Exoplanet Science in the Classroom: Learning Activities for an Introductory Physics Course

Exoplanet Science in the Classroom: Learning Activities for an Introductory Physics Course Discovery of planets outside our solar system, known as extra-solar planets or exoplanets for short, has been at the forefront of astronomical research for over 25 years. Reports of new discoveries have almost become routine; however, the excitement surrounding them has not. Amazingly, as groundbreaking as exoplanet science is, the basic physics is quite accessible to first-year physics students, as discussed in previous TPT articles. To further illustrate this point, we developed an iOS application that generates synthetic exoplanet data to provide students and teachers with interactive learning activities. Using introductory physics concepts, we demonstrate how to estimate exoplanet mass, radius, and density from the app output. These calculations form the basis for a diverse range of classroom activities. We conclude with a summary of exoplanet science resources for teachers. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Physics Teacher American Association of Physics Teachers

Exoplanet Science in the Classroom: Learning Activities for an Introductory Physics Course

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Publisher
American Association of Physics Teachers
Copyright
© American Association of Physicists in Medicine.
ISSN
0031-921X
D.O.I.
10.1119/1.5025299
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Discovery of planets outside our solar system, known as extra-solar planets or exoplanets for short, has been at the forefront of astronomical research for over 25 years. Reports of new discoveries have almost become routine; however, the excitement surrounding them has not. Amazingly, as groundbreaking as exoplanet science is, the basic physics is quite accessible to first-year physics students, as discussed in previous TPT articles. To further illustrate this point, we developed an iOS application that generates synthetic exoplanet data to provide students and teachers with interactive learning activities. Using introductory physics concepts, we demonstrate how to estimate exoplanet mass, radius, and density from the app output. These calculations form the basis for a diverse range of classroom activities. We conclude with a summary of exoplanet science resources for teachers.

Journal

The Physics TeacherAmerican Association of Physics Teachers

Published: Mar 1, 2018

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