<<Prev Rule

Texas Administrative Code

Next Rule>>
RULE §112.48Astronomy, Adopted 2021 (One Credit)

(a) General requirements. Students shall be awarded one credit for successful completion of this course. Prerequisites: Algebra I and Integrated Physics and Chemistry or Chemistry.

(b) Introduction.

  (1) Astronomy. In Astronomy, students focus on patterns, processes, and relationships among astronomical objects in our universe. Students acquire basic astronomical knowledge and supporting evidence about sun-Earth-Moon relationships, the solar system, the Milky Way, the size and scale of the universe, and the benefits and limitations of exploration. Students conduct laboratory and field investigations to support their developing conceptual framework of our place in space and time. By the end of Grade 12, students are expected to gain sufficient knowledge of the scientific and engineering practices across the disciplines of science to make informed decisions using critical thinking and scientific problem solving.

  (2) Nature of science. Science, as defined by the National Academy of Sciences, is the "use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena, as well as the knowledge generated through this process." This vast body of changing and increasing knowledge is described by physical, mathematical, and conceptual models. Students should know that some questions are outside the realm of science because they deal with phenomena that are not scientifically testable.

  (3) Scientific hypotheses and theories. Students are expected to know that:

    (A) hypotheses are tentative and testable statements that must be capable of being supported or not supported by observational evidence. Hypotheses of durable explanatory power that have been tested over a wide variety of conditions are incorporated into theories; and

    (B) scientific theories are based on natural and physical phenomena and are capable of being tested by multiple independent researchers. Unlike hypotheses, scientific theories are well established and highly reliable explanations, but they may be subject to change as new areas of science and new technologies are developed.

  (4) Scientific inquiry. Scientific inquiry is the planned and deliberate investigation of the natural world using scientific and engineering practices. Scientific methods of investigation are descriptive, comparative, or experimental. The method chosen should be appropriate to the question being asked. Student learning for different types of investigations include descriptive investigations, which involve collecting data and recording observations without making comparisons; comparative investigations, which involve collecting data with variables that are manipulated to compare results; and experimental investigations, which involve processes similar to comparative investigations but in which a control is identified.

    (A) Scientific practices. Students should be able to ask questions, plan and conduct investigations to answer questions, and explain phenomena using appropriate tools and models.

    (B) Engineering practices. Students should be able to identify problems and design solutions using appropriate tools and models.

  (5) Science and social ethics. Scientific decision making is a way of answering questions about the natural world involving its own set of ethical standards about how the process of science should be carried out. Students should be able to distinguish between scientific decision-making methods (scientific methods) and ethical and social decisions that involve science (the application of scientific information).

  (6) Science consists of recurring themes and making connections between overarching concepts. Recurring themes include systems, models, and patterns. All systems have basic properties that can be described in space, time, energy, and matter. Change and constancy occur in systems as patterns and can be observed, measured, and modeled. These patterns help to make predictions that can be scientifically tested, while models allow for boundary specification and provide tools for understanding the ideas presented. Students should analyze a system in terms of its components and how these components relate to each other, to the whole, and to the external environment.

  (7) Statements containing the word "including" reference content that must be mastered, while those containing the phrase "such as" are intended as possible illustrative examples.

(c) Knowledge and skills.

  (1) Scientific and engineering practices. The student, for at least 40% of instructional time, asks questions, identifies problems, and plans and safely conducts classroom, laboratory, and field investigations to explain phenomena or design solutions using appropriate tools and models. The student is expected to:

    (A) ask questions and define problems based on observations or information from text, phenomena, models, or investigations;

    (B) apply scientific practices to plan and conduct descriptive, comparative, and experimental investigations and use engineering practices to design solutions to problems;

    (C) use appropriate safety equipment and practices during laboratory, classroom, and field investigations as outlined in Texas Education Agency-approved safety standards;

    (D) use appropriate tools such as gnomons; sundials; Planisphere; star charts; globe of the Earth; diffraction gratings; spectroscopes; color filters; lenses of multiple focal lengths; concave, plane, and convex mirrors; binoculars; telescopes; celestial sphere; online astronomical databases; and online access to observatories;

    (E) collect quantitative data using the International System of Units (SI) and qualitative data as evidence;

    (F) organize quantitative and qualitative data using graphs, charts, spreadsheets, and computer software;

    (G) develop and use models to represent phenomena, systems, processes, or solutions to engineering problems; and

    (H) distinguish between scientific hypotheses, theories, and laws.

  (2) Scientific and engineering practices. The student analyzes and interprets data to derive meaning, identify features and patterns, and discover relationships or correlations to develop evidence-based arguments or evaluate designs. The student is expected to:

    (A) identify advantages and limitations of models such as their size, scale, properties, and materials;

    (B) analyze data by identifying significant statistical features, patterns, sources of error, and limitations;

    (C) use mathematical calculations to assess quantitative relationships in data; and

    (D) evaluate experimental and engineering designs.

  (3) Scientific and engineering practices. The student develops evidence-based explanations and communicates findings, conclusions, and proposed solutions. The student is expected to:

    (A) develop explanations and propose solutions supported by data and models consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories;

    (B) communicate explanations and solutions individually and collaboratively in a variety of settings and formats; and

    (C) engage respectfully in scientific argumentation using applied scientific explanations and empirical evidence.

  (4) Scientific and engineering practices. The student knows the contributions of scientists and recognizes the importance of scientific research and innovation on society. The student is expected to:

    (A) analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations and solutions by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student;

    (B) relate the impact of past and current research on scientific thought and society, including research methodology, cost-benefit analysis, and contributions of diverse scientists as related to the content; and

    (C) research and explore resources such as museums, planetariums, observatories, libraries, professional organizations, private companies, online platforms, and mentors employed in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field in order to investigate STEM careers.

  (5) Science concepts. The student understands how astronomy influenced and advanced civilizations. The student is expected to:

    (A) evaluate and communicate how ancient civilizations developed models of the universe using astronomical structures, instruments, and tools such as the astrolabe, gnomons, and charts and how those models influenced society, time keeping, and navigation;

    (B) research and evaluate the contributions of scientists, including Ptolemy, Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton, as astronomy progressed from a geocentric model to a heliocentric model; and

    (C) describe and explain the historical origins of the perceived patterns of constellations and the role of constellations in ancient and modern navigation.

  (6) Science concepts. The student conducts and explains astronomical observations made from the point of reference of Earth. The student is expected to:

    (A) observe, record, and analyze the apparent movement of the Sun, Moon, and stars and predict sunrise and sunset;

    (B) observe the movement of planets throughout the year and measure how their positions change relative to the constellations;

    (C) identify constellations such as Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Orion, Cassiopeia, and constellations along the ecliptic and describe their importance; and

    (D) understand the difference between astronomy and astrology, the reasons for their historical conflation, and their eventual separation.

  (7) Science concepts. The student knows our relative place in the solar system. The student is expected to:

    (A) demonstrate the use of units of measurement in astronomy, including astronomical units and light years, minutes, and seconds;

    (B) model the scale, size, and distances of the Sun, Earth, and Moon system and identify the limitations of physical models; and

    (C) model the scale, sizes, and distances of the Sun and the planets in our solar system and identify the limitations of physical models.

  (8) Science concepts. The student observes and models the interactions within the Sun, Earth, and Moon system. The student is expected to:

    (A) model how the orbit and relative position of the Moon cause lunar phases and predict the timing of moonrise and moonset during each phase;

    (B) model how the orbit and relative position of the Moon cause lunar and solar eclipses; and

    (C) examine and investigate the dynamics of tides using the Sun, Earth, and Moon model.

  (9) Science concepts. The student models the cause of planetary seasons. The student is expected to:

    (A) examine the relationship of a planet's axial tilt to its potential seasons;

    (B) predict how changing latitudinal position affects the length of day and night throughout a planet's orbital year;

    (C) investigate the relationship between a planet's axial tilt, angle of incidence of sunlight, and concentration of solar energy; and

    (D) explain the significance of Earth's solstices and equinoxes.

  (10) Science concepts. The student knows how astronomical tools collect and record information about celestial objects. The student is expected to:

    (A) investigate the use of black body radiation curves and emission, absorption, and continuous spectra in the identification and classification of celestial objects;

    (B) calculate the relative light-gathering power of different-sized telescopes to compare telescopes for different applications;

    (C) analyze the importance and limitations of optical, infrared, and radio telescopes, gravitational wave detectors, and other ground-based technology; and

    (D) analyze the importance and limitations of space telescopes in the collection of astronomical data across the electromagnetic spectrum.

  (11) Science concepts. The student uses models to explain the formation, development, organization, and significance of solar system bodies. The student is expected to:

    (A) relate Newton's law of universal gravitation and Kepler's laws of planetary motion to the formation and motion of the planets and their satellites;

    (B) explore and communicate the origins and significance of planets, planetary rings, satellites, asteroids, comets, Oort cloud, and Kuiper belt objects;

    (C) compare the planets in terms of orbit, size, composition, rotation, atmosphere, natural satellites, magnetic fields, and geological activity; and

    (D) compare the factors essential to life on Earth such as temperature, water, gases, and gravitational and magnetic fields to conditions on other planets and their satellites.

  (12) Science concepts. The student knows that our Sun serves as a model for stellar activity. The student is expected to:

    (A) identify the approximate mass, size, motion, temperature, structure, and composition of the Sun;

    (B) distinguish between nuclear fusion and nuclear fission and identify the source of energy within the Sun as nuclear fusion of hydrogen to helium;

    (C) describe the eleven-year solar cycle and the significance of sunspots; and


Next Page

Link to Texas Secretary of State Home Page | link to Texas Register home page | link to Texas Administrative Code home page | link to Open Meetings home page