Full-year course. This class is an introductory survey course of astronomy at the rhetoric-stage level. Students will learn about the cosmos, the celestial sphere, a historical perspective of astronomy, the nature of light and spectroscopy, telescopes, our solar system and planetary systems in general, stellar formation and development, the nature and development of the Milky Way galaxy and galaxies in general, non-planetary bodies, orbital mechanics, life on other worlds, and the space race.

Upon completion of this course, students will have engaged with the nature of the scientific method, and gained an introductory understanding of basic astronomical concepts and principles. Students will use basic algebra and geometry concepts to work through astronomy principles, such as the motions of bodies in space. Students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss the assigned reading and other activities. Because part of Astronomy is spectroscopy (anything from analyzing photos to doing statistical analysis of wavelengths), this course will make use of images and image-based software. Students will be expected to work with data in scientific investigations and discuss their understanding with others.

Prerequisites: Algebra I; Students should be enrolled in or have completed Geometry.

*Alternates with Anatomy & Physiology. Will not be offered during the 2024-2025 school year.

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Astronomy Information

  • Example Syllabus
  • Class meets twice per week for 50-55 minutes.
  • Class cap: 15 students.
  • Designed for grades 9-12.
  • High school students may be awarded 1 Non-Lab Science credit upon completion of this course. A student will earn a full laboratory science credit if taking a non-lab science and the corresponding lab together. 

Course Materials

  • Click here to purchase the course texts.
    • Foundations of Astronomy, 12th ed.
    • The Glass Universe, Dava Sobel
    • Black Hole Survival Guide, Janna Levin

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