greenstein Emeritus Professor of Astronomy Amherst College firstname.lastname@example.org