Wednesday, July 17, 2013

FAQ about the planetarium

I get a lot of questions about the planetarium. Therefore in an effort to help answer those, I've made a post of FAQs over on my professional blog.

Take a look at the following link and see if I've answered your burning question:

If there are other questions that you have about the process, building, etc. drop a comment and I'll add it to the post.

Happy viewing!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sound System A Go!

We have been fully funded for our sound system. The class is excited to test our the new speakers upon arrival. Thanks to all of our donors!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

$30 to go...

Our class has been lucky enough to get numerous donations for our sound system from New York all the way to California! People and companies, like J. Crew, have been so generous towards our project! We are excited to finally get a sound system worthy of our planetarium. The students really, really deserve it!

With that, we have $30 to go...

Check out our project at

Monday, October 1, 2012

We are on!

To all our faithful followers, we have started a project fund on for a new sound system. We are looking to have a 3-way tower speaker funded for our dome.

Last year, we were lucky enough to have a generous student donate his speakers, system, and amps to be used in the dome during the school year. However, with graduation left the speakers.

Right now, we have a set of computer speakers rigged to the DVD player for sound. It is working, but we are looking for something permanent. On a side note, I'd really love to have my computer speakers back!

If you think this project is great and you feel like contributing to our project, please visit We currently only have $259 to go.

People have even donated to get others to not grow mustaches...weird, but awesome for our students.

What we've done in the dome this year!

So far this year we have constructed the dome, watched Apollo 13 after finishing a project on the Apollo missions, used Stellarium (a star software) to practice making sky observations, and watched "The Universe: Constellations" as a starting off point for our Lurking in the Shadows Project on constellations.  We are looking forward to many more hours of dome fun before the dome must come down for another year the middle of November.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fun in the dome

In May we setup the dome for a second time. Students were assigned a chapter in their astronomy books and asked to create a planetarium show for elementary students. Each student group picked a grade level to gear their presentations to. The presentations included content on their chapters, videos, animations, and music. The students did a great job hosting their shows. Elementary students also rotated through stations geared for their grades on light. It was a pleasure watching both astronomy and elementary students engaged in the learning/teaching process. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Planetarium Party and Tours

We enjoyed our working planetarium today. We watched several clips from our planetarium DVD collection, as well as one of the shows in the Planet Earth series. It was GREAT to have a functioning dome!

Tonight, four gentleman will be giving tours of the dome during parent-teacher conferences. On Thursday, five groups from the astronomy class will be giving tours to students from different courses.  They will discuss the process of building the dome, the construction, and show the students a clip from our planetarium movie collection. We also have a visitor from the local paper coming to talk to students and take pictures of the dome. We can't wait to share our accomplishments with the student body and community.

As promised, here are the final pictures!
One of our Planetarium DVDs

Our Go-Vex projection mirror

Projector and mirror during a show

The AMAZING astronomy students who built and constructed the dome.

Friday, November 4, 2011

We've been away enjoying our planetarium

Today, a group of students repositioned rivets in areas that needed tightening. The repositioning did wonders for the inside of the dome. A second group of students worked inside the dome getting all of the projection mechanisms working. They unpacked and set-up the projector, DVD player, and spherical mirror.  They did some troubleshooting in order to get the best projection. They ended up using a desk and box for the projector to sit on, positioned a little lower than the mirror, and an overhead cart for the placement of the mirror. They final got a projection they were happy with and popped in one of the planetarium DVDs we purchased with the grant money. It was one of those moments as a teacher I could see the students felt accomplished. Their eyes were glued to the dome and not a peep was heard from any of them. 

Four of the gentleman who worked incredibly hard on the dome will be giving tours and talking about the process at parent-teacher conferences on Tuesday, Nov. 8th.  Be sure to stop by if you'd like a first-hand look at this magnificent project.

Note: We will post updated pictures on Tuesday!

-Jessica Anderson, teacher