Physical Science (Astronomy)

Course Number: GS 107
Transcript Title: Physical Science (Astronomy)
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: August 14, 2019
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 30
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 30
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0

Prerequisites

MTH 65 or equivalent placement test scores

Prerequisite / Concurrent

Course Description

Surveys astronomy to include historical development of the universe, earth as a planet, earth's moon, planets of the solar system, the sun, stars and galaxies. Includes weekly lab. Prerequisite: MTH 65 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

A student who successfully completes this course should be able to:

  1. Use an understanding of solar system models to explain the motions and phases of astronomical objects visible to the naked eye in the night sky.
  2. Use an understanding of planetary, stellar, galactic and universe scale astronomical processes to assess the possibility of life existing elsewhere in the universe.
  3. Access space science information from a variety of sources, evaluate the quality of this information, and compare this information with current models of astronomical processes identifying areas of congruence and discrepancy.
  4. Make field and laboratory based observations and measurements of astronomical phenomena, use scientific reasoning to interpret these observations and measurements, and compare the results with current astronomical models identifying areas of congruence and discrepancy.
  5. Use scientifically valid modes of inquiry, individually and collaboratively, to critically evaluate the hazards and risks posed by astronomical processes both to themselves and society as a whole, evaluate the efficacy of possible ethically robust responses to these risks, and effectively communicate the results of this analysis to their peers.
  6. Assess the contributions of astronomy to our evolving understanding of global change and sustainability while placing the development of astronomy in its historical and cultural context.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

Major 1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)

Major

2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)

Major

3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)

Minor

4. Use an understanding of cultural differences to constructively address issues that arise in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)

Minor

5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

To establish an intentional learning environment, Core Learning Outcomes (CLOs) require a clear definition of instructional strategies, evidence of recurrent instruction, and employment of several assessment modes.

Major Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed recurrently in the curriculum, regularly enough to establish a thorough understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a thorough understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Minor Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed adequately in the curriculum, establishing fundamental understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a fundamental understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

At the beginning of the course, the instructor will detail the methods used to evaluate student progress and the criteria for assigning a course grade. The methods include one or more of the following tools: on-line quizzes, in-class examinations, homework assignments, and laboratory assignments.

Course Activities and Design

The determination of teaching strategies used in the delivery of outcomes is generally left to the discretion of the instructor. Here are some strategies that you might consider when designing your course: lecture, small group/forum discussion, flipped classroom, dyads, oral presentation, role play, simulation scenarios, group projects, service learning projects, hands-on lab, peer review/workshops, cooperative learning (jigsaw, fishbowl), inquiry based instruction, differentiated instruction (learning centers), graphic organizers, etc.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  1. Describe astronomical distance and size scales.
  2. Describe the apparent motion of astronomical objects (planets, stars) caused by the rotation and revolution of the Earth.
  3. Describe the historical development of astronomy.
  4. Describe the properties of light.
  5. Describe the properties of the sun and other stars.
  6. Describe how stars evolve.
  7. Describe the properties of the Milky Way galaxy and other galaxies.
  8. Describe the global properties of various planets in the solar system, including the Earth and it’s moon.
  9. Describe the properties of meteorites, comets, and asteroids.

Department Notes

The text and materials have been chosen by the faculty and the emphasis of the course will be the viewpoint of the author(s). This includes relativity, the geologic time scale, and the evolution of the Earth, our solar system, our galaxy, and the universe at large.

Columbia Gorge Community College Science Department stands by the following statement about regarding science instruction:

Science is a fundamentally nondogmatic and self-correcting investigatory process. Theories (such as biological evolution and geologic time scale) are developed through scientific investigation are not decided in advance. As such, scientific theories can be and often are modified and revised through observation and experimentation. "Creation science", "Intelligent design" or similar beliefs are not considered legitimate science, but a form of religious advocacy. This position is established by legal precedence (Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F. 2d 1004).

The Science Department at Columbia Gorge Community College therefore stands with organizations such as the National Association of Biology Teachers in opposing the inclusion of pseudo-sciences in our science curricula except to reference and/or clarify its invalidity.

Students are expected to be able to read and comprehend college-level science texts and perform basic mathematical operations to successfully complete this course.