Getting Started

This website is intended to help high school teachers who wish to teach UW Astronomy as part of the UW in the High School (UWHS) program. We support two astronomy classes for UWHS: Astro 101 and Astro 150. Astro 101 covers stars, galaxies and the universe, while 150 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 either course (Astro 101 or Astro 150) your key resource is the UWHS web site. 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 Astro 101/Astro 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 Astro 101 are slightly different than the qualifications for teaching Astro 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. This is usually held in May--clock hours are available if you want them.

    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!