Astronomy GCSE for schools/colleges at Lawrence House
Offered externally to secondary (and sixth form) schools and colleges.
The course follows the Edexcel syllabus, running from early February, for approximately 16 months, concluding with the final single exam in the following summer.
There are two possible timetable scenarios – usually dependant upon funds for travel etc:
1. Pupils attend the astronomy centre once a week for a lesson lasting approximately one-and-a-half hours
2. Lessons alternate on a fortnightly basis: two consecutive weeks at the centre followed by two weeks when I will come to your school … etc
Often a school group will include a member of their own staff – who also takes the astronomy GCSE… This works very well regarding the organisation of travel -and as a general primary liaison between myself and your school/college.
Once a ‘weekly day’ has been decided upon, I am completely flexible regarding the specific timing – whether ‘extra-curricular’ or within the ‘normal school day’.
Please enquire for current fees and any detailed information regarding the course.
The Astronomy Centre comprises;
· a standard classroom,
· a tiered lecture theatre,
· a housed planetarium
· our on-site Assheton Observatory and an array of telescopes for you to utilise
How long will it take?
The course timetable is spread over sixteen months, following your school’s school-term-time schedule.
What do we study on the course?
There are many topics, roughly divided into five major ‘chapters’. Pupils will learn about:
1. Our ‘home’, the Earth, and its place within the Universe
2. The Moon and the Sun, and their influence upon our planet
3. The planets in our Solar System
4. Stars and Galaxies – the life and structure of the stars – Constellations, and the night sky.
5. Observing Techniques – how we view and study the Universe.
How is it assessed?
At the end of the course, your knowledge of astronomy will be tested in two written exams. Each exam will be 100 mins in duration.
These papers tend to reflect the general division of the course between:
1. How and what we observe in our night sky, with the naked eye;
2. How, as astronomers, we observe and comprehend the greater Universe, with optical (telescopic) aid etc.
What do the pupils need regarding equipment?
I personally recommend loose leaf A4 paper to write on, and a ring binder– this is then also a good way to keep any handouts that I give out. Apart from that, pupils will need the usual pencil case – pens pencils ruler etc – and one thing I always recommend: a good pair of compasses for drawing circles…!!
Pupils do not need any observing equipment – there’s plenty for us to use here at the centre.
A subject rarely offered at GCSE level. Recent and ongoing revelations in the field have established the discipline as a true ‘cutting edge’ science for the 21st century.
There has never been a better time to study astronomy!
The current (quite new) syllabus actually makes an astronomer of you! It trains pupils not just in factual content but also in how to do astronomical observations– using telescopes properly etc. The ‘coursework’ element is the ‘practical stuff’ – and it’s great fun – observing/recording/sketching/photographing the night sky etc