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Astronomy Syllabus
Lab Fees: $6.00
Co-requisites: Algebra II or Higher
Instructor: Mr. Gary Coffman
Course Description: This class is a one-semester honors course intended to enrich the
knowledge students have dealing with the framework of the modern universe as well as to
acquaint students with the skills and tools utilized by the modern professional astronomer in
probing the mysteries of the universe. This class will count as a one-credit earth/space science
Specifically, Astronomy is the study of the theories of the origin of the universe, stars,
constellations, galaxies, planetary systems, phenomena such as black holes and wormholes,
spacecraft, telescopes, lasers, and computer driven technology as it applies to astronomical
Course work may include internet research, reading, lab activities (both day and night lab
meetings for stellar observations), tests, quizzes, homework assignments, and topic reports. Class
participation is an important component of this class.
This Astronomy course is designed for the advanced science and mathematics student who
desires a more intensive study of the curriculum. Astronomy is a weighted course.
Course Objectives
1. Describe the similarities and differences between classical and modern astronomy.
2. Discuss the theories associated with the origin, evolution, and motion of the universe.
3. Explain the physical characteristics of the universe according to Newton, Einstein, Hubble,
and other scientists based on historical and scientific perspectives.
4. Explain gravity and its effects on galaxies, constellations, and planets within the universe.
5. Describe the origin, evolution, and basic structure of a galaxy.
6. Compare the three types of galaxies: elliptical, spiral, and irregular.
7. Explain how stars are formed and relate this phenomenon to the life and death of stars.
8. Describe the three stellar groupings: doubles, multiples, and clusters.
9. Describe the Milky Way Galaxy and locate our solar system within it.
10. Describe the properties and characteristics of the Sun and its effects on the planetary system.
11. Explain the relationship of planets within a solar system.
12. Compare and contrast the inner from the outer planets within our solar system.
13. Describe the properties and characteristics of each of the planets within our solar system.
14. Differentiate between asteroids, meteorites, and meteors.
15. Discuss the various explorations into and beyond our solar system.
16. Characterize the purpose of and be able to use a refracting and a reflecting telescope.
17. Discuss how increased technology has improved and/or enhanced our ability to locate, collect
data, analyze, and describe planets, galaxies, and other astronomical phenomenon.
Class Supplies:
 Students are required to keep a three ring binder containing everything related to
this class.
 Notebooks should be in chronological order with “dividers” between each section.
 Students must have notebook paper, pencils/pens, and erasers.
 Students must have a small pack of colored pencils and a ruler.
 Students must have a scientific calculator.
You are required to buy a Star Wheel.
I also require that each student bring (within the first week of class) either Expo Dry
Erase Markers, Tissues, Hand Soap or some other useful classroom supply to contribute
to a clean and comfortable class.
Standing Assignments/Required Readings: Read chapters from the science book in
advance of the next class and be prepared to discuss topics during class! This class is
primarily discussion centered and you are required to provide intelligent input into the
You are also required to read science related material outside of your regular textbook.
These assigned readings and assessments will be discussed at an appropriate time.
*** Observe the motion of the sun, the moon, and the stars and all other aspects of
nature as often as possible. The universe is full of science you can learn by just
watching! ***
Tips for Success
 Keep up and do all the work. It is crucial that you keep up and don't miss class.
Do all assignments that are given.
 Read the text or required materials slowly and re-read. Reading science
materials is not like reading most other books. Don't just read, but study the text.
 Study the diagrams. The science resources contain many diagrams, animations,
videos and illustrations. Study them carefully until you understand their purpose.
 Be an active participant in your education. Ask questions when the subject is not
clear. Write questions in your notebook so you are ready to ask what you need to
know. There is no such thing as a "dumb question," unless it goes unasked!
 Do not cram before exams. Study regularly.
 Maintain a positive attitude throughout your studies.
Absence Policy
 Absent students are required to complete missed assignments, quizzes, and exams
in a timely fashion.
 It is the student’s responsibility to ask the teacher and/or other students about
missed work!
 Failure to make up a missed assignment, test or quiz will result in a grade of
Missing (M) for that assignment grade. Missing assignments must be made up
and will calculate as a zero (0) until they are completed.
Grading Policy
 Not all homework will be collected and graded. However, it is important to do
ALL homework to ensure that you are keeping up with the class.
 You are encouraged to ask questions about your homework, even if it is not
 Homework that does not meet standards at an acceptable level must be redone.
You will be given a grade of Incomplete (I) until such time that the assignment is
completed properly. All grades of “I” will turn into grades of “M” at the end of
each grading term.
 If you have more than four incomplete or missing assignments by the end of a
grading term an Incomplete (I) will be posted as your grade. You will not receive
an actual grade until you make up your missing work. Receiving an Incomplete
(I) in a course does not give you credit for that course.
Grade Scale is as follows:
Regular Exams: 70%
Homework and Labs: 15%
Final Exam: 15%
90-100 -A
80-89 - B
70-79 - C
60-69 - D
below 59 – F
Class Rules
 Respect yourself and all others (no foul language, being rude, cruel, etc.)!
 Be in the room with all of your class supplies when the tardy bell rings.
 Have all homework assignments ready to discuss and/or hand in as soon as the
bell rings.
 Class is not over until you are excused by your instructor.
 Keep walkways clear and be mindful of safety.
 No food or drink is permitted in the class.
 Electronic devices may only be used for academic purposes and at the discretion
of the instructors.
Hall Pass Rules
 One break (bathroom, drink, etc) will be allowed each day. These will be
announced by the instructor … so don’t ask.
 Emergency restroom visits will be allowed at the discretion of the teacher.
 You may only use a hall pass to go EXACTLY where you have asked the teacher
to go. If you chose to go elsewhere, you will be given a discipline notice . . . no
 You may not go to the office during class.
 You may not go to Mr. Bayes office for medicine during class. You are only
allowed to go before and after school, between classes, and at lunch.
You must sign out of class and back into class in the Hall Pass Log Book every
time you make a trip out of class. This list will be turned into the office weekly
for review by the principle.
SCHEDULE (subject to change)
First Day of Class – The Changing Cosmos (Part 1)
No School
No School
The Planets (Part 2)
Midterm Exam (date is approximate)
Early Release
Daylight Savings Begins
The Stars (Part 3)
Spring Break (Ends 04/08/11)
Galaxies and Cosmic Evolution (Part 4)
Final Exam (Part 1)
Final Exam (Part 2)
No School
Students’ Last Day
A few night meetings dependent upon weather conditions
Note: This schedule will be followed as closely as possible, but is subject to change.

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