Space Science And Astronomy For Upper Elementary And Middle School Practitioners


May 29, 2015 – Astronomers face the unique challenge in science of learning about their subject only from images, without the possibility of doing hands-on experiments on the actual objects they are studying (with the exception a few Moon rocks and some robotic sampling of Mars). Teachers face the same challenge: how to capitalize on students’ natural excitement about astronomy using engaging hands-on activities.

This workshop will provide exciting student inquiries about our solar system, its scale, the motion of the Sun in the sky, astronomy images and spectra, and the Universe beyond. Further, it will provide background and updates to teachers on recent discoveries in astronomy, and a chance to use Fiske Planetarium as well as CU’s Solar Telescope (weather permitting).

The class will be taught by Dr. David Abbott, who has a unique background for teaching astronomy to students in grades 4 -8. For 20 years, Dave was an astronomer at the Universities of Colorado and Wisconsin. For the next 20 years, Dave switched careers and became a classroom teacher in upper elementary and middle school grades in BVSD. Now retired, Dave would like to pass on his “best of the best” astronomy activities to current teachers.

For each activity, teachers will do an abbreviated version of the activity, learn background information on the subject and curricular tie-ins of the activity to other math and science standards. The list of activities includes:

  • Images and classification in astronomy
  • Color, spectra, and “invisible light”
  • Ratio and scale in our solar system
  • Venus radar imaging
  • Motion of the Sun and seasons
  • Moons of Jupiter
  • Recipe for a comet
  • Space/time and the scale of the universe
  • Life cycle of stars
  • Registration:

    $50.00: This fee includes a full day of professional development, a link to digital resources designed to assist in disseminating content to your classroom and a letter and certificate documenting 7 hours of teacher professional development for district and CDE teacher licensing


  • Pre-register online here or by phone
  • Arrive at Sommers-Bausch Observatory (2501 Kittredge Loop Drive, Boulder 80309) at 8:45am, break for lunch between 12-12:30pm, depart at 4:00pm

  • Participants may bring their own lunch or visit one of many nearby eateries during their break

  • If you have any questions, or would like more information about attending or hosting a CU Science Discovery school or teacher program, please contact Hester Nadel at or call 303-492-8640.