Michael Nicolella Capstone


For my capstone, I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone, so I thought that it would be a good idea to teach the freshman of SLA about stars and how everything came to be in the universe. I worked alongside Alex Held, Richard Yoeun, and Brycen Itzko and together we taught the broad topic of astronomy over a four week period to the freshman. 

Much of this capstone consisted of planning out the hour and a half long lesson and making sure that the point got across through various activities and power point slides. I'd say that the most important thing that I have learned from this capstone was how to lead effectively, because when you are the teacher, you are the leader. You must guide the students in the direction that you want to teach them.

Presentation: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/45339378/Capstone%20Presentation%20Michael%20Nicolella.pdf

Pictures: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/45339378/Pictures%20of%20Capstone.pdf


1) "Stars - NASA Science." Stars - NASA Science. NASA, n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2015. <http://science.nasa.gov/astrophysics/focus-areas/how-do-stars-form-and-evolve/>.

This source is about the formation and destruction of stars. It basically talks about how stars are formed or born and how they get destroyed or die. It also goes into the many different ways stars end, like for example they make black holes or make a supernova and explode. I would consider this source very reliable, because it is from NASA. This source will mainly be used to inform me so that I actually know what I am talking about when I present It also is useful because at the bottom, it gives me links to pictures of all types of stars and things relating to this topic.

2) Greicius, Tony, and Brian Dunbar. The Dark Heart of the King. Digital image.NASA.gov. NASA, 29 Sept. 2010. Web. 28 Jan. 2015. <http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/WISE/multimedia/gallery/pia13129.html>.

This source is a picture of a cloud of dust and gas that is located in the constellation of Cepheus. The significance of this picture is that this is the stuff that stars are formed from. This would be a good example to show to the class because I want to have something visual in my presentation that will gain the interest of the students. This source would be considered very reliable because it was taken from one of NASA’s own telescopes and it is from their website. Although this source does not provide any knowledge to me, it is important to have pictures relating to the topic, especially since it is a presentation.

3) Pitts, Derrick, Sc.D. "Talking about Presentation." Personal interview. 28 Jan. 2015.

This was a conversation that me and Derrick Pitts had about presenting to a class. The main idea that I have gotten from talking to derrick is that I can't just talk to them and tell them what they should know, I need to let them find out themselves by asking questions to the class. One thing I thought stood out was when he said something like “You are not the teacher, you are the guide” I thought that piece of advice was something that I will benefit greatly from when I teach a class. It will make everyone more interested. I think that this source is very reliable because Derrick has been teaching kids at the Franklin for a long time and he has the experience.

4) "Chandra :: Multimedia :: Stellar Evolution Activity." Chandra :: Multimedia :: Stellar Evolution Activity. NASA, Harvard University, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2015. <http://chandra.harvard.edu/resources/flash/stellar_evolution.html>.

This source is a good visual representation of the many cycles and forms of stars. They show stars from brown dwarfs to blue supergiants. It is a great source to show to people because it puts in perspective the size of these stars. Also there is sort of an interactive element to this source that lets you click on the different types of stars which gives you some information on it. The reliability of this source is solid because is is on a .edu website and it was done in partnership with Harvard University and NASA.

5) "Stellar Spectral Types." Http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/. Hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2015. <http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/starlog/staspe.html>.

This source talks about the ways that we classify stars that we observe. Usually, we classify them by color and temperature. This system is important because it is how we organize all of these stars that we find when we look through our telescopes and even our own naked eye. I would trust this source because it is a .edu source and they are almost always trustworthy. This source will mainly be used to further my knowledge of how stars are classified so that I know what I am presenting about.

6) Protostar. Digital image. Http://9-6sciencegroup4.wikispaces.com/. Wikispaces, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2015. <http://9-6sciencegroup4.wikispaces.com/Protostar>.

This picture is mostly just for the presentation. It is a picture of a protostar which is an early version of a star. Protostars are important because they are a good glimpse of how all stars once looked, including our sun. While I would not trust the information located in this source, I know that this picture is a good representation of what we know a protostar looks like.

7) Blue Supergiant. Digital image. NASA.gov. NASA, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2015. <http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/images/741844main_BSG.jpg>.

This picture is for the presentation that I will be using to teach the class. It is a picture of one of the biggest stars in the galaxy called a Blue Supergiant. This picture is a good way to show how big stars can be and just to show the massive scale of things in our universe. I think that this source is reliable because it is from NASA.gov which is a very reliable source when it comes to space and things involving that topic.

8) Fuchs, Miriam. "Teaching Astronomy." Personal interview. 23 Jan. 2015.

In this interview Miriam was giving useful information on my presentation and telling us how we can incorporate the facts and things like that in our presentations. This is helpful because she graduated college with an astronomy degree, which means she is trusted as a source to tell us these facts. Also one thing that was helpful was that she told us about some activities we can add to the class like making a star and then classifying it.

9) Stovall, Idriss, Ph.D. "Teaching Astronomy." Personal interview. 23 Jan. 2015.

Idriss talked about many useful teaching tips that we can use to engage the audience that we are teaching. For example he talked about the comparison of college students and high school students and how differently you have to teach to engage them. He explained that college students are more self directed, while high school students need to be a little more guided because they might not be as interested as a college student.

10) "Spectral Classification of Stars." Spectral Classification. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2015. <http://astro.unl.edu/naap/hr/hr_background1.html>.

This source is more about how we classify stars and where we came up with this system called spectral classification. Using things like finding the color and amount of light emitted from stars is very important when it comes to classifying stars.  I think that this will be a useful to expand upon my knowledge of how we classify stars. I know that this source is trustable because it is a .edu website. Also, this source is from a university, which means that the information on this website is reliable.