Out-of-Class Projects


You will be required to do five short out-of-class projects. Each assignment will be a two page, 12-pt font, double-spaced paper.  Purchase two folders in which to keep your projects.  Make sure your name is on each assignment and on your folders.

·         Two papers are due at the beginning of class on the day of the mid-term

·         The remaining three papers are due at the beginning of class on the day of the final exam.

You may collaborate with a partner or partners on these projects, but each student must turn in her or his own folder.

Note: you do NOT have to do one project from each category below; these are merely suggestions. As long as a total of FIVE astronomy-related projects are turned in at the end of the term, that is all that matters.

Examples: Museum Visit: Visit a science-related museum and write a 2-page-or-so review on the exhibits you saw. The National Air and Space Museum (http://www.nasm.si.edu/) is the best candidate for this; in addition to the main museum on the National Mall, you may also visit their Udvar-Hazy annex near Dulles Airport as a separate project. The Maryland Science Center in Baltimore (http://www.mdsci.org/), or the Natural History Museum downtown (http://www.mnh.si.edu/) , are other good possibilities.

Observatory or Planetarium Visit: Go see the show at a local observatory or planetarium. You must include proof that you did this (e.g. a ticket stub) in your projects folder. Write a short summary of the show. There are planetaria at the Air and Space Museum, the Owens Science Center in Greenbelt (http://www1.pgcps.org/howardbowens/), and at the Maryland Science Center. Local observatories which hold regular open houses for the public include the U.S. Naval Observatory (http://www.usno.navy.mil/USNO/tours-events/tour-information/tour-information-for-usno-washington-dc), and the UM Observatory (http://www.astro.umd.edu/openhouse/).

Magazine/Newspaper Article Analysis: Read, analyze, and summarize an article on astronomy from a newspaper or a magazine. While the first half of your submission may be a summary of the article, the last half must be your critical analysis. If you can, include the original article (which must be of some length—don’t do a two-page writeup of a one paragraph article) with your summary. Internet articles are OK if they are from a reputable source, such as http://www.space.com, http://www.nasa.gov, or Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Mini-Research Paper: Pick an astronomy topic that interests you and do a brief report on it, citing sources. (Do not merely recopy an encyclopedia article!)

Film/Video Review: Watch a film or video on astronomy (PBS, Discover Channel, etc.) and write a short summary and critical review.


More examples.  You are not limited to these suggestions.

University of Maryland Observatory Open House :  5th and 20th of every month, at 8pm (see the link at left for directions and parking)

Owens Science Center Planetarium Schedule : 2nd Friday of each month from September to May;  Doors open at 7:15pm, show begins at 7:30pm. Admission: $4 for adults, $2 for students and seniors, children 3 and under are free.

Magazine/Newspaper Article Analysis:  Check libraries (PGCC or PG county libraries) for these,
or find their web sites.  Some have full-articles on-line for free.

Film/Video Review:  Search library catalogs (PGCC or PG county libraries)  for subject: Astronomy