University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Planetarium Letterhead

Teachers - Grades 9-12

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:

  • How do we know how far away a star is?
  • What is the Big Bang Theory?
  • What is the value of space exploration?

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 visitors who have to leave the theater during the presentation cannot be readmitted.

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

Theater Presentation

The presentation is split into two parts: your choice of show & stargazing.

Show options include:

  • Life of a star: learn how stars are born, evolve and end their lives
  • Exploration of the solar system: a look into the solar system and what we have learned so far
  • Scale of the Universe: see just how small we are in relation to the universe (this is a shorter show that allows for more time in the stargazing portion)
  • Illuminating the Universe: understand observational evidence for the Big Bang
  • An adventure in the stratosphere: Dr. Jean Creighton was chosen by NASA to fly on SOFIA at 45,000ft
During the stargazing portion students will:
  • Look at the projected sky for that evening of their Planetarium visit
  • Locate visible objects in Milwaukee for that night such as stars, planets and the moon if applicable and see how they change as the night progresses
  • See the night sky in the country without light pollution
  • Identify several constellations (both seasonal & circumpolar)
  • Ask a NASA airborne astronomy ambassador/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

Remind the students how they responded to the Pre-Visit Questionnaire at the top of this page, and invite them to discuss:

  • 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 what they saw or experienced at the planetarium
  • 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

"Great experience! I wish we had time to do more."  –Brent Whalen, Grades 11 & 12, Black Hawk High School

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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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