Abstract: With support from the National Science Foundation, our group is developing six chapter-length games to be used in traditional STEM courses for both majors and non-majors. During this workshop, participants will play “The Pluto Debate: The International Astronomical Union Defines a Planet.” At the beginning of the session, they will be assigned roles as real astronomers arguing over Pluto and the meaning of the word planet. Some play “plutophiles” that support Pluto’s status as a planet, some play “populists” arguing that Pluto is merely a member of a larger population, and some play “indeterminates” that are undecided as to how they will vote. After we briefly discuss the rules for Reacting to the Past games, players will have a few minutes to review selected chapters from Govert Shilling’s book, The Hunt for Planet X. Then the person playing the role of Neil deGrasse Tyson will commence the game, re-staging a 1999 panel debate over Pluto held at the American Museum of Natural History. Next, we will play the second phase of the game that recreates a debate at the 2006 meeting of the International Astronomical Union in Prague. Finally, we will review game materials for the multi-week Trial of Galileo game and discuss preliminary assessments of all of the games. Game materials for The Pluto Debate and the other STEM-focused Reacting to the Past games are available online.
Visit the web site for the 221st Meeting of the American Astronomical Association (AAS).