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Dr. Nilakshi Veerabathina

Lecturer
Dept. of Physics
College of Science

UT Arlington Faculty

Dr. Veerabathina received a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) (Previous Name: Uttar Pradesh State Observatory), Kumaun University, Naini Tal, India, and MS in Astronomy and Space Physics from Punjabi University, Patiala, India. Veerabathina began teaching at UT Arlington in the fall of 2005. Before that she taught for three years at Georgia State University, Atlanta.

Service Learning Class

SCIE 3304:  Astronomy (3 hours credit). This course is designed to meet the needs of students seeking to become elementary or middle school science teachers. Topics include the evolution of the universe, properties of light and the life cycle of stars, galaxies, and apparent motions and characteristics of the Solar System.

Academic Outcomes

  • In depth understanding of the methods that astronomers use to obtain information about celestial objects.
  • Identifying the nature of scientific research in the fields of Physics and Astronomy.
  • In depth understanding of basic concepts of Physics, such as gravity, nature of light, laws of thermal radiation etc.
  • Apply the basic principal of Physics to understand how our Universe operates starting from our own Solar System to large structures such as galaxies and galaxy clusters.

Service Learning Project

Title: Serve-Teach-Learn (STL)

Description: As a part of the STL project, the students teach Astronomy using the hands-on and interactive activities to the disadvantaged, low-income or the other needy children at the non-profit organizations that include organizations such as Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters, Women’s Center, Tarrant County Juvenile Services, Center for Creative Living, Salvation Army, Mission Arlington, YWCA Child Development Centre etc. Students select their own topic and venue of their choice from the list that is provided to them.

The project has three aspects/goals:

1) Serve: serving the community

2) Teach: teaching the content of astronomy using the students centered activities

3) Learn: learning astronomy through service

Students write reflections before and after they go to their chosen venue. Students also reflect upon their lesson plan before and after they prepare and present it to the kids. At the end of the semester students submit their detailed report and make the presentations in the classroom about their overall learning and experience. Students work is assessed on all the three above mentioned goals of the project.

Students in this course (SCIE3304) are education major. They are the future teachers. The STL project helps students to become aware of real needs of the society. Students learn about the different environment in which teaching can take place. The project also provides an opportunity to students to explore if they are really passionate or not about their chosen career path.

Results:

From Summer 2008 to Summer 2011, over 260 students of SCIE 3304 course served more than 2,000 kids at the non-profit organizations for about 550 hours.