For All Students

For all student groups, we offer the three main activities:

Activity (Grades) Science TEKS & TAKS What you and your students do... Duration
Explore McDonald Observatory
(K-12)
TEKS: Scientific Inquiry, 5.8, IPC 4, Ast 3(D)
TAKS Objectives: Grade 5 (1, 3) Grade 10 (1, 5)
Although the Observatory is a research facility, it is also a community of people like a small town. Students will discover how astronomers investigate the universe, how our support staff keeps the observatory operating, and learn about Mt. Locke as a home for 80 people.  40 - 50 mins.
Decoding Starlight Exhibit
(K-12)
TEKS: 8.13, IPC 5, IPC 7, Phy 9, Ast 6
TAKS Objectives: Grade 5 (1, 3) Grade 10 (1, 4, 5)

Weather permitting, students will see a live absorption spectrum of the Sun, spread out over 2 meters wide.  In the exhibit hall, your students will explore light and spectroscopy, and complete a TEKS/TAKS based worksheet called the Decoding Starlight Student Exhibit Guide.  The Student Exhibit Guide (available in English and Spanish) helps focus student's attention on TEKS specific content, patterns, and connections between concepts.  Teachers can download and review the Student Exhibit Guide, as well as the Teacher version (with elaborate explanations) from our Pre & Post visit activities and behavior expectation forms page.

40 - 50 mins.
Exploring the Sun
(K-12)
TEKS: 3.11, 4.11, 6.13, 8.13, IPC 8, Ast 8
TAKS Grade 5 (1, 3, 4) Grade 10 (1, 4)
Weather permitting, students view real-time video of the Sun in our multi-media theater, using our state-of-the-art, remote operated telescope video system.  Your facilitator will steer two 76mm (3-inch) TeleVue refractors atop a Celestron 356mm (14-inch) reflecting telescope.  Students will observe live, digital video of sunspots in the Photosphere in white light, and prominences and flares in the Chromosphere in H-Alpha.  In the event of clouds, we will use digital video recorded previously.  Facilitators also use demonstrations to help facilitate TEKS/TAKS objectives. 30 mins.