Astronomy for Homeschoolers: Stars, Light, Optics
Stars, Light, Optics
Ten Wednesdays, 9:30 to 11:00am, Nov. 9, 16, 30; Dec. 7, 14, 21; Jan. 4, 11, 18, 25
Fee $255 (includes Project STAR items listed below)
Enrollment deadline: Friday, Nov. 4, 2016 by 4pm
For the fifth consecutive year, the RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium offers astronomy courses for homeschool families with students around 12 to 15 years old looking for scientific challenge and substance.
These are multiple-session courses, each session building on the previous ones. All sessions are on Wednesday mornings from 9:30 to 11:00am.
Each 90-minute session is divided between activities and discussions in the Planetarium lobby and sky lessons and programs in the Star Theater. The Planetarium building is closed to the public during our sessions. Parents are always welcome, either to sit at the side of the room or work alongside their students. Enrollment is limited to 25 students. Prerequisites: none, except a desire to learn and willingness to support a learning environment for others.
Required for enrollment: a parent or guardian’s functioning e-mail address
Each student will learn to use and take home a Project STAR refracting telescope kit, a Project STAR plastic spectrometer, and a notebook with information sheets.
We will offer “non-quizzes” enabling students to assess their knowledge, but no tests or grades.
We will use some mathematical processes, including angle measurement, plotting with coordinates, and multiplication and division, but we aim to avoid math anxiety!
Students will be introduced to:
- Stars, constellations and planets they can see in the sky in the coming year
- Light described in terms of rays that can form shadows and images
- How pinholes, lenses and mirrors can be used to manipulate light
- How a refracting telescope works
- Light described in terms of waves
- The connection between light waves, energy and color, and the structure of atoms
- The significance of star colors
- How light spectra can be used to identify chemical elements
Enrollment in our earlier course “Winter Sky, Summer Eclipse” will be helpful but not necessary.