Astronomy is taught as part of the suite of qualifications offer by the science department in a laboratory equipped with a projector and interactive whiteboard. There is a set of wireless networked laptops available to support teaching and learning. iPads are available for use in lessons and we have books, magazines and other resources to support the new curriculum.
At Key Stage 3 we aim to develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about astronomical phenomena. Students are encouraged to understand how the science behind the Universe can be used to explain observations, predict how things will behave and then analyse and evaluate the results.
Through units of work in Physics, students are introduced to the basic concepts of forces and energy transfers that lead to further study of astronomy. There is an emphasis on learning and developing the thinking and practical skills which will enable students to become competent scientists. Students are encouraged to buy a revision guide to support their learning throughout Key Stage 3.
Further study of forces includes work on the Solar System, developing more in-depth knowledge and learning to analyse data to find relationships and make prediction. Students also undertake a short project on the forces involved with rocket science, testing their own design for a rocket.
Students begin the GCSE Science Course. All students are taught by subject specialists in physics where the study of forces at GCSE standard is undertaken to prepare for further study.
Year 10 students who opt to study separate sciences will take a topic on Astronomy as part of their GCSE Physics studies. This looks the composition of the Solar System, the life-cycle of stars and the conflicting theories over the origin and nature of the Universe.
Students can opt to study for GCSE Astronomy, taking lessons one day a week after school. The course looks at the wide range of topics within the subject; the Earth, Moon and Sun, the nature and composition of the Solar System, stellar evolution, galaxies and cosmology. Students are also required to carry out naked-eye and instrumental observations so a range of techniques and methods are discussed. The students can use their own observational equipment so no extra equipment is required for these studies as we have access to the National School Observatory telescopes for deep sky observations.