Astronomy (Year Long: Grades 10-12)

Astronomy (Year Long: Grades 10-12)

This course will provide the student with an introduction to the concepts of modern astronomy, the origin and history of the Universe, and the formation of the Earth and the solar system. Students will compare the Earth's properties with those of the other planets and explore how the heavens have influenced human thought and action. The course gives a description of astronomical phenomena using the laws of physics. The course treats many standard topics including planets, stars, the Milky Way and other galaxies, and black holes. Laboratory exercises include experiments in light properties, measurement of radiation from celestial sources, and observations at local observatories and/or planetariums. 

Platform: Google Classroom, Zoom

Length: Full Year Course (2 Semesters) 

Grade Level: High School

Prereq: Middle School Earth Science

Curriculum: All curriculum will be provided, so a textbook online chapter will be provided, when needed. This class will use a combination of Holt Astronomy, AP Astronomy Glencoe, Lumen Learning, Edgenuiety, Ga Virtual, and CK-12. 

Students will work in GC independently on weekly tasks, labs, activities, and create a science notebook. The notebook will contain notes, diagrams, constellations, Earth rotation patterns, Moon phases, and much more.. 

Units of Study:

Course Description

This course will introduce students to the study of astronomy, including its history and development, basic scientific laws of motion and gravity, the concepts of modern astronomy, and the methods used by astronomers to learn more about the universe. Additional topics include the origin of the universe, the Milky Way, and other galaxies and stars. 

Unit 1: Astronomy History/Career Exploration

Unit 2: The Earth, Moon, and Sun Systems

Lesson Summary-

Day turns into night, and Summer turns into Fall. Why do we experience these predictable changes on Earth? In this introductory unit of Astronomy I, we will explore the systems and interactions between the Sun, Earth, and Moon. You will learn how Earth’s motion in space causes us to experience days, nights, and seasons in a cyclic pattern. We will discuss the properties of gravity and how gravity affects the relationships between orbiting bodies in space. You will discover how solar and lunar eclipses occur and examine the characteristics, origin, and phases of the Moon.

Learning Objectives-

• Learn about the interactions between the Sun, Earth, and Moon

• Describe how the motion of Earth causes seasons and night-day cycles

• Identify the characteristics and phases of the moon

• Explore how the moon’s gravitational pull manipulates tides on Earth

• Distinguish between a lunar eclipse and a solar eclipse

Unit 3: The Universe

Lesson Summary-

In this unit we will take a journey through space and time from the beginning to the end of the universe. Can you think of anything larger or more expansive than the universe? How was the universe created? How is the universe changing? What exactly is our universe made from? These are all questions that scientists have been trying to answer since the idea of a universe was formed in the minds of our earliest cosmologists. Astronomers and other scientists have since accumulated a great deal of knowledge about what has happened—and what is currently happening—since the inception of the universe. Scientists study how the universe is dynamically evolving and its possible demise in the distant future. In this unit you will explore cosmology, the study of our infinitely expanding home, the universe. We will discuss what makes up the matter in our universe and the components and distribution of this matter. Finally, we will examine the possible fates, or even death, of our universe.

Learning Objectives-

• Describe the study of the cosmos

• Discuss the Earth components

• Examine the composition of matter and how it is distributed within the universe

• Describe the history of early astronomers

Unit 4: Stars

Lesson Summary-

What are stars? Where did they come from? Will stars evolve with time? In this unit you will discover the secrets behind the stars in our night sky. We will solve the mystery behind why and how stars shine. We will explore the characteristics and composition of stars. You will learn how astronomers classify types of stars using the H-R diagram and how stars are identified within the celestial sphere. Finally, we will examine the evolution, or life cycle, of a star from conception to death.

Learning Objectives-

• Describe the composition and characteristics of stars

• Learn how astronomers identify and describe constellations such as Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Orion, and Cassiopeia

• Analyze and characterize stars by their physical and chemical properties

• Explain the use of diagrams and models in obtaining physical data on stars

• Examine star creation/components

Unit 5: Galaxies

Lesson Summary-

Galaxies are beautiful, majestic, and mysterious places within our universe. Our home in the Milky Way galaxy is a galactic suburb, far from other galaxies. Our Sun is just one of approximately 500 billion stars in our galaxy, meaning that there could possibly be up to 500 billion solar systems, maybe like our own, in the universe. In addition, the Milky Way galaxy is only one of the 50 billion to one trillion galaxies that are thought to exist in our observable universe. Compared with the whole universe, our home, Earth, is like a speck of sand in the largest desert imaginable. In this unit, we will examine and describe organization, distribution, and differences among types of galaxies. You will be able to characterize the movement of galaxies within the universe and describe the properties of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Finally, we will discover the incredibly mysterious and dark forces that shift and shape galaxies.

Learning Objectives-

• Differentiate and describe the types of galaxies within the universe

• Characterize the Milky Way

• Identify how galaxies are organized and distributed within the universe

• Describe the components of galaxies

• Examine the forces that shape galaxies of stars

Unit 6: The Milky Way

Lesson Summary-

You have just traveled through the universe, exploring the different galaxies that make up outer space. Now, it’s time to return to our own galaxy: the Milky Way. The Milky Way galaxy is what houses the solar system within which our planet Earth resides. Just how old is the Milky Way? And what kind of tools do scientists use to understand our galaxy? It’s time to drive a little deeper into our home galaxy of the Milky Way.

Learning Objectives-

• Find ways to determine the age of the Milky Way

• Discover the oldest planet located in the Milky Way

• Decipher why there are more younger stars than older stars in the galaxy

• Understand Gaia Mapping and how it is used today

Unit 7:  Inner Planets

Lesson Summary-

The inner planets of our solar system are more closely related than the outer planets of the solar system. These planets are sometimes referred to as terrestrial planets and include Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. Although all of these planets are notably rocky and dense, each one is unique.In this unit, we will examine the formation of our solar system and describe the unique features of the four inner planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. We will compare and contrast the characteristics of the inner planets. Finally, you will discover the special attributes that make life on Earth possible.

Learning Objectives-

• Describe how planetary matter is distributed within the solar system.

• Explain the formation of the solar system.

• Differentiate and describe the inner planets within our solar system.

• Identify the shared characteristics among all inner planets in the solar system.

• Explain the features of Earth that are essential to the development of life.

Unit 8: Outer Planets

Lesson Summary-

In this unit, we will examine the outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. We’ll learn more about their structure, motion, atmosphere, and moons. We’ll examine what space expeditions, observations, and mathematical predictions are telling us about these distant planets and their roles in our Solar System. Finally, we will learn more about the dwarf planet Pluto and examine the controversy over Pluto’s reclassification as a dwarf planet from its former classification as our Solar System’s ninth planet.

Learning Objectives-

• Differentiate and describe the unique characteristics of the outer planets in the Solar System.

• Identify the shared features and characteristics among the outer planets in the Solar System.

• Describe the arrangement and distances between the outer planets.

• Explain why Pluto is no longer classified as a true planet of the Solar System.

• Compare and contrast the outer planets with Earth.

Unit 9:The Sun

Lesson Summary-

The Sun plays one of the most important roles in our Solar System and certainly life on Earth. In this unit, we will learn more about this closest star to Earth. We’ll discuss the structure and composition of the Sun, including the different layers of the Sun’s atmosphere. We’ll also learn how the Sun creates energy through nuclear fusion and the process by which this takes place. Finally, we’ll learn more about solar weather and the events that take place in and around the Sun, including sunspots, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections.

Learning Objectives-

• Identify the five regions of the Sun.

• Discuss the structure and composition of the Sun.

• Learn about nuclear fusion in the Sun, including the proton-proton chain reaction.

• Examine solar activity, such as sunspots and solar flares.

• Define and discusses solar eclipses.

Unit 10: Comets, Asteroids, and Meteors

Lesson Summary-

In this unit, we will examine comets, asteroids and meteors. Although smaller than the Sun, Moon, and planets, these celestial bodies are an important part of our Solar System. They can also produce dramatic visions in Earth’s skies and have the potential to collide with Earth. We’ll consider their composition, structure, and function in our Solar System.

Learning Objectives-

• Define comet, asteroid, meteoroid, meteor, and meteorite.

• Examine the origin of comets and how their tails form.

• Discuss the location of asteroids in the Solar System.

• Learn about the different types of meteorites.

• Investigate how comets, asteroids, and meteorites influence life on Earth

Tuition Information:

Self Paced $360 for 36 total weeks @ $10/week

Semester 1 $180 for 18 weeks (5 assignment tasks each week for a total of 90/semester)

Semester 2 $180 for 18 weeks (5 assignment tasks each week for a total of 90/semester)


Live 1:1 Option $900 for 36 weeks of curriculum and 36 Zoom lessons

$25/Zoom includes 36 Zooms over 36 total weeks

Payment plans available, by request.

*This class is also offered as a public group class, see the group/charter school class option tab.

reward points