Saturday, September 06, 2014

Homeschooling: High School Astronomy

Thank you for visiting our astronomy curriculum page!  

When the Oldest was a senior in high school, he chose to complete Astronomy for his last science class. We found a University of Texas Astronomy book quite inexpensively, and I did some of my own searching online for things to help aid in his study. The result is this syllabus - and we didn't even really need a textbook! I felt it was important to share it with others who also appreciate saving money in their homeschool budget.  
To get a feel for what a usual high school astronomy class covered, I put together a topical outline that I adapted and revised from Texas Education requirements. As my son completed the course, he marked off the topics on the outline that he has read about, researched and studied.  

The course outline posted below can be followed to do searches for online reading and study along with the links provided. In the near future, I hope to post a PDF of the entire syllabus and outline and include additional resources for parents and younger students.  

Whenever I give a link to a worksheet or quiz, that resource is always free, although you may need to sign up for a free account to access it.  (New additions as of 9/15/2016: worksheet/quizzes added from HelpTeaching.com under various topics.)

While there are videos sprinkled throughout the outline, it is easy to supplement any subject with a video from YouTube.  You can also visit my Muses of a Mom YouTube channel to see playlists for Astronomy. If you find an incredible video, please let me know and I'll add it to one of the Astronomy playlists for everyone else to find!

It appears that using Google Chrome as your browser offers the most success when connecting to website links. Internet Explorer doesn't always go to the exact page link.

There are biblical and secular resources in this outline, so I would recommend that you review material before use.  Please message me if there are any links that are not working.


If you have found this page helpful, please bookmark, subscribe to this blog for updates and pin the graphic above on Pinterest to share with other homeschool parents. However, please have any links refer back to this original post. 


There are a couple affiliate links, and if you decide to purchase something in that way, Thank You!


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Astronomy and the Bible

One resource I highly recommend is the monthly magazine, "Acts and Facts" from the Institute of Creation Research.  Subscriptions are free and you can sign up on their subscription page.  

Optional Astronomy Vocabulary worksheet

Optional Activities 

SYLLABUS:

History of Astronomy

  1. Discover the use of astronomy in these ancient civilizations:
  1. Learn about the contributions of these scientists to astronomy:
Read here about more Ancient Greeks who contributed to Astronomy
20th Century Scientists: 
     Famous Astronomer Quiz (10 questions & answer key)

  1. Historical origins of constellation patterns and their role in ancient and modern navigation.
          More online:  http://starteachastronomy.com/astronomers.html

Familiarity with the Sky

  1. Movement of Sun and Moon during the day;
  2. Movement of the Moon, planets and stars in the nighttime sky
                  Phases of the Moon defined - worksheet
  1. Recognize and identify constellations and their location such as Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Orion, Cassiopeia, and constellations of the zodiac. 
              
    More Online:   This Week’s Stargazing Tips
                              Astronomical Almanac and sky calendars
                             
 Scale, Size and Distances in the Solar System

  1. The Sun, Earth, and Moon system
  2. Objects  in the Solar System such as the Sun and planets
  3. Stars, Milky Way, and other galaxies
    Scale of the earth, sun, galaxy and universe – Khan Academy (video series)
    Scale of the large and small – Khan Academy (video series)
    Wonders of Creation, The Solar System – Answers in Genesis
 The Role of the Moon

  1. Lunar phases and position of Moon relative to Earth and Sun
  2. Cause of lunar phases relative to Earth and the Sun for each phase,
  3. Causes of lunar and solar eclipses
  4. Effect of the Moon on tides.
    Earth’s Moon Overview - NASA
    The Moon – Answers in Genesis
The Reasons for the Seasons

1.     Tilt of the Earth’s axis    How the Earth Moves video
            Motion and height of the sun during the seasons and a worksheet.   
2.      Latitudinal position affects the length of day and night throughout the year; 
3.      Relationship of the seasons to equinoxes, solstices, the tropics, and the equator.

The Planets

1.  The Inner Planets (Terran) 
Terrestrial Planets Worksheet (or Quiz) - 12 questions; answers provided         
2.    The Outer Planets (Jovian)
      Jovian Planets Worksheet (or Quiz) - 10 questions; answers provided

More Online:
                         
More info on each planet by Institute of Creation Research
                         Mars – Answers in Genesis
                                     Extrasolar planets – Answers in Genesis
                                     Views of the Solar System
                                     A Traveler’s Guide to The Planets – National Geographic Video

The Role of the Sun in the Solar System

  1. Approximate mass, size, motion, temperature, structure, and composition of the Sun;
  2. Describe the eleven-year solar cycle and the significance of sunspots;
  3. Analyze solar magnetic storm activity, including coronal mass ejections, prominences, flares, and sunspots.
The Sun overview - NASA
Wonders of Creation, the Sun – video at Answers in Genesis

      Sun Structure and Activity worksheet (or Quiz) - 15 questions; answers provided

The Characteristics and Life Cycle of Stars
                             
  1. Formation and normal life of a star
    • Characteristics of stars
    • Star formation
      • Stars: Temperature and Brightness     worksheet
      • Stellar Parallax                                    worksheet
      • Life Cycles of Stars                             worksheet
  2. Death of stars and end product
    • White dwarfs
    • Neutron Stars
    • Black Holes

  3. Hertzsprung-Russell diagram
Wonders of Creation, Stars – video at Answers in Genesis
Life and Death of Stars – Khan Academy

      Star Worksheet (or Quiz) - 15 questions; answer key provided. 

Variety and properties of galaxies

  1. Characters of galaxies
  2. Milky Way galaxy and our solar system
  3. Types of galaxies
    • Spiral
    • Elliptical
    • Irregular
    • Quasars
       Galaxies Worksheet (or Quiz) - 10 questions; answer key provided

Theories of Cosmology: A secular and Christian view
1.   Big Bang Theory, including red shift, cosmic microwave background radiation, and other supporting evidence
The Big Bang Theory  - Khan Academy
2.   Current theories of the evolution of the universe, including estimates for the age of the universe;
Earth’s Formation – Khan Academy
Answers to the age of the universe – Dr. Jason Lisle

3.   Scientific hypotheses of the fate of the universe, including open and closed universes and the role of dark matter and dark energy.
                                    Institute for Creation Research
                                    Answers in Genesis

Benefits and Challenges of Space Exploration

  1. Contributions of human space flight       Consider a trip to the Houston Space Center 
  2. Possible future missions
  3. New developments and discoveries in astronomy      Latest Astronomy News
  4. Online search: "The Right Stuff.  Find answers for this worksheet
More Online:  Live NASA TV

Additional resources online

                        Space.com - skywatching information, photos, videos
Astronomy.org – Moravian College
Geology.com - Astronomy Articles, Images, Information and Research
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