High School

UW in the High School

As part of the UW in the High School program (UWHS), we support two astronomy classes to help high school teachers teach UW Astronomy: ASTR 101 and ASTR 150. The former course covers stars, galaxies and the universe, while the latter course covers the planets of the solar system – with an emphasis on recent space exploration of the planets and on the comparative evolution of the Earth and the other planets. 

If you'd like to teach ASTR 101 or ASTR 150, your key resource is the UWHS website. The steps you need to take are described in detail there, but will be summarized briefly in this section.

  1. The first step is to get school and district permission to offer the course. This is not always easy because it may represent an additional offering. The UWHS web site has information on why offering UW courses is desirable (students get college credits for a big price break on tuition, students get exposed early to college-level material, etc.). It may be helpful to copy a sample course outline from the sample materials section and adapt it so you'll have something to show the people who need to approve the offering.
  2. The UW does not provide salary for teachers offering UWHS courses, so ASTR 101/ASTR 150 has to be part of your regular teaching load. You do get a small stipend from the UW for clerical duties associated with the program and you get a stipend for attending the orientation.
  3. Once the school and district have approved, you need to get your qualifications for offering the course formally approved by the UW. The qualifications for teaching ASTR 101 are slightly different than the qualifications for teaching ASTR 150. If you want to check this out in advance of approaching your principal or district, contact the UWHS program.
  4. You must attend the annual UWHS training, the majority of which is a session with the other astronomer instructors. We hold an annual training on a Saturday each May. The program requires teachers to attend both the morning UWHS Orientation and our training before offering the course for the first time, and from then on every other year. Visit the UWHS website for all the details.
  5. After attending the orientation you put together a "formal" course syllabus that includes course objectives, what you will cover, a textbook if you use one, and the evaluation strategies and grading scale. We expect that some combination of classroom tests, homework/labs and/or projects will go into the student course grades. You must submit these materials to the UWHS program.
  6. After you are given formal approval by the UWHS Program, and if you enroll enough students, then you have a UW course!