Tuesdays 11:00 - 12:15,  Physics Room 204B

SUBJECT TO CHANGE latest version 9/16/18



NOTE: No class on Nov 27. This is the class AFTER thanksgiving break.


 You have a daily journal that is to be written at the end of class each day.


Return Introductory Questionnaire on time (1)




Graded on in-class (amount)

Graded on written (amount)

Aug 14

2 minute Talk (Personal)

Participation (2)



3 minute Talk (Astronomy)

Participation (2)

Topic Choice on time (.5) Picture on time (.5)

Aug 28

Pseudoscience discussion

Discussion (2)

Sept 4

Gravity, General Relativity, Black Holes

Discussion and Response (2)


Group presentations#1

Presentation (2)

Written Summary and comment (1)


Group presentations#2

Presentation (2)

Written Summary and comment (1)



Sept 28

[not a class day]

Rough draft individual topic by email


Submission on time (2), Rough draft written (2)

Oct 2

One Minute Talk &Critiques of individual topic [day #1]

Presentation (1)

Written critique (2)


Presentation of Individual topics A

[day #2]

Presentation (2)

Final draft (3) [from presenters]

Written Summary and comment (1) [from non-presenters]


Presentation of Individual topic B

[day #3]

Presentation (2)

As above


Presentation of Individual topic C

[day #4]

Presentation (2)

As above

Oct 30



Written Response (2)

Nov 6

Extraterrestrial Life

Written Response (2)



Participation (2)



Submit Semester Summary

Written summary (3)


As soon as I hear from y’all about your interests I will fill on more of the above


A quick summary of the above is that you will have at least 4 presentations and one six-page paper, plus two or three discussions for the term. The first two presentations are short (2-3 minutes) but the group presentation and the one associated with your paper are about 10-12 minutes. You also get to help your classmates by giving them your feedback on a regular basis.



My grading philosophy comes from my son who was, for many years, a restaurant manager.  He expected his workers to show up on time, work hard and get better as they learned their job. So you too will be expected to come to class well prepared and participate either as a presenter or a questioner.  If there is a written component, it needs to be accurate, well composed and turned in on time.  Each assignment will have a different format so you need to follow the instructions carefully.  You will be expected to do better as the semester progresses. In almost all cases students who have done poorly on an assignment (or for that matter in the entire course) have said that they put 10 minutes in when they should have put in an hour, so manage your time and come prepared.

If you have questions about what you are to do, ASK.



Points in parentheses listed above are for doing well. An outstanding job can get 1 or 2 extra points.  A marginal job gets half credit.

Absence or a poor job gets 0.  Any work handed in past the deadline is 1/2 off - this includes even simple things like turning in topic choices.


The journal is graded differently (See journal). Every submitted daily journal gets up to 0.2 points (for 14 classes that is a total of 2.8.  If you get all 14, I will round up to 3.0.)


To help you organize your studies and to help me organize the course you will be asked to submit 1) outlines of your upcoming presentations 2) responses to questions about your work.  If these are on time you will get 0.5 point.


To get an A you must consistently do well (90% of the total points available).  If you are absent from class on a regular basis or are not prepared for the assignments you need to consider withdrawing from the course and trying again later.



If you have a very good excuse for an absence such as a religious holiday for which you need to be absent, we will talk about how to make it up.