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Sun and Moon
Solar System
Stella Evolution
Black Holes

SES4U                         Course Outline                                  Sept  2012


Curriculum:         The Ontario Curriculum Grades 11 and 12: Science (2008)


[click logo to see curriculum guide]  


Text:                       Astronomy a Visual Guide, Firefly


This course broadens students’ understanding of mathematics as it relates to managing information. Students will apply methods for organizing large amounts of information; apply counting techniques, probability, and statistics in modeling and solving problems; and carry out a culminating project that integrates the expectations of the course and encourages perseverance and independence. Students planning to pursue university programs in physics, the astronomy, or engineering will find this course of particular interest.

This course will emphasize the scientific approach to data management and analysis. The topic of astronomy will be the underlying theme to demonstrate the analysis procedures. The Units below will not be covered in any specific order. As we discuss a topic, visit the appropriate unit below for more information.


Evaluation:        70% is based on tests, quizzes, assignments

                           30% is based on the summative project and June Exam.


1. Excel Tutorial website  
2. The Star Gazer web site

Auroramax website: live video link

4. Sky and Telescope Magazine
5. Astronomy Magazine
6. Zooniverse
7. Space



1. Star Hopping 
2. Constellation Aid
3 Star Hopping Power Point
4. RASC Certificate Introduction (Explore the Universe)

RASC Certificate Record Sheet (Explore the Universe)

6. Constellation Form




1.     Title and course info:

Waterloo Collegiate Institute – Science Department

SES4UI-01, Period E, Room 416, Mr. Burns

Contact Info:, Science Teacher Prep Room Rm 202 Period C/G/H


2.        Course Description:


This course provides an investigation of the Earth, Solar System, Galaxies, and the Universe from both geological and astronomical points of view. The duplication of the processes our ancestors used in discovering our place in the universe will provide you with strong foundation in the scientific method, while at the same time opening your eyes to the wonders yet to be discovered. The latest discovered in the field of astronomy will be examined, and a hands on approach to the actual tools astronomers use will be applied. By the end of the course you will have an understanding of the night sky that will last you a lifetime.

 Prerequisite: Science 10 (SNC2D)

From: The Ontario Curriculum Grade 11 and 12 Science (Revised 2008), p. 194


                    The Cosmos – astronomy in the New Millennium , Ales Fillippenko, ISBN 0-495-01303-X

                    Astronomy a Self-Teaching Guide, Dinah, Moche, ISBN 978-0-470-23083-1

As indicated in the Student Handbook a fee of $10 for laboratory enhancements will be collected at the beginning of this course. This fee has been reviewed and approved by the WCI Administration in June 2009.

3.        Overall Expectations -


Overall Expectations: (Ontario Curriculum Grades 10 and 12 Science)


A.   Scientific Investigation Skills and Career Exploration

Throughout this course, students will:

1.       Demonstrate scientific investigation skills (related to both inquiry and research) in the four areas of skills (initiating and planning, performing and recording, analysing and interpreting, and communicating);

2.       identify and describe a variety of careers related to the fields of science under study, and identify scientists, including Canadians, who have made contributions to those fields.


B.       Our Place in the Solar system

By the end of this course, students will:  

1.       Analyse techniques that allowed our ancestors to discover the location of Earth and the place it holds within our Solar system.

2.       Investigate, in qualitative and quantitative terms, the techniques used in solidifying their understanding of the movements of the celestial object in the sky, and what role Earth has in these movements.

3.       Demonstrate an understanding of the techniques used by our ancestors in discovering our Place in the Solar system


C.        Tools of the Trade

By the end of this course, students will:

1.       Be able to demonstrate and implement a variety of tools astronomers use to analyse the universe. Students will have experience a hands on approach to these tools

 2.      Investigate, in qualitative and quantitative terms, through laboratory inquiry or computer simulation, actual data provided by astronomers.

3.       Apply the tools to collect and analyse e their own data; including image acquisition from a variety of platforms.

4.       Discover though a geological approach the structure of Earth and how it compares to the geology of the other planets in the Solar System

5.       Comparing and contrasting how Geology of the Earth and the other Solar System objects fine tunes our understanding of the formation and evolution of our Solar System.


D.       Our Place in the Universe

By the end of this course, students will:

1.       Analyse techniques that allowed our scientists to discover the size and structure of our universe.;

2.       investigate, in quantitative terms, the techniques used in determining the size and dynamic structure of the Universe;

3.       Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts, properties, principles, and laws related to the structure of the Universe and the modern tools used to investigate these;


E.        The Life and Death of Stars

By the end of this course, students will:

1.       Analyse the techniques used by Astronomers to discover that the stars of the Universe have a life cycle;

2.       investigate how the mass of a star determines its final state; with specific emphasis on White Dwarfs, Newton Stars, Black holes and Super Nova.

3.       Demonstrate an understanding, through actual stellar data,  of the Hertzsprung–Russell Diagram and its role in understanding stellar dynamics.


F.        Revolutions in Modern Cosmology

By the end of this course, students will:

1.         analyse, with reference to quantum mechanics and relativity, how the introduction of new conceptual models and theories can influence and/or change scientific thought and lead to the development of new technologies;

2.         investigate special relativity and quantum mechanics, and solve related problems;

3.          Demonstrate an understanding of the evidence that supports the basic concepts of quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of special relativity.



4.       Units:


Unit 1

Earth and our Solar system



·ShadowLand Part Deux

·Distance to the Sun

·Communication Time to the Planets

Unit Test

22 Hours

Unit 2

Our Galaxy


·         How Bright is that Star

·         Parallax a measurement tool


Unit Test

22 hours

Unit 3

The Universe


·         The 3D Universe

·         Andromeda Nebula becomes a Galaxy

·         Astrophotography

·         Image analysis and Data Reduction

Unit test

22 hours

Unit 4

Death of Stars from White Dwarf s to Black holes


·         Hubble’s Law

·         Hertzsprung Russell Diagram

·         Binary Stars and Stella Masses


Unit Test

22 hours

Unit 5

Big Bang, Dark Energy, Dark Matter


·         Summative Lab from SDSS

Unit Test

22 hours


5.       Course Evaluation:

 “The SES4UI course will be evaluated based on term work worth 70% of your final report grade and the components of the final evaluation are worth 30% of your final grade.  Term work includes; tests, quizzes, assignments, lab reports.  Our final evaluation will be composed of a final exam.”

The final grade will be determined as follows:



Knowledge and Understanding



Thinking and Investigation                         

June Examination/Summative                                         









6.       Late Work Policy:


At WCI is the expectation that students will submit all required work by the assigned due date as evidence of their learning.  Students who fail to meet a due date for an essential course component will be subject to the completion policy found the student planner. Failure to submit this work, despite these interventions, will be recorded as incomplete and may result in a loss of credit.”


7.       Cheating/Plagiarism Policy :


At WCI it is the expectation that students will submit their own original work for the purpose of demonstrating their learning.  In the event that cheating or plagiarism occurs, the following              consequences may be implemented, in consultation with administration, depending on the     situation:

·         The student may be required to redo all or part of the assignment or assessment.

·         The student may be required to complete an alternate assignment of assessment.

·         The student’s work may be treated as a missed assignment.

·         There may be other consequences that are determined to be appropriate, including disciplinary consequences as outlined in the Cheating/Plagiarism section of the student planner.”


8.       Learning Skills :


The development of learning skills and work habits is an integral part of a student’s learning.  The achievement of these skills is officially reported on the Provincial Report Card.  The evaluation of learning skills and work habits is reported as follows: E-Excellent, G-Good, S-Satisfactory, and N-Needs Improvement.  For a full description of the 6 Learning Skills; Responsibility, Organization, Independent Work, Collaboration, Initiative, and Self-Regulation, please see the WCI Student Planner.”




Independent Work





·      Do you complete and submit all your class work and assignments on time?

·      Do you allow other students to complete their work during class time?

·      Do you come to class on time?

·      Do you contribute positively to class discussions?

·      Do you respect other students in the class and their opinions?

·      Do you come to class prepared with the proper learning supplies?

·      Do you complete any missed assignments if you were absent?

·      Do you raise your hand when answering a question?

·      Do you AVOID listening to your iPod and NEVER use your cell phone in class?



·      Do you keep a neat and organized binder?

·      Do you organize and manage your time outside of class to complete your work?

·      Do you use class time appropriately to complete your work?

·      Do you complete your assignments with care and submit them neatly to your teacher?

·      Do you use a planner or any other organizational tool to keep track of due dates and upcoming tests?



·      Do you work quietly and independently during class when required?

·      Do you work right to the end of the period on your own when asked?

·      Can you work well on your own with minimal assistance and supervision?

·      Do you stay in your seat until the bell rings at the end of the class?

·      When at home do you limit distractions (computer, TV, cell phone, etc.) to maximize your productivity?


·      Do you contribute an equal and fair amount of work to group activities?

·      Do you listen and respect the ideas, opinions, values and traditions of other group members?

·      Do you work with others to resolve conflicts within your group?

·      Do you contribute positively to the group goals?

·      Do you cooperate and work efficiently with your lab partner?

·      Do you and your partner cooperate and work QUIETLY during lab activities?

·      Do you and your partner work together to ensure you adhere to all lab safety rules?


·      Do you look for new ways to learn and solve problems?

·      Do you approach new tasks with a positive attitude?

·      Do you try to solve problems on your own before asking for help?

·      Do you seek assistance from your teacher when required?

·      Do you seek out different resources and materials to assist with your learning?

·      Do you require little prompting to complete a task?

·      Are you self-motivated?


·      Did you set a goal for this course and have made an effort to achieve this goal?

·      Have you looked for clarification and assistance when needed?

·      Have you taken responsibility for your own learning?

·      Have you looked at your strengths and weaknesses and made an effort to improve your weaknesses?

□ E    □ G    □ S    □ N

□ E    □ G    □ S    □ N

□ E    □ G    □ S    □ N

□ E    □ G    □ S    □ N

□ E    □ G    □ S    □ N

□ E    □ G    □ S    □ N