SYLLABUS OF THE COURSE:

1995 The Regents of the University of California

Unit 1

"History of Exploring the Universe"

Unit Objectives

When the unit is completed, students should be able to:

Topics for Class Discussions

  1. Learning about the nighttime sky: celestial sphere and system of coordinates
  2. Understanding the Earth-Sun relationship
  3. Newton's law of universal gravitation
  4. Kepler's laws of planetary motion
  5. Major and minor motions of astronomical objects in the sky
Group Work Assignments

  1. Constellations: Mythology and Reality
  2. Great Astronomers
  3. Tools for Collecting Information in Astrophysics
  4. Models of the Solar System: a Historical Perspective
  5. The Earth and its Companion, the Moon

Final Project

To compile a summary diagram/chart of the history of astrophysics.

The idea is to combine the information obtained through small groups research (names, dates, discoveries) and to use it as a data base for a student-made diagram on the history of the universe exploration. A format and the content of the summary diagram may vary depending on a variety and depth of topics researched in this unit. (Note: the chart should be big enough to be posted in class.)


Unit 2

"Electromagnetic Spectrum on Trial"

Unit Objectives

When the unit is completed, students should be able to:

Topics for Class Discussion

  1. Waves and their characteristics (wavelength, frequency, amplitude, energy)
  2. Wave formula and speed of light
  3. General properties of waves (reflection, refraction, interference, diffraction)
  4. Electromagnetic waves and their properties
  5. Electromagnetic spectrum

Group Work Assignments

  1. Radio waves and their astronomical sources
  2. Infrared Cosmos
  3. Visible part of electromagnetic spectrum and nighttime sky
  4. Ultraviolet and Extreme Ultraviolet Universe
  5. X-Rays and Gamma Radiation in Astrophysics

Final Project

To organize a poster contest, science conference, or educational game "Trial."


Unit 3

"Stellar Astrophysics: Classification, Structure, and Evolution of Stars"

Unit Objectives

When the unit is completed, students should be able to:

Topics for Class Discussion

  1. Rutherford-Bohr's model of the atom
  2. Atomic spectra and Kirchoff's rules of spectroscopy
  3. Luminosity and temperatures
  4. Nuclear fusion and fission
  5. Spectral analysis of stellar activity and properties

Group Work Assignments

  1. Our Sun: A Model Star
  2. Distances, Motion, and Brightness of Stars
  3. Colors of Stars in Star Classification
  4. Stellar Composition and Nuclear Fusion
  5. The Life Cycle of Stars and Stellar Evolution Theories

Final Project

To create a cognitive educational game "Stellar Domino."

The equipment for this game may be easily prepared by students themselves. Each group should design and make at least five domino pieces with pictures/drawings and names/characteristics of different astronomical objects they have researched in the unit.

Types of stars, galaxies, dark matter, main sequence, nebulae, interstellar clouds, stellar corona, luminosity, spectral type, blackbody, etc. are among possible key ideas and terms that may be included in stellar domino.

Rules of this educational game can be similar to a regular domino game. The main idea is not merely find matching (drawing - word) pieces, but, also, define their meaning or explain their nature. The domino educational games are efficient "toys" that can be used to systematize and review the learning material before tests.


Unit 4

"Astrophysics' Role in Solving the Mysteries of the Universe"

Unit Objectives

When the unit is completed, students should be able to:

Topics for Class Discussion

  1. The Milky Way: home galaxy
  2. Galaxies and quasars
  3. The cosmos: past and present
  4. Theory of relativity and black holes
  5. Fundamental questions in cosmology, astronomy, and physics

Group Work Assignments

  1. Planetary Missions (Mariner, Viking, Voyager, Pioneer, Galileo, Magellan, etc. missions)
  2. Piloted Space Programs (Shuttle, Apollo, etc. missions)
  3. Low-energy Universe Possible Discoveries (SIRTF, SOFIA, IRAS, OVLBI, VLBA, etc. missions)
  4. Understanding the High-Energy Universe (AXAF, GRO, HST, etc. missions)
  5. Space Exploration Abroad (Europe, Japan, Russia, etc.)

Final Project

To create a wall newspaper "News from Cosmos."

This type of activity allows students to improvise and utilize their creative abilities. Students can include any type of information about astrophysics in a newspaper.

Latest news from ground and space centers, "hot" pictures or drawings, humorous articles, science fiction stories, puzzles, descriptions of modern technology, new theories, and even astrological news and UFO review are among possible topics for the discussion in a newspaper.

Note: newspapers should be made on a huge piece of paper and posted in class or school hall, so that students from other classes were able to read them and later discuss them with their friends at lunch time or after school.


Return to "Astrophysics" Course Description


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