GCSE Astronomy online course
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Priority Learning is one of the only places to learn GCSE Astronomy online with live weekly webinars, weekly graded homework, drop in sessions with your tutor and full coursework support. Astronomy is a fascinating subject and a GCSE that really makes you stand out from the crowd. I always got asked about it at college and university interviews and the interviewer always saw it as a massive positive. If your child is hoping to study any of the STEM subjects at university, a GCSE astronomy will really make their personal statement stand out from the crowd. Not only that, but it is the only GCSE where you can sketch and observe a meteor shower or eclipse as part of your coursework.
Coursework is split into two parts, aided and unaided. You will need one of, a camera, binoculars or a telescope for your aided observations, if you don’t own these many people borrow them from a friend or local astronomy society. The coursework has to be completed in order to enter the exams, though it is not graded. The first paper asks questions about the coursework topics so I encourage students to pick a few coursework topics they would like to do, we submit their best piece and use the rest as practice for paper 1.
Two years gives us plenty of time to identify areas of weakness for each individual student and along with our drop in sessions, set student specific homework as well as group homework.
We push all our students to achieve high grades, at Priority Learning we are firm believers that hard work pays off and we push our students to work hard. IGCSE’s set students up for A-levels which set students up for university so a very strong foundation in their understanding of astronomy is crucial to a prosperous academic journey. We set homework in the style of exams style questions to ensure students get used to this style of question early. We focus on scientific writing skills right from the start of the course, some people refer to this as “exam technique”, but if scientific writing is taught correctly there is no such thing as exam technique, only good and bad scientific writing. We do set a lot of homework with deadlines and expect it all to be completed on time, if homework is late it will recieve a 50% grade penalty.
Parents will make a parent account on our app and add their child (who will need a student account) to their account, this will ensure that parents get notified when homework is set and when the deadline is. You’ll also get notified if homework is late. From the parents dashboard you’ll be able to see a live predicted grade, updated after every piece of homework, so we take homework seriously from the start. Given the recent examination issues due to covid, continuous assessment has to be a vital part of our courses so we are prepared for anything.
We have 2 drop in sessions per week, Mondays 3-4pm and Thursdays 10am-12pm, this allows students 5-15 mintues (depending on how busy the drop ins are) 1:1 time with their tutor so if they need help on homework or a concept explaining again they can get that 1:1 help without needing to book private lessons, it’s all included in the price.
Please note we cannot organise exams for any students, this is the responsibility of the parent/guardian.
Lesson time: Tuesdays 1pm.
Completing this course will help you/your child:
Who is the course for?
Any students with a background in and passion for Astronomy and wanting to take their Astronomy GCSE in summer 2022.
In the first part of the course we learn how to safely observe the sun, how the sun produces energy, how this energy propagates through the layers of the sun, how to calculate the rotational period of the sun using sunspots and much more. We will also learn about the different types of telescopes used in astronomy and how they work.
- 5 lessons + 1 Test.
- 8th September – 20th October inclusive.
- 26th-30th October half term.
In the second part of our first term we learn about the different types of space probe, examples of each and the different types of space missions probes can go on. We also learn about how the planets of the solar system formed.
- 5 lessons + 1 test
- 3rd November – 8th December inclusive.
- Christmas Holidays 14th December – 1st January.
In the second term, students will gain an understanding of how stars are observed and how we can obtain information about them from just observing the light they emit. They will study the evolution of stars and different types of stars. Students will also find out why we observe stars in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum and where telescopes are located to enable better observations to be made.
- 5 lessons + 1 Test.
- 5th January – 9th February inclusive.
- 15th-19th February half term.
Students will gain an understanding of redshift and Hubble’s law for distant galaxies. They will also study the evidence and explanation for the expanding Universe. Students will explore dark matter and dark energy and the possible fate of the Universe.
Students will be expected to revise all parts of the course over the Easter Break.
- 4 lessons + 1 test.
- 23rd February – 23rd March inclusive.
- 29th March – 9th April Easter break.
At this point we split the group, the main group will study the moon and solar system and lessons will continue at the normal times, but we do have 2 students from last year taking the exam in 2021, we will run an extra course for these students at a different time so I can focus on past papers and exams with them.
The main group will have a test as normal at the end of this term.
- 5 lessons + 1 test.
- 13th April – 18th May inclusive.
- 24th May- 7th June long half term (they’ll need it for mock revision).
The lesson on the 8th of June we will have our first mock exam, 15th will be the paper review, the lessons on the 22nd and 29th of June we will cover the formation and internal divisions of the moon as this is the shortest part of the specification.
I like to finish a few weeks ahead of schools so you still get a chance to go on holiday while it’s cheap. And by this point we will have covered more than half the course so we’re in a great position for September.
Students will investigate the main bodies in the Solar System and their characteristics. Students will gain an understanding of how and why stars evolve. They will study how stars form and how they end their life, depending on their size. Students will gain an understanding of the Milky Way, our place in it and how it fits into the Universe. They will study different types of galaxies and the main theories for their evolution.
This concludes Telescopic Astronomy.
- 6 lessons + 1 end of topic test.
- 7th September – 19th October inclusive.
- 24th-28th October half term.
Students will gain an understanding of the planet Earth and its internal structure. They will learn about the major divisions on Earth’s surface and how its atmosphere affects observations. Students will gain an understanding of the Moon and its surface formations, and be able to identify some of the main features on its surface. Students will study the rotation and revolution of the Moon and the effect of libration. Students will gain an understanding of the relationship between the Earth, Moon and Sun and how they affect each other. They will also study tides, precession and eclipses. Students will gain an understanding of astronomical definitions and measurements of time. They will study synodic and sidereal time, solstices and equinoxes and the need for time zones.
5 lessons + 1 end of topic test.
- 28th October – 7th December inclusive.
- 8th December – 9th January Christmas holidays. Students will be required to revise all course content for the January mock exam.
- 1 full mock 3 lessons + 1 observational astronomy test.
- 11th January – 8th February inclusive.
- 14th February – 18th February half term.
Students will gain an understanding of the motion of the planets around the Sun and the role of gravity. They will study Kepler’s laws of planetary motion and Newton’s law of universal gravitation.
- 2 lessons on planetary motion + one test then the rest of the lessons in the course will be revision and going through past papers.
- 22nd February – 29th March inclusive.
- 4th February – 24th April Easter Holiday.
We have a long Easter break so students can apply all the revision tips and strategies they have learned in the course to their own personal revision. We are having a 3 week Easter break rather than 2 weeks, to give students that need their own revision space the time they need. I may well run optional revision booster sessions in the third week if enough students want it, though this is separate to the course and an optional extra. The lessons we do have after Easter will be going through past papers on the topics the group has found hardest to ensure they have the best chance of acheiving the most marks possible in their exams. Please note I cannot organise exams for any students, this is the responsibility of the parent/guardian.