Teacher Guides: Basic

Our projects are designed to teach astronomy interactively, using the tools that professional astronomers use. All examples in these projects are taken from real stars and galaxies as seen by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the most detailed survey in the history of astronomy.

These pages give information on how to use SkyServer’s projects as an interactive lab in your science class. The projects were designed to be done individually, but they can be done in teams as well. Each individual or team will need a computer with Web access. The table below gives an overview of each project. Click on the project’s name for more detailed information.

Solar SystemLook through data for thousands of asteroids to learn about the shape of the Solar System Estimated time: 3-4 hours
Scavenger HuntStudents use SkyServer’s navigation tool to go on a scavenger hunt through the sky. Estimated time: 3 hours
The UniverseStudents take on the biggest project of
all – the whole universe. They learn how big the universe is, and how scientists know it is expanding. They then make a “Hubble Diagram” – a graph of galaxy distances and velocities – to see the expanding universe for themselves. Estimated time: 5 hours
Asteroids!Students look through SkyServer data to find asteroids, small chunks of rock in the inner Solar System. Estimated time: 1 hour
Types of StarsStudents learn how astronomers make sense of the millions of stars that they see. Estimated time: 3 hours
ColorStudents look at stars with many amazing colors, then learn why stars have different colors. Estimated time: 11 hours. Shorter versions available.
GalaxiesStudents develop a classification scheme for galaxies, then compare it to the Hubble Tuning Fork classification used by astronomers. They also learn how galaxies are grouped together, and what happens when galaxies collide. Estimated time: 9 hours. Shorter versions available. The last section of this project requires knowledge from the Color project.

Neptune image from the National Space Science Data Center