Secondary School Trips

Each Secondary School visit includes a classroom session led by a Stardome Astronomy Educator followed by a Planetarium show, and time exploring our gallery and exhibits. The duration of your trip will be 90 minutes. Choose from 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, or 2pm time slots.

School trips total price – Child/Adult/Teacher $5. One adult free for every eight students.

Minimum charge $175.00 applies to groups of 35 or fewer.

Email to find out more

Secondary School Planetarium Shows

Wonders of the Universe planetarium show
Wonders of the Universe

Takes you on a journey from the far reaches of the cosmos encountering galaxies, stars, nebulae, clouds of gas and dust, and finally meeting each of the planets in the Solar System.
Suits Year 5-13.

Wildest Weather in the Solar system Planetarium showWildest Weather in the Solar System

Takes you on a journey from the far reaches of the cosmos, encountering galaxies, stars, nebulae, clouds of gas and dust, and finally meeting each of the planets in the Solar System. Suits Year 5-13


Astronaut Planetarium showAstronaut

Takes you on a roller-coaster ride into space, and a virtual tour of a space station. With some help from a test dummy named ‘Chad’, we are introduced to the dangers astronauts face in space, the effects that space has on the human body, and the training needed to become an astronaut. Suits Year 6-13


Matariki Dawn Planetarium showMatariki Dawn

Learn more about the cultural and astronomical aspects of this group of spectacular stars. Show includes Maori myths and stories about the formation of the Earth, the Moon and Maori New Year. Suits Year 6-13


We are Aliens Planetarium showWe are Aliens

We Are Aliens, a new 360° digital planetarium show from the UK sets out to answer the “big questions” about our Universe.  On a fascinating and immersive journey, the show seeks to find the evidence of alien life in our galaxy. The latest research into this fast evolving area of science is explored with input from UK scientists.  Narrated by actor Rupert Grint, and with music by Rhian Sheehan from NZ. Suits Year 6-13.

Two small pieces of glass Planetarium show
Two Small Pieces of Glass

Celebrates the 400 years since Galileo first turned his telescope towards the night sky. With the help of a teacher and her students, we learn about telescopes and many of the discoveries they made possible, the nature of light, and how Galileo’s discoveries changed the world.
Suits Year 7-13

We are Astronomers Planetarium showWe Are Astronomers

Reveals the global collaboration, technology and dedication required to answer the unresolved questions of the Universe. See how technologies such as the Large Hadron Collider, the observatories of Chile and the Hubble Space Telescope work and how they are used by teams around the world.
Suits Year 9-13.

Black holes Planetarium showBlack Holes – The Other Side of Infinity

Shows striking, immersive animations of the formation of the early universe, star birth and death, the collision of giant galaxies, and a simulated flight to a super-massive black hole lurking at the centre of our own Milky Way Galaxy. Suits Year 9-13


Dark Universe Planetarium show
Dark Universe

Dark Universe examines the breakthroughs that have led astronomers to confront two great cosmic mysteries: dark matter and dark energy. Suits Year 9-13.


Passport to the Universe Planetarium show
Passport to the Universe

Take a look at our cosmic neighbourhood in Passport to the Universe. This show reveals the wonders of our universe with realistic close-up views of star fields and planets. Suits Year 9-13.

Secondary School Classroom Topics

Classroom topics are tailored for individual classes, and customised topics can be provided with prior arrangement with our educators. Duration of the classroom session is approximately 25 minutes (following time in the planetarium and foyer).

Matariki Night Sky

We want students to understand that:

  • Matariki is a group of stars that help signal the time of the Maori New Year
  • The Maori year is based on a lunar calendar
  • Matariki can be seen in the night sky during most of the year, rising and setting at different times

Advanced understanding:

  • Discuss why Matariki cannot be seen in the sky during the month of May
  • Discuss why the northern and southern hemispheres of the Earth see different constellations
  • Discuss the significance of New Year occurring at the winter solstice
  • Discuss why we see different constellations in the night sky on a yearly cycle.
Solar System  (Year 3-13)

We want students to understand that:

  • The Sun brings heat and light to the rest of the Solar System
  • There are major differences between the various planets in our Solar System
  • Earth has the right conditions needed for life to exist.
  • There are major attributes that help determine what kind of conditions are on a planet (ie. distance from Sun, type of atmosphere, type of planet, etc)

Advanced understanding:

  • Describe the interiors of the gas giants (increasing density, pressure, and temperature with depth), and how Neptune and Uranus differ from Jupiter and Saturn
  • Describe how the atmosphere can change the conditions on the surface of a rocky planet (ie. the thick, mostly CO2 atmosphere of Venus creates a runaway greenhouse effect, while Mercury has no atmosphere and therefore no weather patterns to even out the temperatures of the planet).
  • Describe how the rotation and tilt of a planet can change the conditions on a planet (ie. Earth is slightly tilted and therefore has seasons, Jupiter’s fast rotation helps propel the clouds into bands and vortexes).
Human Space Exploration  (Year 4-13)

We want students to understand that:

  • It is important for humans to learn to adapt to different places (ie. Moon, Mars, etc)
  • Comparing our planet to other environments helps us learn more about the conditions needed for life
  • The different features that we find (craters, rocks, etc) can tell us a lot about the history of a place

Advanced understanding:

  • Discuss different ways to adapt to conditions on the Moon and/or Mars
  • Discuss what types on environments on the Moon and/or Mars are best suited for us to live in.

Unmanned Space Exploration  (Year 4-13)

We want students to understand that:

  • Machines are able to explore space more easily than humans.
  • Each machine is designed to learn certain information about the object it is studying.
  • The information the machines send back is very important for our understanding of the Solar System and our own planet.

Advanced understanding:

  • Describe the decisions behind why certain instruments were chosen for various space probes
  • Describe the difference between fly-bys, landers, and orbiters
Night Sky Watching  (Year 4-13)

We want students to understand that:

  • When we look at our sky, we are seeing objects in our atmosphere as well as objects out in space.
  • We use constellations to help us find our way around the night sky.
  • The objects in the sky appear to rise and set (or circle around) due to the spinning of the Earth.

Advanced understanding:

  • Discuss why we see different constellations at different times of year.
  • Discuss why the planets, Sun, and Moon appear to follow a line (the ecliptic) in our sky.
Smaller Solar System Objects  (Year 7-13)

We want students to understand that:

  • There are many other smaller objects in the Solar System, including moons, asteroids, comets, and meteorites.
  • Many moons in the Solar System are quite different from each other.
  • Many of the asteroids and other small objects are left over from the early formation of our Solar System.
  • Many of these smaller objects are grouped together in certain areas of the Solar System

Advanced understanding:

  • Describe the differences between an asteroid and comet
  • Describe the difference between a meteoroid, meteor, and meteorite
Deep Space (Year 7-13)

We want students to understand that:

  • Our Solar System is just a small area in the huge expanse of space
  • There is a relationship between nebulae, the lives of stars, and our Solar System
  • Our galaxy is one of many galaxies, which all contain many stars, and many of those stars have planets orbiting them.

Advanced understanding:

  • Discuss what types of objects can be found beyond our Solar System
  • Discuss how nebulae form various types of stars and solar systems
  • Discuss the cyclical nature of nebula star death of star back to nebula
Extrasolar Planets, Aliens and UFOs  (Year 7-13)

We want students to understand that:

  • Our mind and eyes can be fooled into believing something without knowing the full story behind a picture.
  • It is extremely difficult to travel between different stars and solar systems due to the vast distances in space.
  • Only certain planets will have the requirements needed for life.

Advanced understanding:

  • Discuss what kinds of planets are suitable for life
  • Discuss what kinds of stars are suitable for planets with life
  • Discuss methods used to search for extraterrestrial life
Stellar Lifcycles (Year 10-13)

We want students to understand that:

  • Stars are formed from primordial gas and dust
  • The size and temperature of a star is determined by its mass and the forces of gravity and radiation, and its evolution depends on its initial mass
  • Large stars ‘burn’ hot and have short lives; small stars ‘burn’ cooler and have long lives •Supernova explosions signal the ‘death’ of massive stars
  • Neutron stars, Black Holes, White Dwarfs and Red Dwarfs are the end-results of stars of different masses

Advanced understanding:

  • Discuss the energy deriving from nuclear fusion that makes stars shine
  • Discuss how large stars fuse heavier elements in shells from the surface down to iron in their cores
  • Discuss the Herzsprung-Russell diagram, showing the relation between stellar luminosity and stellar mass
  • Discuss the main sequence on the Herzsprung-Russell diagram, and the course of different mass stars
History of Astronomy  (Year 7-13)

We want students to understand that:

  • Astronomy, like so many other sciences, is a process that builds upon the ideas of those that came before us.
  • There are several pivotal discoveries and theories that have helped us understand our universe as it is today

Advanced understanding:

  • Discuss why some previous theories may have come to the wrong conclusion.