How Big, How Bright, How Far? Teaching Astronomical Inquiry at PASEA and UBC
15:45 - 16:00
Astronomy evokes deep curiosity for many people, making it a beautiful topic for supporting students to learn scientific practices and develop as scientists. Inquiry is a powerful approach for teaching astronomical content and practices together: students ask their own questions about a phenomenon, investigate their question in a small group, and then synthesize and share their results. My colleagues and I have designed and taught an inquiry-based lab sequence about distances in the Universe for two venues: the Pan-African School for Emerging Astronomers (PASEA), and a first-year astronomy course at the University of British Columbia (UBC). PASEA is a short course in astronomy for university students and teachers from across Africa, designed and taught by a collaboration of astronomers from Africa, North America and Australia. I’ll share our inquiry curriculum in both places, how we teach new instructors to facilitate inquiry, and evidence that students learn astronomical concepts and build their self-efficacy. (This work was recently published in the journal CourseSource.) We encourage other astronomy instructors to try an inquiry approach to help students develop as scientists while exploring topics they are curious about.
Main Hall - Health Sciences 610
Main Hall - Health Sciences 610
Day 2 - Thu 11th May
[Workshop] - Equity and inclusion in astronomy education: Developing our multicultural perspectives together
10:30 - 12:00
Aimed at in-person participants
Justice, Equity, Decolonization, and Inclusion (JEDI) is a beautiful and important goal in astronomy education. Broadly speaking, JEDI in astronomy is about creating welcoming environments that support students and teachers of all identities, acknowledging and working to mitigate structural barriers to participation. But what JEDI looks like in detail can vary greatly across communities and different areas of the world -- connected to culture, history (e.g., colonization and migration), etc. For example, which identities are minoritized or disadvantaged, what are the experiences of people who hold those identities, and what kinds of structural barriers and supports to participation exist? Minoritized identities may include different racial / ethnic groups, LGBTQIA2S+ people, women, people of different religious beliefs, people who are abled differently, and others. Even which words are considered appropriate for describing JEDI and minoritized groups varies by culture and place.
Through my JEDI work and collaborations across five continents, I have seen directly a beautiful diversity of interpretations and embodiments of JEDI in astronomy and physics. The goals of this workshop are to help participants deepen and broaden each of our personal understandings of what JEDI can mean, and take steps to support each other in our unique JEDI efforts. In this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to collaboratively: (1) reflect on what JEDI means in each of our particular contexts, and why; (2) share our JEDI goals, efforts, strengths and barriers; and (3) offer mutual support to others in our astronomy JEDI work.