University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Planetarium Letterhead

Teachers - Grades 3-5

Follow these steps to make the most of your Planetarium visit. Click below for easy navigation:


Before Your VisitDuring Your VisitAfter Your Visit

Visit the Teacher's Toolkit for classroom activities, websites and videos to add to your lesson plans.

Before Your Planetarium Visit

  • Pre-Visit Questionnaire (.doc) or (.pdf)
  • Answers to Questionnaires (Pre- and Post-) (.doc) or (.pdf)

Discuss these questions with your students prior to your visit, to stimulate their curiosity:

Grades 3-4:

  • What is the solar system?
  • How do Earth and its Moon move?
  • How do objects move in the solar system?
  • What are the planets like?
  • How do people study the solar system?
  • What celestial bodies make up the solar system?

Grade 5:

  • What celestial bodies make up the universe?
  • What causes the shift from day to night?
  • What causes the change of seasons?

During Your Planetarium Visit

Please arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled visit. Locate the restrooms in the Physics Building lobby and give students the opportunity to use them. The theater doors lock after the show starts and it will be disturbing to allow visitors back into the Planetarium.

Please remind your students to be quiet in the hallways. UWM classes may be in session.

Theater Presentation

The students will have the opportunity to:

  • Look at the sky on the evening of the Planetarium visit
  • Point to stars, planets and the Moon if visible from Milwaukee
  • Enjoy a beautiful dark sky away from city lights (for this age group, the dark sky portion is kept short)
  • Recognize geometric shapes in the constellations
  • Realize that the constellations are the basis for many cultural stories
  • Take a brief tour of the solar system and look at images of main objects in the solar system
  • See how the sky changes during the course of the night
  • Ask an astronomer questions

Supplementary Activities for an Additional Fee (Optional Hands-On Activities)

At your option (Additional $30-$60 depending on group size), the following activities offered during your visit:

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After Your Planetarium Visit

  • Post-Visit Questionnaire (.doc) or (.pdf)
  • Answers to Questionnaires (Pre- and Post-) (.doc) or (.pdf)

Discuss with your students the following:

  • How their thoughts have changed
  • The reasoning behind their thoughts
  • What they have learned

Use the Post-Visit Questionnaire as a model for additional discussion. Use their responses to correct misconceptions that students may have developed - through further questioning, class participation, and other textbook activities.


To gauge students' comprehension, you may invite them to:

  • Share their planetarium experiences verbally
  • Write journals about their planetarium experience
  • Create and present drawings of their planetarium experience with classmates
  • Research and write a report on space exploration or other celestial phenomena (Grade 5)

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Teacher Feedback

“Always enjoy it. Dr. Jean is great with the kids. Perfect finish to our solar system unit”. –Jessica Heyman, Grade 3, Richards (WFB)

“We would like to thank you again for a wonderful program. It is a wonderful way to reinforce our science program, and I know the students really enjoy our visits; they talk about it/them for years. They remember it.” –Cheryl Rybka, Grade 3, North Cape

“The duration of the program was just right for antsy 3rd graders. I believe the combination of video/question/oral interaction really helped the kids to stay focused.” –Tracy Matthews, Grade 3, Richards

“Great job involving the students by participation with voices and clapping! Engaging and great overview of the solar system.  Thank you!” –Aliza Werner, Grade 3, Parkway

“I liked the hand clapping which told me they were listening. Good switching gears or hopping planet to planet at a nice rate to keep attention.” –Wendy Schuetz, Grade 4, Holy Trinity

“Excellent reinforcement of unit and excites the students to further explore space and astronomy topics.” –Cheryl Shirk, Grade 4, Eastview

“This was wonderful. Just the right amount of information for our students, a great curriculum enrichment.  Thanks.” –O’Donnell, Grade 4, Milwaukee Academy of Science

“We appreciated the pre-field trip visit. This got the students very excited and eager to learn more.  Excellent presentation! Thank you!” –Anderson, Grade 5, Lake Bluff

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We would like to thank the National Science Foundation for its support of the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The teachers who contributed resources for the UWM Planetarium webpage—Ms. Jeanine Gelhaus (Medford Middle School), Ms. Karen Green (Milwaukee Public Schools High School Science Teaching Specialist), and Mr. McDonald (Alexander Mitchell School)—were all recipients of a RET grant at UWM (2011, 2007, 2008). For more information on this grant opportunity and how to apply see

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