Stay in your classroom and visit McDonald Observatory in the “Live From McDonald Observatory” distance learning program.
These videoconference programs are science learning experiences that take you and your students on a virtual field trip to the Davis Mountains of west Texas. Videoconferences are fully interactive connections between one class (or student club) of up to 35 students.
The content of all videoconferences is aligned with Texas science standards. We offer many different videoconferences that include engaging experiences such as: take your students on a virtual tour of McDonald Observatory; complete a hands-on activity; see unique science demonstrations; and get live telescopic views sent to your classroom of the Sun, Moon and Venus from telescopes equipped with special video cameras and solar filters.
K-12 educational programs are $50 for 50 minutes unless otherwise noted (contact our education coordinator for more information for other non-K-12 school group pricing). Videoconferences are designed for individual classrooms of 35 students or less. While most videoconferences are recommended for grades 3-12, K-2 students also enjoy the special treat to connect with a real Observatory.
Below is a menu of currently available videoconference titles for grades 3-12 and important documents for each program. The documents for each program include a student sheet, teacher guide, pre- and post- conference assessment, suggestions for pre- and post- activities, and more. Choose which videoconference you would like for your students, and download ALL the documents within that program. Don't forget to download the videoconference evaluation form; we need your teacher input following the program so we can make improvements. To participate, review our registration and videoconference requirements.
Program Descriptions and Downloads
Students participate in a video conference learning session with Observatory staff.
Student sheets are designed for your students to fill in during the videoconference. You will need to copy one for each student or group of students.
Required Activity Materials Ready In Your Classroom
A list of materials you must have on-hand in addition to the student sheets for students to complete during the show. Go through the list at least one day in advance so that you can be sure that they are available.
Teacher Guide for Videoconference Content
The document that supports you as the classroom teacher. It includes ideas about potential student answers, detailed descriptions of content found in Student Sheets, and links that support your classroom instruction.
Each student should complete the assessment prior to the videoconference. The drawings and words that they use will help you gauge their pre-conceptions as well as prepare them for encountering new information.
A pre-conference activity that encourages students to discuss and organize the questions they might ask during the conference.
Each student should complete the post-conference assessment after the program. You should compare this assessment to the student pre-assessment sheet (all grade levels).
The post-conference activity will help your students transfer their McDonald Observatory experience back to the classroom science curriculum. If you did not complete the suggested pre-conference activities, you can still enrich your students' learning experience by doing our suggested post-conference activities. These activities are designed to provide linkage between the videoconference and your classroom science program.
Related TEKS, NSES
This is a document that lists related Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and National Science Education Standards curriculum linkages for each videoconference.
Videoconference Evaluation Form
We ask that you complete this evaluation form following the videoconference.
Any additional PDF’s or supporting Powerpoints contained within an activity.