▬▬▬▬▬▬ COURSE SUMMARY ▬▬▬▬▬▬
This course is a Harry Potter book club, but with a specific twist: in this course, we will critically examine the literature of Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s incorporation of astronomy, astrology, and Greek mythology. We will do this via character analysis and literary devices (such as symbolism, foreshadowing, allusion, and historical context)
Our discussions include references to all of the different Harry Potter books and movies. I recommend that the students have at least read/watched numbers 1-3. Students do not need to watch all the movies or read all the books beforehand in order to enjoy this class, but please be aware that there will spoilers of some plot elements. Discussion of characters/events from later books will take place (although there will not be spoilers involving an deaths of major characters unless a student comments on them).
▬▬▬▬▬▬ COURSE OUTLINE ▬▬▬▬▬▬
🌠 Week 1: Astronomy vs. Astrology 🌠
In our first session, we will analyze two Harry Potter professors and the subjects they teach at Hogwarts. Our first character case study will be Professor Aurora Sinistra and her Astronomy Class. She teaches a core class at Hogwarts, and yet this professor and the contents of her class are somewhat of a mystery. Second, we’ll study Professor Trelawney and her Divination Class. She also teaches about the stars and planets, just like Professor Sinistra, but instead of calling in astronomy, she calls it astrology. What’s up with that? By the end of class, students should have an understanding of how these two topics taught at Hogwarts are the same, and how they’re different.
🌠 Week 2: Planets 🌠
This week will be a literary analysis of the incorporation of the planets in the Harry Potter books. Are these examples of astronomy, or astrology? How does J.K. Rowling incorporate allusion and the historical context of the planets in both astrology and astronomy into her works? We’ll also introduce the subtle – but important – connection J.K. Rowling makes with Greek mythology, and this mythology’s inseparable ties to astronomy and astrology.
🌠 Week 3: The Moon 🌠
***THIS ADDITION COMING JANUARY 2021 – PLEASE NOTE THE OCTOBER SECTIONS ARE FOUR WEEKS LONG AND DO NOT INCLUDE THE MOON.***
The moon has a great deal of symbolic value in the Harry Potter series. We’ll discuss how J.K. Rowling incorporated a history of superstitions and beliefs about Earth’s moon as the backdrop for many Harry Potter events. We’ll examine what professors Sinistra and Trelawny teach about the moon. This week also includes a character study of Luna Lovegood and her relationship to her namesake (Luna, the Roman goddess of the moon).
🌠 Week 4: Stars and Constellations 🌠
In this class, we’ll focus heavily on J.K. Rowling’s use of the star and constellation names as a means to incorporate allusion and symbolism into her works. For instance, we’ll discuss Sirius Black’s connection to the star Sirius (the dog star). We’ll examine why Rowling chose to use the names of specific stars (those named after pureblood characters in Greek and Roman mythology) as names on the Black Family tree, in order to further emphasize the “Pureblood Pride” that the Black family valued so highly. Merope Gaunt’s story from Harry Potter is exactly the same as the story of Merope from mythology; we’ll discuss the intended symbolism behind the author’s choice of story. We’ll also tie what we’re learning back to Professors Sinistra and Trelawney; how do they view the sky differently in their own fields of expertise?
I am a certified science teacher in the state of Arizona, with more than a decade of experience teaching children. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Earth and Space Science. My classes are offered in a lecture format, so your child can participate to his or her comfort level.
Please make sure to download and create your star wheel sometime before the THIRD class begins. It should take about 15 minutes to complete. Directions are included, but basically, you will cut on the solid lines, and fold on the dotted lines. (You can reinforce the holder with staples or tape if you want, but make sure that the wheel can still turn freely afterwards!) I included a picture of the finished product for reference.
Northern Hemisphere (America, Europe, China, etc.)
Southern Hemisphere (Australia, New Zealand, South America, South Africa, etc)
Here is a picture of what your star wheel should look like when you are finished:
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Village Square tools.
120 minutes per class , and an estimated 0 – 1 hours per week outside of class.
While I do make sure to encourage students to respect all persons’ belief systems, if you or your child are believers in the reliability of fortune telling or horoscopes, this is not the right class for you. The first two weeks talk very heavily about how astrology is not supported by any known scientific evidence, and instead emerged from the religious beliefs of the Greeks and the Romans. Students are encouraged to hone their ability to recognize the difference between science and belief (while acknowledging that ALL of us utilize both practices in our lives, and both are considered to be acceptable and respectable in our culture).