Astronomy Question

In this assignment, you will write an 800 – 1000 word essay on one of the following movies: Interstellar, Arrival, or Contact. Access to the movies is described in Weekly Agenda 18 – 22.

The goal of this assignment is to use the thought-provoking events of the film to push and expand your own thinking about the nature of life and the possibilities of extra-terrestrial life. If you have seen one of the films numerous times, and feel this assignment will not afford you this educational experience, please choose another film for this assignment. You will not earn full-points on this assignment if you respond to the questions below “I have seen this film numerous times so I did not experiencing anything new,” or “Nothing surprised me,” etc.

Use the prompts below to guide your essay formation. Do not simply write the questions and respond to them one-by-one in paragraph form. Please use the essay rubric as a guide to your creation.

Guiding questions for all three movies:

  • One role of art is to spark thoughts and feelings outside of one’s typical or daily purview. What questions/concerns/conundrums do you think the film writers wanted the audience to grapple with?
  • Tell me about a scene that surprised you. What happened?
  • Which character did you find yourself resonating with most? Why?
  • Which character did you find yourself disagreeing with or irritated by the most? What did they do or think that made you feel this way?

Additional guiding questions for Arrival or Contact:

  • How did extraterrestrial life interact with humans? To what extent did this encounter expand or enhance the experience of human life? Does this match your expectation for human’s first contact with extraterrestrial life? Why or why not?

Additional guiding questions for Interstellar:

  • In what ways does the film de-center our geo-centric vantage point? (there are multiple answers and please feel free to pick more than one to discuss)
  • To what extent do agree or disagree with the statement, “We must reach far beyond our lifespans.” To what extent do you think the film writers have a position on this statement? Cite evidence from the film in your response.

You do not need to respond to all of the questions in your essay. You may find that answering one of the guiding questions provides enough grounds to support your writing of the entire essay. As long as you provide a rich discussion in response, you may earn full points according to the rubric.

Meets or exceeds required word count.


Well formed paragraphs: strong topic sentences followed by supporting sentences. Use of complete sentences. No grammar errors.


Coherent presentation (sentences are presented in an order that sequences thought in a useful order to the reader); Appropriate voice and tone; Understands assignment.

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Astronomy Question

Primate Project Part 1: Primate Profile

This project pulls together what you have learned about taxonomy, biodiversity, and primate behavioral ecology. As you know, nonhuman primates are wide ranging and fill a multitude of niches, or specialized habitats. Primates also share both morphological and behavioral similarities with humans, allowing us to better understand our own evolution and attributes as primates.

Fuentes ended chapter 5 by discussing the current situation faced by primates around the globe. At present, 60% of all nonhuman primate species are endangered and 75% are in decline. Fuentes cites Download this article by Estrada et al.that I would like for you to read. One of the take away points is that primates are important to humans culturally, scientifically, and ecologically. (Read this article for overall content and background for your project. In other words, know the main points, but don’t get bogged down in the technical details.)

INSTRUCTIONS: (Please submit assignment as a Word document, PDF, or text box entry.)

1) Pick a Species:

After reading the Estrada article, I would like for you to search for a specific primate species (not an entire family) you would like to learn more about.

You can find information on various species your text, in Estrada et al., or the other optional readings. Wikipedia is also a great place to look up primate families you might be interested in. There, you can usually find the full list of species for a primate family as well as a species’ IUCN conservation status (Links to an external site.). You can also look at the IUCN website specifically for primates that are on the Red List of Endangered Species. (Links to an external site.)

2) Taxonomy:

Provide the taxonomic classification for your selected species. (From Order Primates down to species level).

3) Behavioral Ecology:

Describe in a minimum of two paragraphs: the geographic range, habitat, type of locomotion of your species, foraging behavior, group behavior and/or reproductive behavior of your species, and anything else you find interesting. (Cite you sources and do not cut and paste from websites!)

4) Conservation (IUCN) Status:

Finally, in another paragraph, describe the conservation status of your species, it is threatened, endangered, of least concern, etc. Also explain why this species’ population is either stable or in decline. What are the threats? Are there any proposed solutions?

Primate Project Part 2: Why Do Primates Matter?

This part of the project is about communicating what you have learned about your selected species. Include brief amounts of information about your species but focus on why your species is in need of conservation intervention or is a unique species people should know more about.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1) Create a Message:

Your job here is to create flyer/ad/public statement about your species that explains why this species is important, even if it isn’t endangered. (This is where the Estrada article is important since it explains many of the threats but also why we should be concerned about primates in general.)

I definitely encourage the use of graphics. Get as creative as you would like! Examples of this type ad or flyer might be those used by zoos with conservation programs or nonprofits supporting primate conservation.

2) Post Your Message:

Then, post your flyer/ad/public statement to the discussion board as a document, image, or PDF.

3) Respond to Two Other Posts:

After submitting you initial post, respond to two other posts.Some things to think about:

  • Do they make a convincing argument?
  • What are your thoughts about this species in general?
  • Do you have additional thoughts on the conservation of this species?

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