The Moon from Many Sides

The Moon is a fascinating planetary body that be considered from a number of traditionally distinct academic disciplines. When I first encountered the Moon as a child, it was solely a place to be visited because I was introduced to it by stories of the Apollo program. Thus, for me the Moon fit into engineering, which is the reason why I studied aerospace engineering as an undergraduate student :) Over the years I have come to appreciate that the Moon has much more to offer us. For instance, it is amazing that most human beings who have ever lived would have seen the very object in the night sky over approximately 300,000 years of homo sapiens (Schlebusch et al., 2017). It would have meant something different for each of them and in this course I want explore the Moon in several avenues. In addition to giving the Moon its proper place in the global human experience, I hope that you will find at least one aspect interesting to you.


The importance of using evidence-based teaching strategies to help students learn.

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An aspect of learning is changing how we think and behave in response to new information. Our brain does not just accept information like a computer. Instead, our brain processes new information in relation to what it already knows and tries to fit new information to old information. Think about how difficult it is to try to convince someone who believes in a conspiracy theory…there is a reason for that. Of course this varies from person to person but our brains nevertheless are all pretty stubborn. It is important to recognize this since we come to the classroom with our own prior experiences and knowledge. Some of them will help us with our learning, while others will not. Please watch the 20-minute video called A Private Universe (link), which nicely demonstrates how difficult it is to change misconceptions. But we must try! Our goal is to improve our understanding of ourselves and the world.

It is ok if we do not know something and if we make mistakes while learning. It is part of the process of learning. However, it is difficult to admit when we do not know and when we make mistakes. It is my responsibility as the instructor to create a classroom environment where everyone feels comfortable enough to treat learning as a process.

The Moon as a Place: Using Place-Based Education


Interest-Driven Learning


Active Learning


Learning in the Internet Age

Crovitz, D., & Smoot, W. (2009). Wikipedia: Friend, Not Foe. The English Journal, 98(3), 91-97.



*Thank you to Steven Semken for suggesting using place-based teaching techniques in this course


  • Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. John Wiley & Sons. (Amazon)

  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts, and Cultures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

  • National Research Council. 2000. How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.