Solar Physics Topics In High School: Analysis Of A Course With Practical Activities At Dietrich Schiel Observatory
This work analyses results obtained in a solar physics course for high school students promoted at the Dietrich Schiel Observatory of the University of São Paulo (USP). The course was elaborated by the authors with the intention of investigating student’s concepts about the Sun, teaching topics of modern physics related to the Sun and providing students with knowledge about our star as well. The methodology of data gathering consisted of audio and video records of classes and of semi-structured
interviews, and analysis of answers to written questionnaires. The results showed that most high school
students conceived the Sun as made of fire, while sunspots were thought to be holes in the Sun. Even
though some students did know that a spectrum is formed using a prism or diffraction grating, most of them ignored the nature of the observed spectral lines. Through the course, this topic was developed by means of a practical approach with solar and lamp spectra observations. The results obtained in the course point to the importance of science centers as partners in formal education. In this specific case, the Solar Room at the Dietrich Schiel Observatory is as a favorable environment for teaching modern physics in high school.