“I took this class because I wanted to learn more about the stars. Well, I learned a lot more than that! I would love to participate in another program, and I felt like everyone in the class was awesome and kind, especially the teacher!” ~Student M.M.

    Enrollment Options


    InstructorProf. Becky Mentzer Riethmeier
    Content LevelsGrades 5-6 • Upper Elementary
    Grades 6-7 • Middle School
    Course Length16 Weeks
    Live Webinars Held OnMondays, 1:00 - 1:50 PM Pacific - 8/15/22 - 12/17/22

    Humans have been looking up at the sky and wondering about it since time immemorial. In Astronomy, students explore the cosmos from their own backyard.

    In this branch of science, we study our close astronomical neighbors, like the sun, moon, planets, asteroids, comets and meteors. We can also explore distant astronomical phenomena like the stars, faraway galaxies, and black holes. Students learn about humans’ exploration of space, ancient astronomers, the tools we use to study astronomy, and what the chances are of life on other planets.

    Special attention is given to current topics like the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, the latest plans for colonies on Mars, and what’s happening on the International Space Station. Students are encouraged to learn about the space topics that interest them, and share their research with the class.

    Astronomy is out of this world!

    Student testimonial: 

    Note to Parents: 

    • As with all the courses at Athena’s, this course is presented from a secular standpoint.

    What to expect in the Required section in the classroom each week:

    • Complete a reading from the textbook (approximately 3 sections a week) or a related website.
    • Participate in a weekly forum, either sharing their reflections from the reading, or answering questions about it.
    • Complete an experiment from the lab workbook, or another experiment recommended by the instructor.
    • Complete an additional important activity. This may be a video, interactive website, or additional reading.

    What to expect in the Highly Suggested & Optional sections in the classroom each week:

    • Curated resources, including websites & videos, are provided to excite learners and to add depth to the subject matter.
    • Biweekly Minecraft™ activities.
    • Our last week is “student presentation week” where students learn about an Astronomical topic and teach their classmates about it!

    What to expect during the weekly webinar:

    • Weekly webinars are 50 minutes long. Webinars are recorded and are available for students with schedule conflicts.
    • Primary instruction and guided discussions are provided during live webinars.
    • Active Participation (via the microphone and chat) in online class discussions.

    Before taking this course, students should be able to: 

    • Read at a solid 6th-grade level or above.
    • Write a paragraph independently.

    Students should be willing to:

    • Actively participate (via the microphone) in the class discussion.
    • Encourage class discussion by adding their questions/ideas in the chat window during the webinar.
    • Respond with positive and encouraging comments on their classmates’ posts in the classroom forums.

    Required books & materials:

    • Focus on Middle School Astronomy 3rd Edition (2019) Student Textbook by Rebecca W. Keller, Ph.D.
      ISBN: 978-1941181454
    • Focus on Middle School Astronomy 3rd Edition (2019) Student Workbook by Rebecca W. Keller, Ph.D.
      ISBN: 978-1941181461
    • Publisher: