Astronomy Syllabus

Valencia High School

Astronomy Course Syllabus

Mr. Davis                                                                                          Room 812

Phone – (661) 294-1188 ext: 812                         E-mail:

Welcome to my Astronomy classroom!  I am very pleased and excited about having you in my class this year. Through the process of lectures, labs/demonstrations, activities, videos, and class discussion, you will learn about the origin of modern astronomical theory, the Milky Way, constellations, lunar cycles, star light, and the Sun (1st half of the semester).  During the second half of the semester, we will focus on either our solar system and planets, galaxies and the universe, or stellar evolution. Below, I have outlined crucial information about the class dynamics and my expectations.  By signing this class contract, you acknowledge your value as a member of this class and accept the responsibilities of being a member.  I look forward to getting to know you this semester and hope you will find Astronomy to be a challenging but rewarding experience.

 Daily Routines

·         Class will begin as soon as the bell rings.

·         Write down your homework assignment as soon as you sit down.

·         Silently begin the warm-up/quiz that is written on the board or overhead.

·         Lecture notes are taken Cornell style, including 3 questions and 2 summary sentences per page (a page is considered one side of a piece of paper, so each sheet has two pages).

·         Class participation during discussion and lecture is required.

·         Please remember that the bell does not dismiss you, I do!

 Class Rules

·         Be prepared, seated, and ready to work when the bell rings.

·         Only drinks with a lid are allowed and any spills must be cleaned up immediately or this could result in the privilege being taken away.

·         Be respectful towards all member of the class.

·         Do not use any distracting objects in class (cell phones, i-pods, grooming objects, etc.).

·         Cell phones will be confiscated and can be picked up at the office.

·         Clean up your area before leaving each day.

·         Please bring required materials each day.

 Textbook and Materials

The textbook used is Foundations of Astronomy, the ninth edition. This book is a college level textbook and is written at a higher level than most high school textbooks.  Make sure you take your time and read carefully to make sure you understand the concepts.  If you have any questions, please ask me before or after class.  If you lose the book or would like to purchase a copy for home, please contact me and I will help you arrange the purchase.     

 Please bring the following materials to class everyday:

·         Pencil and pen.

·         Lined paper.

·         Notebook for organizing class materials / handouts.

Homework and Test Policy

Homework is an extension of concepts and theories discussed in the classroom and is essential to your success.  Be sure to keep up with the work because it represents a considerable portion of your overall grade.

·         Homework is due the NEXT day at the beginning of class.

·         Late work turned in within the first week after the due date will be deducted by 25%.  If work is turned in after the first week past the due date, points will be deducted by 50%.  Please make sure that you get your homework in on time.  Late homework will only be accepted two weeks past the original due, after which it will result in a permanent zero for that assignment. 

·         Remember, it is your responsibility to make sure you get the missed homework assignments.  In accordance with District policy, students will be allowed to complete assignments missed from an excused absence. For example, if a student is sick (1) day, they will be given (1) additional day to complete any missing work.

·         Test Make-Ups:  You will have one week after the test date to make-up any missed test.  Please remember, in order to make-up a test you must have an excused absences for that day.  An unexcused absence on a test day will result in a zero for that test.

·         Test Retakes:  If you score below a 60% on a test, you will be allowed to retake a different version of the test within one week after the day it was given.  But, keep in mind that the score you receive on the retake will replace your original score, even if you score less.  The highest score you can receive on a retake is 75%. 

 Grading Policy

·         Grades are earned on a system of point accumulation based on quizzes/warm-ups, homework/projects, labs, tests, and class participation.  The grading scale will be as follows:


100-94% of total possible points        = A                  77-74% = C

            93-90%                                                = A-                 73-70% = C-

            89-88%                                                = B+                69-68% = D+

            87-84%                                                = B                  67-64% = D

            83-80%                                                = B-                 63-60% = D-

            79-78%                                                = C+                59%-0% =Fail

 Academic Integrity

The Valencia High School Science Department’s Academic Integrity policy is consistent with the William S. Hart Union High School District Board Policy based on Education Code 44806. 

 Attendance Policy

Daily attendance is very important to your success in class.  The school’s attendance and tardy policy will be in effect in this class.  Please remember, per school policy, any student absent 15 days or more (excused or unexcused) may receive a failing grade.  If you think you will be out more than 15 days, please contact me to discuss the situation. 

 Teacher Contact Information and Conference Period

·         My conference period during the day is Period 5. 

·         You may reach me by phone by dialing (661) 294-1188 ext. 812 or by email at:  Email is probably the fastest way to contact me. 

·         The class webpage is