Dage, Kristen

Kristen Dage will receive her PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from MSU in 2020, studying the multiwavelength behavior of ultraluminous X-ray sources in extragalactic globular clusters.  

She values her knowledge of equitable & inclusive practices from the PDP because it has made her a better research mentor to students, and she plans to incorporate these practices for future teaching and mentoring. 



Teaching Activity Summary

Name of Teaching Activity:  Discovering Exoplanets through photo metry

Teaching Venue & Date: ASTR101 - Astronomy Lab for non-Astro Majors, University of South Carolina. October 1-2, 2018

Learners: 14 undergraduate students.

Reflection on teaching and assessing the practices of science or engineering:

One of the STEM practices we focused on was model building. Our rubric included three dimensions:

1) identifying the relevant variables to include in the model,

2) making assumptions and understanding the limitations of those assumptions,

3) and using the model to infer properties.

This STEM practice is important because building a simple model and eventually moving to a more complex model as your understanding evolves is crucial to interpreting data.

Due to the nature of the data, identifying the relevant variables was straightforward. We gave them a simpler data set to model first, and when that was complete they were given a more complex system to model. The groups I facilitated were quick to pick up on what was causing the complexities in the data, in part because they used their simpler models to infer properties of the new system. However, our learners struggled a lot with identifying and understanding the limitations of assumptions for the model. For example of learner proficiency, they derived an equation to find the size of the planet by modeling it as a perfect circle, pi r^2, but the planet is unlikely to be a perfect circle.