Sloan Digital Sky Survey: A Resource for High School and College Classrooms

A workshop for educators who work with students in grades 11-12 and up.
June 30, 2006, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Johnson Hall 366 and 341 on the UW campus

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) in a huge database of astronomical information that has resulted from doing imaging in five colors of all the sky that is visible from a 2.5-m telescope in south central New Mexico. In addition, the SDSS has obtained hundreds of thousands of spectra of stars, galaxies and other objects with that same telescope. This database of astronomical information is available to anyone who would like to use it. In particular, educators can use it to do classroom exercises and projects on topics such as the spectra of stars, the nature of galaxies, the expansion of the universe and others. A bonus is that SDSS scientists have developed some educational materials such as visualizations of the structure of the universe and explanations of the SDSS science goals and how the project has been carried that are useful for high school and college classrooms. This workshop will give educators an introduction to SDSS education materials.

As a result of attending this workshop, participants should

  1. Learn about the major science objectives and methods of the SDSS
  2. Become familiar with the contents of the Education section of the SDSS SkyServer Web site (
  3. Learn what is involved in doing a SkyServer education exercise in their class(es) by spending time working on two of the exercises in a computer laboratory.
  4. Learn what resources are available for their classes (visualizations of data, PowerPoints, Web sites, etc.) from the SDSS Education Web site (

Workshop Outline
9:00-9:45 a.m. Introduction to the SDSS Project and SkyServer
9:45-11:00 a.m. SkyServer exercise Colors of Stars (including a break)
11:00-11:30 a.m. Discussion of Colors of Stars
11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. SDSS visualizations and videos
12:15-1:00 p.m. Exploration of resources for high school and college astronomy classrooms in the NASA Educator Resource Center (working lunch)
1:00-1:30 p.m. SDSS science results
1:30-2:30 p.m. SkyServer exercise The Universe
2:30-3:00 p.m. Discussion of The Universe and workshop evaluation