Planets, Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe

Part 2: Learning Outcomes and a Detailed Project Description


Now that you have a topic, audience, and a project type chosen for your capstone project, you can refine your lesson by defining the specific learning outcomes that you want your audience to take away from your activity. Once you have your outcomes defined, the details of your project should be chosen so that audience members who perform the activity, do the lab, or use the learning object achieve those outcomes.

Defining learning outcomes

You have leeway within your chosen topic to define exactly what you want students to take away after completing the activity or lab or after using the learning object you are planning to describe. As you know from your education background, learning outcomes are statements that specify what learners will know or be able to do as a result of a learning activity. They are typically expressed as knowledge, skills, or attitudes.

In Part 1, I used a Kinesthetic Astronomy activity as an example. Let's also use it as an example for defining learning outcomes. If you download the lesson, a number of outcomes are stated, including:

  • Demonstrate why we see different constellations in the night sky at different times of the year.
  • Reason correctly in addressing the question of whether people in the US tonight will see the same stars that people in China saw last night (assuming everyone is observing from the same latitude).

Your learning outcomes should be stated as succinctly as the examples taken from that lesson. Furthermore, they should be measurable. A learning outcome that says, for example, that a student will "understand why we see different constellations in the night sky at different times of the year" doesn't indicate how one would know if that were achieved. It is too vague. The verb "demonstrate" does a better job of indicating how that outcome would be measured. (See more examples of action verbs for learning outcomes.)

Detailed project description

You should provide a project description that includes enough detail that someone else could replicate the activity, lab, or use of the learning object. Please use any template you are comfortable with or create your own document from scratch, but your description should include the following categories of information:

  1. A brief description of the background astronomy content that explains, in detail, what the students will actually do and how that addresses your science content area.
  2. A list of any materials they will need and instructions for using those materials to complete the activity, lab, or learning object.
  3. A description of what the students will deliver at the end of the activity, lab, or learning object (e.g., a lab report, a paper, etc.).
  4. A rubric that you will use to evaluate their work.

If you have chosen to create a learning object for your project, you should present a storyboard for that learning object to address #1 above. If you do not intend the students to directly interact with it (e.g., you will present it as an in-class demo), you should still describe what the students will do during the lesson that incorporates that learning object as an answer to #2 - 4 in the list above.



NOTE: You will be submitting your work as a single document that is in either Microsoft Word (.doc) or PDF (.pdf) format so I can open it. Try to keep your write-up for Part 2 to a reasonable length. I will not provide a strict page count, but think you should keep it succinct and only use the number of pages you find necessary to answer the questions above completely.

  1. Write several concise statements that summarize your learning outcomes.
  2. Write, using the template or format of your choosing, a detailed project description that addresses the four required parts listed above [description, materials & instructions, student deliverable(s), and your rubric].
  3. Save your work AS A SINGLE DOCUMENT in either a Microsoft Word or PDF file in the following format:

    CapstonePart2_AccessAccountID_LastName.doc (or .pdf).

    For example, student Elvis Aaron Presley's file would be named "CapstonePart2_eap1_presley.doc" - This naming convention is important, as it will help me make sure I match each submission with the right student!

Submit your work

Please submit your work to the Capstone Project - Part 2 dropbox in Canvas by the due date indicated on our course calendar.

Grading criteria

You will not receive a separate grade for Part 2, as you will receive one grade on the overall project. However, I will be providing feedback on Part 2, so you will simply receive a check that I received your Part 2 submission by the deadline, which is typically 3 weeks after Part 1 is due.