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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Astronomy Competencies

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

Astronomy-related Competencies for the
Minnesota Board of Teaching's Rules
Relating to Teacher Licensing

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 all of the astronomy-related competencies within the new rules.

Courses at Minnesota State University, Mankato that cover specific competencies are shown in parentheses:

  • A101 = Astronomy 101: Introduction to Astronomy – 3 cr
  • G305 = Geology 305: Earth Science for Elementary Educators – 2 cr
  • G310 = Geology 310: Earth and Space Systems – 3 cr

The Astronomy-related Competencies:

8710.3200 TEACHERS OF ELEMENTARY EDUCATION WITH A SPECIALTY

Subp. 3. Subject matter standards, elementary education. A candidate must complete a preparation program for licensure under subpart 2, item C, that must include the candidate's demonstration of the knowledge and skills in items A to G and in at least one of subpart 4, items A to F.
E. A teacher of children in kindergarten through grade 6 must demonstrate a fundamental knowledge of scientific perspectives, scientific connections, science in personal and social perspectives, the domains of science, and the methods and materials for teaching science and scientific inquiry. The teacher must:
(7) know and apply the fundamental concepts and principles of earth and space science concerning properties of earth materials; objects in the sky; changes in earth and sky; structure of the earth system, including hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere, and lithosphere; history of the earth; and earth in the solar system; (G305)

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; (A101)
ii. explain qualitatively, using fundamental processes of chemical, physical, and geological change, how processes of change on a given solar system object are different or similar to Earth; (G310)
iii. describe, using words, diagrams, and physical models, the motion of objects in our solar system; (G310) and
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; (A101)
(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; (A101)
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; (A101)
(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; (A101)
(c) perform measurements to describe the spectral distribution of light from a given star; (A101)
(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; (A101)
(e) explain, using models of stellar evolution, how stars die and become neutron stars and black holes; (A101)
(f) explain, using theories for nuclear stabilities and nuclear reactions, how elements can be formed in stars and novae; (A101)
(g) describe, using words, pictures, diagrams, and mathematical relationships, the distance over which a given astronomical distance scale is accurate; (A101) 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; (A101)
(5) understand the Earth in the solar system as evidenced by the ability to:
(a) describe, with words, chemical formulas, drawings, scaled diagrams, and numerical orders of magnitude, the mass, size, and composition for a given solar system object; (G310)
(b) explain and predict, using geologic and climatic stability, availability of nutrients, and atmospheric parameters, the suitability for life for a given planetary description; (G310)
(c) explain and predict quantitatively and qualitatively, using Newton's laws of motions and gravitation and conservation of momentum, the motion of the bodies of a given solar system; (G310)
(d) explain, with words, diagrams, and models using orbital paths and relative sizes of solar system objects, the locationally dependent observation of solar and lunar eclipses and phases of the moon for a given simple solar system; (G310)
(e) explain, using Newton's laws of motion and gravitation and relative orbital positions, the origin of oceanic tides on the Earth; (A101) and
(f) design a physical solar-planetary model to demonstrate eclipses and lunar phases; (A101)