This unit is written for high school self-contained special education students. These students cannot participate in mainstream science courses for a variety of reasons. Most of my students have severe learning disabilities and read significantly below grade level. Their knowledge of Astronomy is extremely limited. Basic Astronomy concepts must be introduced during this unit and reviewed throughout the unit in order for the learning disabled student to internalize the main ideas.
The narrative information I included in this paper should be used as a guide, to be modified depending on the varying academic levels of your students. My main goal is to use the student's enthusiasm and curiosity for Astronomy to practice and refine their critical thinking skills. These essential skills will be needed long after they have graduated from high school.
Students will be given time during this unit to do independent research in the areas of Astronomy that they find most interesting. This will allow each student to work at his or her own academic level on a topic they have chosen for themselves, making them more responsible for their own learning. At the end of the unit, students will present their research projects to their classmates, giving the students a chance to learn from their peers as well as an opportunity for the teacher to assess the students understanding of the material presented and researched.
To develop an understanding of the formation of the Universe and the Solar System.
To identify Earth's characteristics that enable it to sustain human life.
To compare the Earth's characteristics to those of the other planets within our solar system.
To determine the feasibility of space travel beyond our solar system.
To develop an appreciation for our planet Earth's resources and unique ability to sustain human life, and an understanding of the need for responsible stewardship toward our planet.