Grades K – 2

We welcome your class to the planetarium. Our shows are live, interactive, and can be adjusted to meet different needs.

To reserve a program, submit a Request Form at least 2 weeks in advance of your visit.

The planetarium program costs $60 for 60 minutes and up to 68 students. You experience a live presentation of Wonders of Night and Day and a tour of the night sky featuring the constellations and their stories. For an additional $40, extend your visit with hands-on activities.


Show Topic

Wonders of Night and Day | Grades K – 2
Blast off to the International Space Station where we investigate what causes night and day. Experience what night and day are like on other planets such as Mars, then return to Earth to search for constellations in the night sky.
WI Standards for Science SCI.ESS1.A.1


Activities

Optional hands-on activities last 20 minutes and cost $40 per activity for up to 22 students. If your group is 23-44 students, you may split them between two back-to-back activity sessions for a total of 40 minutes for $80.

Earth’s Amazing Moon | Grades K – 2
Students use Playdough to make an Earth and Moon system. Students use different math and problem-solving skills depending on their grade level.

Solar System to Scale | Grade 2
Students are divided into groups to make a scale model of the solar system along the length of an indoor hallway. Students receive instructions about how many tiles they need between various planets.


Preparing For Your Visit

We recommend introducing grade-appropriate astronomy topics before visiting the planetarium. This might range from basic constellations for younger students to atomic structures and the electromagnetic spectrum for older students. Any exposure will help your students engage more at the planetarium. See the Resource Materials section below.


Lunch

Students may eat their own lunch in the cafeteria on the ground level of the UWM Union, a short walk east of the planetarium. Students are welcome to eat lunch outdoors, weather permitting.


Resource Materials

Use the following sections to find resource materials for your class.

Learning Activities | Discussion Questions | Readings

Learning Activities

Theme One: Astronomical Objects in The Day/Night Sky

  1. The Sun is the closest star to us

The Sun is a Star!
Online Book: Our Very Own Sun (English / Spanish)

The Sun is the Largest Object in our Solar System
Video: Bill Nye on The Sun is the largest object in our solar system
Website: Kids Astronomy: Our Solar System

  1. The Moon is the Earth’s only Natural Satellite

Moon light is Reflected Light from the Sun
Activity: Bouncing Sunlight (Sun’s reflected light on the Moon)

  1. Planets (Earth is a planet) go around Stars

Website: Information on the planets

Theme Two: The Solar System

  1. Overview of Solar System: 1 star, 8 planets, and many small objects

Activity: Solar System in your Pocket (Shows the relative distances between the Sun and the planets)

Theme Three: Earth/Moon/Sun Interactions

  1. Rotation of the Earth: Evidence is Day and Night

Activity: Relative size of Sun, Moon, Earth (G1 – 3)
Activity: What Makes Day and Night?
Activity: What Makes Light? (Observing day and night)

  1. Interaction of the Earth and Sun

Activity: What Makes Shadows? (Observing shadows)

  1. Eclipses

Video: Partial Solar Eclipse (Jan. 2011 as seen from around the world)
Video: Total Solar Eclipse

Discussion Questions

Theme One: Astronomical Objects in The Day/Night Sky

The Sun gives us heat and light

  • Discussion Question: What does the Sun do for us?
  • Answer: The Sun supports all life on Earth through the process of photosynthesis. It provides us with heat and light. It powers the water cycle which creates our weather and climate. It provides us with seasonal cycles and even our sleep cycle.

The Sun is the largest object in our solar system

  • Discussion Question: If the Sun is the largest object in the solar system, why does it look so small?
  • Answer: Because it is so far away.

Theme Two: The Solar System

Planets revolve around stars

  • Discussion Question: What star does Earth orbit?
  • Answer: (The Sun) The Sun is located at the center of our solar system.

The Sun and other celestial objects move across the sky

  • Discussion Question: Are the Sun, Moon, and stars always in the same places in the sky?
  • Answer: As the Earth rotates, the Sun, Moon, and stars appear to move across the sky. They rise and set. Also, the Moon orbits the Earth once a month and the Earth orbits the Sun once a year, so the Moon and Sun pass through different parts of the sky.

Theme Three: Earth/Moon/Sun Interactions

  • Discussion Question: Does the Moon gives off its own light?
  • Answer: The Moon light we see is actually reflected light from the Sun. The shape or phase of the Moon is determined by the Moon’s position in its orbit around the Earth with respect to the Sun.

Interaction of The Earth and Sun

  • Discussion Question: Does the Sun turn off at night?
  • Answer: The Sun is always shining. We just don’t always see it. Earth is always rotating on its axis, so the Sun appears to move across the sky. At sunrise, the Earth’s rotation brings our homes into sunlight. By midday, the Earth has rotated so that the Sun is high in the sky. At sunset, the Earth rotates so that the Sun goes below the horizon. During the night the Earth keeps rotating so the Sun can rise again.

Readings

  • Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown
  • If You Decide to Go to the Moon, Faith McNulty
  • Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System, Joanna Cole
  • The Magic School Bus Sees Stars, Joanna Cole
  • Autumn Leaves, Leland B. Jacobs, Harcourt Science, T50
  • Our Tree, Marchette Chute, Harcourt science, T51
  • Our Changing Year, Kathryn Corbett, Harcourt Science, T54