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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Astronomy 101 Competencies

Page address: http://cset.mnsu.edu/pa/ugrad/a101comp.html

Astronomy-related Competencies for the
Minnesota Board of Teaching's Rules
Relating to Teacher Licensing:
Astronomy 101: Introduction to Astronomy – 3 cr

In 1999, the Minnesota Board of Teaching adopted a new set of rules relating to teacher licensure in Minnesota, effective September 1, 2001. Licensure in each teaching area is now linked to a set of competencies, which must be addressed in the courses taken by teaching majors. This page presents the astronomy-related competencies covered by Astronomy 101: Introduction to Astronomy at Minnesota State University, Mankato, along with a typical course outline.

Astronomy 101: Typical Course Outline

Week Topics Competencies
#1 The celestial sphere and diurnal motion none
#2 Earth's revolution and seasons 8710.4750/3/D/1/c/iv
#3 Moon phases, tides and eclipses 8710.4750/5/B/5/e
8710.4750/5/B/5/f
#4 Light and telescopes none
#5 Atoms and stellar spectra 8710.4750/5/B/4/c
8710.4750/5/B/4/h
#6 Stellar distances and magnitudes 8710.4750/5/B/4/g
#7 Binary stars and stellar masses none
#8 Interstellar medium and star formation none
#9 Stellar structure 8710.4750/3/D/3/e/ix
8710.4750/5/B/4/f
#10 Stellar evolution 8710.4750/5/B/4/d
8710.4750/5/B/4/e
8710.4750/5/B/4/f
#11 The Milky Way 8710.4750/5/B/4/a
#12 Galaxies 8710.4750/3/D/1/c/i
8710.4750/5/B/4/a
8710.4750/5/B/4/g
#13 Active galaxies 8710.4750/3/D/1/c/i
8710.4750/5/B/4/a
#14 Cosmology 8710.4750/3/D/1/c/i
8710.4750/5/B/4/b
#15 Solar system overview none

The Astronomy-related Competencies for Astronomy 101:

8710.4750 TEACHERS OF SCIENCE

Subp. 3. Subject matter standards for science in grades five through eight. A candidate for licensure as a teacher of science in grades 5 through 8 must complete a preparation program under subpart 2, item C, that must include the candidate's demonstration of the knowledge and skills in items A to E.
D. A teacher of science must be able to understand and apply fundamental principles, laws, and concepts of earth and space science, life science, and physical science. The teacher of science must:
(1) know and apply the fundamental principles, laws and concepts of earth and space science including understanding:
(c) the Earth in the solar system and the universe as evidenced by the ability to:
i. explain how the properties and organization of galaxies provide evidence that the universe is continuously changing; 8710.4750/3/D/1/c/i – Weeks #12, #13, #14
iv. explain qualitatively, using Earth's axial rotation, tilt of its rotational axis, and changing position with respect to the sun, the seasonal variations in the length of a day and sun angle at various latitudes on Earth; 8710.4750/3/D/1/c/iv – Week #2
(3) know and apply the fundamental principles, laws, and concepts of the physical sciences including understanding:
(e) the properties and structure of matter as evidenced by the ability to:
ix. describe, in words and diagrams using conservation of mass and energy, the changes in matter and energy that occur in the nuclear processes of radioactive decay, fission, and fusion; 8710.4750/3/D/3/e/ix – Week #9
Subp. 5. Subject matter standards for teachers of earth and space science. A candidate for licensure as a teacher of earth and space science in grades 9 through 12 must complete a preparation program under subpart 2, item C, that must include the candidate's demonstration of the knowledge and skills in items A to C.
B. A teacher must demonstrate knowledge of earth and space science concepts. The teacher must:
(4) understand the origin and evolution of the universe as evidenced by the ability to:
(a) describe, using words, drawings, and graphs, the properties of a given galaxy; 8710.4750/5/B/4/a – Weeks #11, #12, #13
(b) explain, using the observed distribution of structural types, the relationship between astronomical distances and age, and the Big Bang theory, how differences in the composition and types of galaxies and the organization of galaxies into systems lead us to conclude that the universe is continuously changing; 8710.4750/5/B/4/b – Week #14
(c) perform measurements to describe the spectral distribution of light from a given star; 8710.4750/5/B/4/c – Week #5
(d) explain and predict, using the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram, distance to the star, and stellar models, the changes in mass, luminosity, and size of a given star as it evolves from birth to death; 8710.4750/5/B/4/d – Week #10
(e) explain, using models of stellar evolution, how stars die and become neutron stars and black holes; 8710.4750/5/B/4/e – Week #10
(f) explain, using theories for nuclear stabilities and nuclear reactions, how elements can be formed in stars and novae; 8710.4750/5/B/4/f – Weeks #9, #10
(g) describe, using words, pictures, diagrams, and mathematical relationships, the distance over which a given astronomical distance scale is accurate; 8710.4750/5/B/4/g – Weeks #6, #12 and
(h) explain, using blackbody radiation and quantization of energy levels, how to determine the temperature and elemental composition of a stellar object from its spectral signature; 8710.4750/5/B/4/h – Week #5
(5) understand the Earth in the solar system as evidenced by the ability to:
(e) explain, using Newton's laws of motion and gravitation and relative orbital positions, the origin of oceanic tides on the Earth; 8710.4750/5/B/5/e – Week #3 and
(f) design a physical solar-planetary model to demonstrate eclipses and lunar phases; 8710.4750/5/B/5/f – Week #3