Topics in Astronomy – Elementary Level Science Series Session 1

Topics in Astronomy - Elementary Level Science Series Session 1

Thank you for your interest. Both sections of this class are full.

How fast is the speed of light? How big is the solar system? Why is Venus so hot? What is up with Jupiter & it’s many moons? Join Blair Lee for a 3-week session focused on topics in astronomy. Your children will learn these answers to these questions, all the while they will work on science skills and lab technique.

Topics in Astronomy is one of the 4 Sessions in the Elementary Level Science Series. Each session of the Elementary Level Science Series meets 3 times over a span of 3 weeks. Each 3-week Session includes important, foundational science topics, scientific modeling, focused definitions of core science terms and phrases all in an engaging, high-interest format.

Each Session of the Elementary Level Science Series has hands-on labs that have been thoughtfully paired with written materials. Materials will be emailed 2-weeks before the class meets with guided readings, materials list, lab instructions as well as suggestions for extra activities and how to use the topics and material for project-based unit studies. During the live sessions, students can ask questions as we go over the material. Then we will work on an lab/activity as a class. Classes will be taped for anyone unable to attend a class.

For those using the REAL Science Odyssey Astronomy 1 curriculum, these lessons will highlight, but not duplicate, labs and activities from the course. 1st – 4th grades recommended. Course materials will be staggered depending on the grade level, science acumen of the student.

* Lab materials will be inexpensive and easy to obtain.

What Makes SEA Online Classes Special

Class Duration: August 6 – August 20 FULL

A second Section has been added August 10 – 24 FULL

Class Size: 1-10 learners

Age Range: 6 – 10

Total Price: $75

Bundle Pricing for all four Sessions of the Elementary Level Science Series $270

Topics in Astronomy – Elementary Level Science Series Session 1

There are 3 meetings (1 per week for 3 weeks) covering a different topic in astronomy each week.

In this 3-week series students will look at how investigations done on Earth are used to form scientific models for the Universe. In week 3, students will be encouraged to share about one of Jupiter’s moon.

Week 1: Solar System Measurements – How Big is the Solar System? How Fast Is Light? From infrared to radio waves, how big (or small) is a wavelength?

The speed of light is fast? How fast are a cheetah, a snail, and you compared to it? Let’s have a race and find out. After investigating the speed of light students will learn how that is used to make measurements. The measurements made for students will be included as we investigate how long it would take light to get places if it moved at our speed.

Week 2: How Hot Is too Hot? Venus and the Runaway Greenhouse Effect

The hottest planet in the solar system is not the one that is closest to the Sun. Venus, the second planet from the sun holds that honor. Scientists believe that volcanism and a lack of hydrogen are the key to understanding the runaway greenhouse effect on Venus. This class includes a scientific modeling activity.

Week 3: The Moons of Jupiter

Galileo first sighted the moons of Jupiter in about 1610. Since then another 75 moons have been discovered. Four of these moons are larger than any of the dwarf planets, including Pluto. One of them, Ganymede is even larger than Mercury. We will also look at the relationship between gravity and Jupiter’s moons.

Topics in Astronomy is one of the 4 sessions in the Elementary Level Science Series. The Elementary Level Science Series has 3 meets 3 times. Each 3-week session includes important, foundational science topics, scientific modeling, focused definitions of core science terms and phrases all in an engaging, high-interest format.

Each Session of the Elementary Level Science Series has hands-on labs that have been thoughtfully paired with written materials. Materials will be emailed 2-weeks before the class meets with guided readings, materials list, lab instructions as well as suggestions for extra activities and how to use the topics and material for project-based unit studies. During the live sessions, students can ask questions as we go over the material. Then we will work on an lab/activity as a class. Classes will be taped for anyone unable to attend a class.

For those using the REAL Science Odyssey Astronomy 1 curriculum, these lessons will highlight, but not duplicate, labs and activities from the course. 1st – 4th grades recommended. Course materials will be staggered depending on the grade level, science acumen of the student.

* Lab materials will be inexpensive and easy to obtain.

We will meet live as a group on the following Mondays from 10-10:45am PST: August 10th, August 17th, August 24th.

Materials List will be sent out on or before July 22nd. All materials will be inexpensive and easy to obtain.

To interact in class: Live sessions will be best experienced with a camera and microphone. Parents will need a Zoom account (free).

Usually 2-3 hours per week of work, including class.

Students will gain an understanding of the solar system

Students will learn some of the science explaining light and radiation

Students will learn about the atmosphere surrounding Venus and be able to make some predictive statements about the atmosphere of other planets using scientific analysis

Students will learn about the moons of Jupiter, the concept of size to gravity, and tidal friction

Students will learn important on topic vocabulary

Students will learn lab technique

Students will gain an understanding of the scientific method

Families and learners are welcome to share any information about their individual learning preferences and needs and instructor will make accommodations that are helpful to the class.

See this teacher’s policies on things like refunds, missing class, and behavioral expectations. (Click here to see the policies.)

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Review of R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Astronomy 2

Review of R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Astronomy 2

R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Astronomy 2 from Pandia Press brings top quality secular science into your home or classroom in an engaging hands-on manner. Scientist and author, Blair Lee, has a conversational writing style that opens up serious science topics to students in a way that invites them on a journey through learning. The combination of thorough science education, fun labs and activities, and the author’s ability to share vast amounts of information without overwhelming a novice makes RSO Astronomy 2 an excellent course for both students who love science, and those who do not. The writing style, uncommon for a textbook, paired with the rigorous academic material it teaches allows this course to meet the needs of students throughout the publisher’s recommended 6th – 10th grade range.      

The student text for this course functions as textbook, workbook, and lab book all in one, which makes organizing this course quite easy for students, parents, and teachers. The text is divided into three units, each containing four chapters,and a unit exam. In each chapter, students will learn through thought provoking written lessons as they build a solid foundation of science concepts. These lessons are thorough, teaching not only astronomy, but also explaining the chemistry, physics, and math needed to truly understand the material. Students will explore these concepts further with hands-on labs, activities, and scientific models. There is an outstanding focus on scientific modeling woven through the entire course. Students will not only learn how and why scientist use scientific models, but also gain a deeper understanding through using existing working scientific models, as well as creating and developing their own. Some labs in this course require written lab reports, this formulaic writing is an important skill every student should learn. There are also labs with math components, as math and science often go hand in hand. All of the math is clearly explained and examples are given. This is an excellent example for students of how mathematics is applied in subjects beyond their math studies.

Through the twelve part Famous Science Series, students develop and expand research skills while learning interesting history related to astronomy, including topics like famous scientists, scientific discoveries, and space crafts and programs. While the questions in this series will help guide student’s research, how that research is done is left more open ended. This allows you to easily adapt these assignments to the appropriate level for your student. My 9th grader found researching Edwin Hubble for chapter 2, William and Margaret Huggins for chapter 4, and Tycho Brache and Johannes Kepler for chapter 6 quite fascinating. He will be expanding what he learned in the Famous Science Series into more formal research papers on each. The “Show What You Know” section at the end of each chapter gives students a chance to demonstrate the knowledge they’ve gained and provides parents and teachers with a quick and easy way to assess if students have a solid understanding of key concepts. Because each chapter builds on the one prior, this also lets you know if any information should be reviewed before moving on. Doing the “SWYK” section orally led to some long and fascinating conversations in my house.

I have often heard people ask if a teacher’s guide is really necessary, in this case my answer is absolutely yes. The teacher’s guide for RSO Astronomy 2 is so much more than just an answer book. Of course it does include answer keys and lesson reviews, but also guides to help with scheduling, grading, learning goals for each chapter, details on the math used in various labs, and more. Need a more detailed explanation or want to dig deeper into a topic? Each chapter in the teacher’s guide includes lists of books, videos, websites, and/or podcasts to explore. This pair of books provide an exciting and solid astronomy education regardless of your own science background.

R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Astronomy 2 is presented in a way that is open, inviting, fun, and user friendly for students, parents, and teachers. Yet it never over simplifies or compromises on the quality of the academic material. Whether your students dream of a career exploring the universe or just enjoy gazing at the night sky, upon completion of this course they will have a thorough understanding of the core principles of astronomy and the processes used to develop those principles…and will certainly have some fun while learning it.  

 

Sign up here for a chance to win R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Astronomy 2 Student and Teacher Guide!
The Winner will be announced September 10, 2017.       

Check out our post on observing the Perseid Meteor Shower here.

    





Observing the Perseid Meteor Shower

Observing the Perseid Meteor Shower

Just imagine your children’s faces when you tell them that you will be waking them at 2 in the morning. When I wrote R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Astronomy 2, my family and I did our best to observe all special night sky events. We have spent some very special moments communing in the middle of the night. Some of the events themselves fizzled, but every single one was worth viewing together. My family’s favorite night sky viewing events are meteor showers. Meteor showers are the most immediate evidence that we are on a ball hurtling through space at a very high speed!

To understand why there are bright streaks of light during a meteor shower, imagine walking on a very windy day into an area with a lot of loose dirt. As you walk, pieces of dirt will hit the front of your body, because you are moving into the blowing dirt. That is sort of what it is like for Earth during a meteor shower. Meteor showers occur when Earth moves into and through fields of dust and debris. When this dust and debris strikes Earth, which is traveling at 108,000 kilometers per hour, the pieces burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

The Perseid meteor shower is named for the constellation Perseus where the meteors seem to come from. The debris from the Perseid meteor shower is left over from the comet Swift –Tuttle. As a comet travels it leaves a trail of dust and debris in its path. Swift-Tuttle crosses through Earth’s orbital path every 133 years* leaving dust when it does. Each year when Earth travels through this dust there is a meteor shower. There are recorded observations of the comet Swift-Tuttle in 322 BC, 69 BC, 188, 1737, 1862, and 1992. Swift-Tuttle will be visible from Earth again in 2026. I wonder if the meteor shower is spectacular the year following Swift-Tuttle’s crossing through Earth’s orbital path.

Meteor showers have a lot to offer night sky viewers. If you go out at the right time in the early morning, you will see meteors. You do not need any special equipment to view a meteor shower. They are best viewed with your unaided eye, because you have a wider field of view that way. There is something exciting about watching streaks of light go across the sky.

Check out our post of R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Astronomy 2 here.





Great Basin National Park, Utah

Great Basin National Park, Utah

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This was our viewing spot for the Perseid meteor shower. It was nearly a perfect location. Nice and dark with no light pollution, which is what stargazers call the artificial lights that make it hard to view astronomical events.

We started 10th grade on August 12th, 2015 by getting on the road. It might seem arbitrary to choose a date since we homeschool, but why not? 🙂 When we travel, we include history and science as a part of the journey. Over the next month I will be posting regular science and history information from our trip. Starting with a meteor shower!

There is no more visceral evidence that we are on a ball hurtling through space than a meteor shower. You may occasionally read that the shower is caused by meteors falling to Earth. But what is actually happening is that Earth is traveling through dust left from a comet that passed across the solar system and intersected the Earth’s orbit. Comets are like the Peanut’s character Pigpen, traveling along leaving dust and debris in their wake. Meteor showers happen at the same time every year, because Earth orbits the sun annually along the same path crossing the trail of comet dust in the same place each year.

Earth collides with the debris at speeds up to 72 km per second. The friction between Earth’s atmosphere and the debris causes a burst of light as the debris disintegrates. The best time to view meteor showers is at night. When the sun is shining, its light is so much brighter than the bursts of light from meteors that you cannot see them.

Meteor showers are named for the constellation where they seem to originate. The Perseid meteor shower originates in the constellation Perseus. The Perseid meteor shower occurs from August 11 through August 13.

Can you answer these questions?

1) If Earth is traveling at an average speed of 2,574,720 km per day, how wide is the debris cloud that gives rise to the shower?

2) What is the circumference of Earth at its equator where it is largest?

3) How much larger or smaller is the width of the dust cloud than the circumference of Earth?

*See answers below


1406266378Blair Lee M.S. is the the founder of Secular, Eclectic, Academic Homeschoolers. When she’s not busy doing these things, she’s busy writing or working on service projects. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Real Science Odyssey Biology 2 and Chemistry 1, http://www.pandiapress.com/publications/real-science-odyssey/. She is currently working on Astronomy and Earth Science 2 for the series.


(Answers: 1) 7,724,160 km, 2) 40,075 km, 3) 7,684,085 km)

Read about the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling here.