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WCSD High School Astronomy

Guidelines for An Excellent Course in Astronomy

The Washoe County School District's Website has High School Course Guides for the sciences that teachers and parents can download. To spark interest in our planetary system, the guide for astronomy -- semester one -- suggests some very demanding questions:

How did observations of the celestial bodies influence the ancients' understanding of their place in the universe?

That's an excellent philosophical question, but there's more! The next two questions are also meant to explore age-old Astronomy:

How did classical astronomers use mathematics and observations to explain motions of objects in our solar system? How did classical astronomers use technology and mathematics to investigate and predict the motion of objects in the solar system?

To explore the Scientific Revolution, the guide suggests these ambitious questions:

How did astronomers use developing mathematics and physics to explain the motion of objects in our solar system? What are the physical characteristics of the objects orbiting our sun?

To discuss the Sun & Stars, the guiding question for this unit is intended to incite discoveries about nuclear fusion and the release of solar energy. The question also incites discussion of the Big Bang theory, and inqueries concerning how the universe was formed and what it is made of:

How can we predict stellar evolution based on the initial mass of a star?

As the course develops, the later questions are for learning about gravity, light, motion, composition, technology, space travel, and finally, what astronomy offers to the evolution of our human understanding.

Astronomy Materials from WCSD (MSWord):

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