2020 Online Astronomy Institute - Module 1, 2 and 3

3 Module Savings: Exploring the Solar System, From Pinholes to Space Telescopes, and Romancing the Moon. See details below


Module 1: Exploring the Solar System:

In this module, we look at how astronomers can draw conclusions about the size, distance, composition, and origins of planets and moons using only data collected at a distance.  Through an examination of the properties of solar system objects, such as planets, moon, and comets, participants will come away with a better understanding of how scientists explore these distant worlds and fragments, how they are classified, and how our classification has evolved as new technology allows for more detailed observations.

Appropriate for teaching grade levels 3-12.


Dates: August 25 - September 25, 2020

Times: Four live webinars on Tuesdays (September 1, 8, 15, and 22), 4-5pm Pacific Time (7-8pm Eastern)

NGSS focus:

MS-ESS1-3: Analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system.

Details: Each module lasts five consecutive weeks, with 1-hour webinars offered weekly for four of these weeks.  Each module includes a Materials Kit that will be shipped directly to you at the Shipping Address you provide during Checkout. Please note: Shipping is included for the Continental U.S. If your ship-to address is Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, or International, we will contact you with the additional shipping fees.

Before the first and between the webinar sessions, you’ll engage in activities on your own time, including posting ideas and opinions in an online forum and engaging in assignments and activities related to the content.  You’ll also get a chance to try out the activities with your classes between the webinars and share your experiences.

Academic credits: Up to two semester units of academic credit available through The University of the Pacific for participants completing all six modules.  Those completing three modules are eligible for one semester unit of academic credit.


Module 2: From Pinholes to Space Telescopes

In this module, we will examine the importance of pinholes and lenses in optical systems. Scaffolded explorations of the properties of both light and lenses will help develop a more complete understanding, culminating in the construction of a simple refracting telescope.

Appropriate for teaching grade levels 3-12.


Dates: October 6 - November 5, 2020

Times: Four live sessions on Tuesdays (October 13, 20, 27, and November 3), 4-5pm Pacific Time (7-8pm Eastern)

NGSS focus:

4-PS4-2: Develop a model to describe that light reflecting from objects and entering the eye allows objects to be seen.

MS-PS4-2: Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials.

Details: Each module lasts five consecutive weeks, with 1-hour webinars offered weekly for four of these weeks.  Each module includes a Materials Kit that will be shipped directly to you at the Shipping Address you provide during Checkout. Please note: Shipping is included for the Continental U.S. If your ship-to address is Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, or International, we will contact you with the additional shipping fees.

Before the first and between the webinar sessions, you’ll engage in activities on your own time, including posting ideas and opinions in an online forum and engaging in assignments and activities related to the content.  You’ll also get a chance to try out the activities with your classes between the webinars and share your experiences.

Academic credits: Up to two semester units of academic credit available through The University of the Pacific for participants completing all six modules.  Those completing three modules are eligible for one semester unit of academic credit.


Module 3: Romancing the Moon

Of all the phenomena associated with the Moon,solar eclipses are the most rare.  On August 21, 2017, the Moon passed directly in front of the Sun, a phenomenon viewable throughout the country!  While the path of the total solar eclipse passed through many states coast to coast, the rest of the country was able to view a partial solar eclipse.  Lunar eclipses, while also relatively rare, are viewable over a much wider area.  Why is that?

In this module, you’ll learn how you can take advantage of these spectacular teachable moments, and engage your class and community in investigating and experiencing eclipses, and other phenomena associated with the Moon.

Workshop sessions will actively engage participants in an NGSS storyline approach to understanding the how and why of both solar and lunar eclipses.  Scaling and modeling the Sun-Earth-Moon system is essential to an understanding of many of these phenomena.


Dates: November 17 - December 18, 2020

Times: Four live sessions on Tuesdays (November 24, December 1, 8, and 15), 4-5pm Pacific Time (7-8pm Eastern)

NGSS focus:

1-ESS1-1: Use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted.

5-ESS1-2: Represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky.

MS-ESS1-1: Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, and seasons.

Details: Each module lasts five consecutive weeks, with 1-hour webinars offered weekly for four of these weeks.  Each module includes a Materials Kit that will be shipped directly to you at the Shipping Address you provide during Checkout. Please note: Shipping is included for the Continental U.S. If your ship-to address is Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, or International, we will contact you with the additional shipping fees.

Before the first and between the webinar sessions, you’ll engage in activities on your own time, including posting ideas and opinions in an online forum and engaging in assignments and activities related to the content.  You’ll also get a chance to try out the activities with your classes between the webinars and share your experiences.

Academic credits: Up to two semester units of academic credit available through The University of the Pacific for participants completing all six modules.  Those completing three modules are eligible for one semester unit of academic credit.


2 Module Options:

Other Savings Module Options:

Module 1,2 - Module 1,3 - Module 2,3