Course Syllabus

Astronomy - Welcome!

“Man must rise above the Earth – to the top of the atmosphere and beyond – for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives.” -- Socrates


Welcome to Astronomy!  This course is an in depth exploratory course of astronomy where we will dive into some fascinating and at times crazy sounding topics!  We will cover topics including stars, the technology and science of studying space from Earth, Earth’s position in space, the night sky, the solar system, astrobiology, cosmology, and relativity.  

This course will also focus on developing both student and science skills such as data analysis, scientific writing, experimentation, questioning and observation, presenting, collaboration, and tying in the nature of science to the content we learn.

This course is being offered at the ACP and Honors level this year.  A detailed break down of honors expectations will be provided in a separate document.  The expectations outlined here are for the ACP level of the course.

Contact:  Office room 358.  Email:


  1. Respect both myself and your peers.
  2. Work collaboratively with your peers in a respectful and constructive manner during group work – we will be working with groups and partners A LOT in this class.  Make a good reputation for yourself, and give every person you work with a fresh opportunity to be a better partner.
  3. Be on time, especially on lab days.
  4. Come to class with an active and engaged mind.
  5. Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated in any way. Procedures as outlined by the Student Handbook will be followed if anyone is caught copying others work or letting someone else copy their own work.  Penalties for cheating will be determined on a case by case basis.  Please be mindful of doing your own work on Google Docs.
  6. Follow all lab safety procedures.



  • Laptop and charger (or fully charged laptop…)
  • Writing utensil

Quarter Grading Policy:

Labs, Projects and Discussion Posts (H only)– 90%

Class Participation – 10%


Students who are unhappy or concerned about their grade(s) should talk to me, I am always willing to discuss your grade and how you are doing in class.  My job is to make sure you succeed, so if there is a problem, we should discuss it.  However, this should be done by appointment NOT during class time. You are also encouraged to see me for extra help if you need it.  You can also email me if you need help.  Don’t wait until it is too late to change your grade! 

Labs & Investigations:  Astronomy incorporates a wide range of complex topics, subjects, theories, and far away locations.  While all theories and principles we study are testable (they must be in order to be considered scientific) the equipment needed to collect data of some properties is either too expensive or time consuming to be appropriate for the context of this course.  Many of the labs we will complete will use data available to us on the internet, or online simulations.

Projects:  There will be many projects assigned in this course.  Some projects will be cumulative of all the material learned in that unit, while other projects will be on a smaller scale with respect to both time and material involved.  Projects are generally used to enhance learning and delve more in depth at the topic at hand.  Almost all projects will require research.  Class time will be given to complete projects.  More information about each project will be given when they are assigned.

Homework:  Homework is not given frequently for ACP. All students are expected to complete one current events paper per quarter that they will present to the class on a designated date.  In addition, students may need to complete labs or projects at home if they fall behind, miss class, or suffer from senioritis.

Absences: I will NOT seek you out to make up work.  It is your job to take initiative and come to me to discuss making up any work you have missed due to absences.  You should come see me the first day you are back in school.  You can also email me, as I check my mail frequently and will get back to you promptly.  It is also up to you to turn in work that was due during your absence.  If we are working on a group project at the time, your priority should be to check in with your partner(s) to catch up.

Class Participation:  You are expected to come to class each day on time, prepared, respect both your peers and myself, and be engaged in the day’s activities.  Participation is expected.  You should be prepared to contribute to class discussions each time they occur.  While whole class discussions may not occur every class, you will have the opportunity to actively participate in a group each class.  See grading rubric for further details.  You will use a self-evaluation rubric to assess your class participation grade each term, which will count for half of your participation grade.  The other half will be my grade for you using the same rubric.

Extra Credit:  Extra credit at the end of the term is not given.  Students are expected to be PROACTIVE and not REACTIVE about their grade.  Extra credit may be given at the teacher’s discretion for student work that goes above and beyond the expectations of the assessment.

Late Work:  If you know a deadline will be difficult to make, come talk to me, and we will likely be able to work out an extension.  This is to be done SPARINGLY.  Repeat offenders will not be given consideration.  Penalties for late work will be handled on a case by case basis, however should you not be prepared for a presentation deadline, a 10% grade penalty will result.

The books you sign out throughout the year (honors) must be returned at the end of the year, or your grade will be an incomplete until it is returned or reimbursed for, per school policy.  The cost of each book varies but are generally less than $40.  The cost of the textbook (if you sign one out) is $132.


  1. The Solar System
  2. Stars
  3. Astrobiology
  4. Cosmology
  5. Q4: Relativity, Black Holes, Dark Energy / Matter & Interstellar


Course Summary:

Date Details