“New online, accessible and active learning activities for improving introductory astronomy students’ data-literacy and self-efficacy”
There is a critical need for research-based active learning instructional materials for the teaching and learning of Astronomy that can be delivered online. We will discuss two new types of instructional materials (from Vera C. Rubin Observatory and Zooniverse Citizen Science) designed for use with high school and college students, with a central focus on helping learners engage with contemporary astronomy topics and become more scientifically and data literate. These guided inquiry investigations employ unique pedagogical discipline representations and interactive data tools that empower students to unpack and discern critical discipline information and relationships when analyzing data. Carefully sequenced tasks guide students’ engagement address common conceptual and reasoning difficulties, and help them build explanatory models they can use to explain, evaluate and make predictions about modern astronomical topics. Opportunities are provided for students to draw connections to their personal interests, and identities, as well as develop their agency and increase their self-efficacy with respect to engaging meaningfully in science. These instructional materials have been tested with thousands of students and studied to discern whether faculty are able to easily incorporate these investigations into their existing astronomy courses. We will unpack the different educational design principles, particulars of the science and data investigations and results from classroom testing.