Seminars for Teachers, Spring 2010

The Solar System, the Earth,
and Our Future



Course Description

This is a one-day course broken up into a 3-hour morning session and a 2-hour afternoon session. The morning session will put the Earth in its place in space and time by summarizing the known extent of the Solar System and discussing its origin and ultimate fate. The afternoon session will focus on the atmospheres of the Earth-like planets, covering the runaway greenhouse effect on Venus and the slow but insidious loss of Mars' atmosphere to space. The course concludes with a discussion of the facts and fears behind global warming here on Earth. The course content will be woven around a set of interactive online tools that I have designed for teaching astronomy: The Astronomy Workshop. These tools are already available to the public, and one of my goals will be to familiarize teachers with these resources, giving them up-to-date knowledge for use in their own classroom demonstrations and/or assignments. Ideally, teachers will have access to internet-enabled machines during the sessions so that they can get immediate hands-on experience. Each of the five 1-hour modules will be informal enough to encourage questions at any time, with specific 10-minute segments allocated to questions, discussion, and/or hands-on experimentation.

Morning Topics:

Afternoon Topics: