Subject Leader: Mr K Rogers

Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences and yet astronomers are continually visiting new worlds, discovering new elements to the solar system and exploring phenomena such as black holes, the Big Bang and life on Mars. It is dynamics such as these, that make the study of astronomy a stimulating experience for students.

GCSE Astronomy

With astronomy at the forefront of scientific discovery, the excitement and interest generated by this is also reflected in our GCSE Astronomy qualification. Students gain an understanding of several astronomy theories and practices. The history of astronomy and its cultural impacts are also explored. At the same time, students will improve their research and analytical skills, and develop an understanding of recent advances made within astronomy.

Structure

GCSE Astronomy offers a range of opportunities for students to develop their skills, particularly problem solving, application of numbers and ICT. It complements other science qualifications, especially Physics.

Course Content

The course consists of five units, which are split into smaller topics. They cover the following areas:

1. Planet Earth – the Earth, Days and seasons

2.The Moon and the Sun – the Moon, the Sun, Eclipses

3.The Solar System – planets and asteroids, meteors and comets

4. Stars and galaxies – constellations, stars, galaxies

5. Observing techniques and space exploration – observing the Universe, exploring the Universe

Assessment:

Students sit one external exam and submit two pieces of coursework. They also carry out practical coursework on a variety of different themes such as designing and making a simple telescope, creating a spreadsheet to plot an H-R diagram or observing three celestial objects using binoculars or a telescope.

  • One non-tiered 2-hour examination worth 75% of total GCSE

  • Internally assessed unit based on two observations of the night sky made by the student (one aided and one unaided) worth 25% of total GCSE