January 2, 2018


We begin with geocentric and phenomenological approach to naked eye astronomy. Constellations are observed, and stories about them from various cultures are told. The ability to place oneself anywhere on our planet and know how the night sky would appear is taught along with the phases of the moon, eclipses, the apparent movement of the stars, and the progression of the seasons.

At night we observe how the stars and moon move across the sky. Taking these observations back into the classroom, we develop an understanding of the “great circles”, including the horizon, meridian and equator. Following the movement of the stars, moon and sun, we orient ourselves on the surface of the Earth and among the stars.

Our observations of the sky lead us to an understanding of circumpolar constellations. We develop an understanding of the relationship between the earth and sun and, due to the earth’s tilt, the resulting seasons. Studying the lunar phases, we learn a method to tell time using only the moon’s position in the sky.


  • The Earth and Moon
  • The Sun
  • The Planets
  • The Stars and Constellations
  • Space Exploration
  • Extra Terestrial Life
  • Einstein, Time and Space
  • The Universe (and Multiverse)


  • Claudius Ptolomy (90-168 CE)
  • Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi (903–986 CE)
  • Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543 EC)
  • Tycho Brahe
  • Johannes Kepler (1571–1630 CE) 
  • Galeleo Galeli (1564-1652 CE)
  • Giovanni Cassini (1625-1712)
  • Christiaan Huygens (1629–1695) 
  • Isaac Newton (1642–1727)
  • Albert Einstein (1879–1955)
  • Carl Sagan (1934–1996 CE)
  • Stephen Hawking (1942–)
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson

Projects and Activities

Exactly which projects and activities we attempt depends on available time, student interest and motivation, and of course the degree to which we can return some small fraction of our educational resources back from the ever bloating MIC.

  • Create a 3-D model of our solar system, including the sun, planets, asteroid belt, and famous comets.
  • Create a scale model of the solar system on a football field.
  • Art: Stary Stary Night