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Understanding Our Universe through Astronomy

Teen Focus 12+

Understanding Our Universe is a high school level astronomy course adapted from college-level materials with a focus on interactive technology and project-based learning.Students who take this class will come away with a deep real-world understanding of the structure of the universe, the science of astronomy, and how to make decisions about science and technology in the 21st century, using, for example, the scientific method.

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Understanding Our Universe is a high school level astronomy course adapted from college-level materials with a focus on interactive technology, science process and the scientific method, and project-based learning.

Students who take this class will come away with a deep real-world understanding of the structure of the universe, the science of astronomy, and how to make decisions about science and technology in the 21st century. Wherever possible, students will be provided opportunities, both in the real world and using interactive tools, to learn by doing as astronomers really do. Additionally, students will be encouraged, but not required, to make use of At Play in the Cosmos, available directly from Norton, a companion video game designed to accompany this course as a whole, and which allows students to take on missions and earn achievements while making use of the knowledge they’ll gain.

Students will learn about:

  • The foundations of astronomy as a discipline
  • Our solar system in depth
  • Stars
  • The evolution of stars
  • Galaxies
  • Our universe
  • Cosmology

This is a 16-week class for teens working at an advanced high school level. Weekly webinars are 50 minutes long. Recordings are available for students who must miss a session. This class will make a good extension for students who became interested in astronomy (and the science thereof) through Big History or Physics Literacy.

Links to required books and optional apps:

  • Required text: Understanding Our Universe, 3rd Edition
  • Optional app: At Play in the Cosmos: The Videogame. Go to this page and click Purchase Options in the top right, then select the option that best fits your need (see image below).
    • For example, if you prefer the e-book over a physical textbook, you could get a bundle here. If you already have purchased the text book, just choose the video game option. The app will be downloaded separately and is available for Mac, Windows and Apple and Android tablets.

This textbook is the latest revision of a text currently in use at respected universities across America. We have selected this particular edition for its inclusion of the various interactive study technologies, like At Play in the Cosmos: the Videogame.

Topics Covered

Motions of the Earth and Moon and the Laws of Motion
Light and Telescopes
The Formation of Stars and Planets
The Planets and other Bodies in the Solar System
The Stars and Their Evolutions (Low Mass and High Mass)
Galaxies and the Milky Way
The Evolution of the Universe
Formation and Structure of the Universe
Life in the Universe

Challenge Level

Aimed at students ready for work appropriate to grades 10 through 12. This is a high school science course open to students ages 12 and up who are prepared to consider and discuss challenging science concepts at a high school level.

Time Commitment

TBD, but best guess would be between 2-4 hours a week outside of webinar time

Instructor

Headmaster Galahad

Reading List

Understanding Our Universe, 3rd Edition

Usually Offered

Fall Semester

Prerequisites

No previous science experience is required, though prior high-school science and/or math classes are recommended. This class would be a good follow-up for students who have taken Big History and are looking to build on what they learned there about astronomy and astrophysics. Students must be prepared to read, view, and analyze challenging material at a high school level. Students must also be able to write multi-paragraph texts independently and participate actively in written discussion forums and in the live webinar.