University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Planetarium Letterhead

Teachers - Grades 6-8

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:

  • What are constellations?
  • What is the Zodiac?
  • What causes day and night?
  • What causes seasons?
  • What causes an eclipse?
  • What causes the Moon's phases?
  • How can you tell a star from a planet?
  • How did the solar system form? How do we know?
  • What are the differences between Terrestrial and Jovian planets?
  • What celestial bodies make up the universe?
  • What is the origin of the universe? How do we know?

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 short)
  • Recognize geometric shapes in the constellations
  • Realize that the constellations are the basis for many cultural stories
  • Tour 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:

  • Complete the Post-Visit Quiz
  • Share their planetarium experiences verbally
  • Write journals about their planetarium experience.
  • Research and write a report on space exploration or other celestial phenomena
  • Write a science fiction story that includes celestial phenomena

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Teacher Feedback

“Jean speaks very clearly and engages all the kids. She also “saves their dignity” when their answers to her questions are wrong. Very informative and obvious she loves her work.” –Mrs. Schulz, Grade 6, Wheatland Center

“First time here for me. I teach English and Reading. I have minimal science background. It was fascinating! I learned a lot from you and was impressed with Dr. Hunter and Dr. Stephanie as well!” –Bart Wepking, Grade 6, Wheatland Center

“Nice mix of audio, visual, and kinesthetic activities.” –S. Danks, Grade 6, Fritsche

“Great, informative presentation and super management of the group. Thank you!” –Jenny Statza, Grade 7, Lincoln Intermediate


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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