Homeschooling: High School Astronomy

Thank you for visiting our astronomy curriculum page!  

PLEASE NOTE (3/2020): This resource is being updated: I'm checking links and adding any other material that is helpful. 
All links and subtitles in TEAL are those that have been updated thus far. 



If you don't want your student using just Wikipedia for their research than this curriculum is for you!

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 research online for things to help aid in his study. The result is this syllabus - and we didn't even really need the 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.

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.

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.

Astronomy Vocabulary worksheet

Optional Activities 

  1. Scroll down this page to find high school age activities. 
  2. Visit one of these websites for more information on a subject.
  3. Spend time each day trolling through these sites - there is a ton of fun information! 

    SYLLABUS

    History of Astronomy

    1.  Discover the use of astronomy in these ancient civilizations:

    1.      Egyptians
    2.      Mayans
    3.      Aztecs
    4.      Europeans
    5.      NativeAmericans

    2.  Learn about the contributions of these scientists to astronomy:

    1.      Thales - Page 1          Thales - Page 2
    2.      Aristotle
    3.      Eratosthenes
    4.      Ptolemy

    1.      Copernicus            (can also read here)
    2.      Tycho Brahe          (can also read here)
    3.      Kepler                    Bio from Institute for Creation Research
    4.      Galileo                   The Galileo Project
    5.      Newton                  Short Video

           20th Century Scientists: 
    1.      Einstein                 Short Video
    2.      Hubble                  NASAs Hubblesite
             
          Famous Astronomer Quiz (10 questions & answer key)

    3.  Historical origins of constellation patterns and their role in ancient and modern navigation.

                             More online:  StarTeach Astronomy
                                                     Astronomy on Encyclopedia.com

              

    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


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