High School

UW in the High School (UWHS)

High school students interested in taking UW Astronomy classes may participate in the UWHS program and earn both college and high school credit. These courses are taught by the high school's own teachers, after undergoing training by UW faculty. The ASTR 101 course is an introduction to the universe which covers stars, galaxies and the universe; the ASTR 150 course surveys the solar system planets, including recent space exploration of the planets and their comparative evolution since formation. 

Any student in grades 9-12 may sign up to take a UW Astronomy course at their school, if the school is one of the UWHS partner schools. Not only do these credits fulfill UW undergraduate degree requirements, they may also be transferred to other colleges and universities. To earn college credit while taking the high school class, students must register to UWHS by the application deadline.

High School Teachers

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!