Introductory Astronomy Teacher Workshop

Includes links to the various activities, downloadable documents,web pages, samples and so on for the workshop in December 2022. All materials needed for the workshop are provided for free including reproducible worksheets for many things.  

Workshop #1 Saturday December 10 at 9 AM Pacific

Video recording of workshop

Workshop #2 Thursday December 15 at 5 PM Pacific

Video recording of workshop

Zoom links to the workshops were provided by email to people who pre-registered.

Things you’ll need for the workshop: 

I recommend you print out the ACTIVITY documents linked below. The Jewel Box activity should be printed on a color printer in advance. You might also need some tape or a stapler, scissors, something round about the size of a jar lid, a drinking straw or spare pencil, and a calculator.

To get in touch with me use

Presentation Powerpoint for the meeting


  1. Introductions
    1. About me and why I’m doing this workshop
    2. Tell us about yourself
    3. Time to share
    4. This space reserved to add links contributed by workshop attendees.
    5. *** We’re going to do these activities in the workshop
  2. How to use Stellarium and other astronomy apps
    1. ***STELLARIUM - for simulating the night sky, virtual experiments, observation planning and identification. Can be used to drive a digital planetarium.
    2. ***ACTIVITY (moderate) : INVESTIGATING AZIMUTH OF THE SUN FOR A YEAR (requires Stellarium)
    3. ACTIVITY: PLOTTING THE ORBIT OF MARS USING SIMULATED OBSERVATIONS (advanced) also Powerpoint including directions. 
    4. CELESTIA - for simulating the solar system from space
    5. SKYVIEW LITE  - for identification of stars and constellations while observing
    6. ASTRO IMAGE J - for manipulating digital images and measuring images with photometry and more
    7. Anything you use regularly not on this list?
  3. How to build a classroom planetarium 
    1. ***ACTIVITY (easy): A QUICK AND EASY 1 FREQUENCY PLANETARIUM DOME (requires scissors, tape/stapler, something round to trace)
    2. BUILD A 2F DOME (challenging): 
    3. MAKE A PROJECTOR (advanced):
    4. BUY A PROJECTOR Projectors:
    5. SO NOW YOU HAVE A PLANETARIUM…What do you do with it?
      1. Azimuth lab (like with Stellarium)
      2. Seasonal changes 
      3. Design a stonehenge
      4. Scale model solar system
      5. Latitude effects on the sky (North Pole, Equator, etc.)
      6. Basic navigation (altitude of north star = latitude
      7. Altitude lab
      8. Maximum elongation of Venus
      9. Plot the orbit of Mars (like with Stellarium)
      10. Planet mysteries
    6. Planetarium activities for Student Success (PASS)
  4. Survey of astronomical resources 
    1. maintains a list of education resources from around the country.  The link to the resource page is, or go to and choose education resources from the menu at the top.
  5. Galaxies and the Big Bang 
    2. Spreadsheet for doing final calculation 
    3. Galaxy Zoo online activity (easy):
  6. Black Holes and Stellar Evolution
    1. HR diagrams
      1. ***ACTIVITY (easy) : JEWEL BOX CLUSTER (print out on a color printer)
      2. Jewel box cluster powerpoint for those who don’t have color printers
  7. A Bunch of activities real quick
    1. Sundial kit
      1. ACTIVITY (moderate) : SUNDIAL KIT
    2. Exoplanets
      1. ACTIVITY (moderate) : EXOPLANET GRAPH
      2. Exoplanet simulation with sensors. Vernier light sensor link. Computer Interface needed as well. 
    3. How to observe the solar eclipses in 2023 and 2024
    4. ACTIVITY (moderate): Ellipse Lab
    5. ACTIVITY (moderate): Moon Phase Diagram with labels and a Powerpoint and Keynote
    6. ACTIVITY (advanced): Astrolabes
    7. ACTIVITY (easy): Uncle Al’s Planisphere
  8. Want more workshops? 
    1. Future topics might include: Grantwriting, Ellipses, Planetary transfer orbits, How to draw moon craters, How to pick a telescope, and….a bunch of other stuff
  9. Do we need to stay in touch? How? (FB?)
    1. More sharing time if possible - stay within FB? Start a new group?  
    2. FB “Astronomy Teachers” and “Teaching Astronomy” groups
  10. DOOR PRIZES provided by TeachingPoint 
    1. 2 student digital copies of CA; 1 hardcopy of student books for CA1&2, 1 TE of CA 1&2, 1 pop-up book from NASA. 
  11. NGSS standards covered by these activities (table)

© Jeff Adkins 2014