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Astronomy 101 – Thursday – Fall 2023 and Winter 2024 – 20 Weeks -Grades 8-12

Thursday, September 14 2023 @ 1:00PM Thursday, March 21 2024 @ 2:30PM EDT



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Thursday, September 14 2023 @ 1:00PM EDT
Thursday, March 21 2024 @ 2:30PM EDT
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Virtual (Jigsaw/Canvas)
+1 203 741 8570
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Learners who wish to study astronomy face challenges in a traditional classroom setting which prevent them from gaining a true appreciation of the subject. For starters, many courses lack engaging visual aids such as images, videos, or animations that can help learners to better their understanding of complex concepts. Additionally, some courses rely solely on textbooks which may not be updated frequently enough to reflect the latest scientific discoveries and research, which can make the information presented seem outdated. Furthermore, the terminology can be dense and technical, making it difficult for those learners with weaker reading skills to fully comprehend the material. This can make it harder for them to truly appreciate the subject, while engaging with the material and retaining the information presented.

Astronomy 101 is a 20-week high-school level course that provides learners with a comprehensive overview of the fundamental principles of astronomy. The course covers topics such as our solar system, stars, galaxies, the properties and behavior of light, as well as an history of astronomy and an introduction to cosmology, and how new technologies have made great strides in increasing our understanding of the universe as a whole. Furthermore, the course will introduce the learner to current topics and trends in astronomical research. 

This is a wide-ranging introduction to the study of astronomy. Through a combination of lectures, discussions, and hands-on activities, learners will gain a deeper understanding of the universe and our place in it. Additionally, learners will learn about telescopes and other equipment which will assist them in making their own astronomical observations. They will be encouraged to think critically about the scientific method and the nature of scientific inquiry. Participants will also learn how to take ‘mind-mapping notes’ as we study in order to better develop an understanding and retention of key concepts.

This class seeks to foster greater familiarity with and appreciation for the efforts of thosevisionaries who revolutionized our understanding of not only our world and the solar system, but the universe as a whole, and how they did so while taking on immense risks and challenges,  all in pursuit of never-before accomplished achievements.

There will be weekly mind-mapping exercises assigned to learners in this course, which will serve to summarize session content. This technique will be demonstrated in our first session. 

As noted above, there will be opportunities for students to observe astronomical phenomena throughout the course.

There will also be: 

  • a midterm exam
  • a final exam
  • a class project, to be completed and shared following the winter break

This class is worth one (1) high school credit in a non-lab science or elective.

NOTE: This class must reach the minimum of five students by August 20th to run. If we do not reach this minimum, parents will be notified via email.

Rated 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 stars (based on 27 reviews)

Learning to love the past

Rated 5 out of 5

History. This was definitely not my strongest area as a homeschool mother. I knew to provide my kids with what they needed, I had to look at outside resources. Taking a leap of faith, I registered both my 7th and 8th grader for U.S. History with Jonathan Meola.

Learning history through simple short stories using. “A History of US,” has been fun to read-a-loud. With a subject I once disliked myself, I’ve been able to power through, and engage with my children learning to love the past. Mr. Meola is a phenomenally fair instructor, and has allowed our kids to use their creativity for the semester project. The kids have enjoyed this area most about the class. Seeing their creations from the past come to life is a gift in itself. Thank you, Jonathan! You have lit a fire for history within my children!


Thanks for making homeschooling so much easier for us parents

Rated 5 out of 5

We have absolutely loved Jonathan’s Ancient Civilizations class this year.

He is so organized, and his classes are expertly taught – my son usually makes me leave the room but I will often go back and listen to the recordings and watch some of the videos because they are so interesting.

We are thrilled that OTA is now a vendor with our charter school, and since Z will be in middle school next year, we plan on signing up for a lot more classes.

Keep up the excellent job and thanks for making homeschooling so much easier for us parents!



Rated 5 out of 5

What a fantastic course combining hands-on STEM & Social Studies.

I loved watching my children learn about key landmarks around the world with such eagerness and curiosity.

They dove into the history, architectural marvel, geography, and engineering in an engaging fun way.

Mr. Meola is a wonderful teacher and this class is highly recommended!

Michael Zrihen

Best Course EVER!

Rated 5 out of 5

During our family new year’s celebration, everyone completed a year-in-review questionnaire. One question asked, “What are you most proud of that you accomplished this past year?”

Without hesitation, our daughter blurted out “I learned to write a five-paragraph essay!”

Our daughter, who up until this past semester would only write science lab reports, should be proud of this accomplishment. She willingly dedicated days to completing required essays, and we owe this success to Lights! Camera! Action! class.

Mr. Jonathan’s enthusiasm, instruction, encouragement and feedback all generated a newfound level of confidence within our daughter. Plus, the course spurred everyone in our family (including grandparents) to watch incredible movies, which normally would not be in our Netflix queue. Mr. Jonathan’s impact reached beyond our daughter.

LR, Florida

Amazing course!

Rated 5 out of 5

I would like to say thank you. My daughter, Laura, was so inspired by OTA’s Lights! Camera! Action! class. She WANTS to improve at writing instead of shying away from the process that she finds so difficult. She is putting her heart and soul into trying. I am seeing improvement and I am seeing enthusiasm that just were not there before. You have no idea how joyful that makes me. This latest essay was really, really hard but a bit less overwhelming than the prior two. Slowly the elements that Laura is learning in class are sinking in. I appreciate all that you do for the class! Thank you!

JC, Vermont

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