Pre Field Trip Resources

The activities listed below offer opportunities for teachers to introduce some of the basic aspects of LIGO science in advance of a field trip to the Observatory. LIGO doesn't assume any particular level of knowledge when students arrive on the field trip -- teachers should view these activities as optional. Should teachers do any of these at school, LIGO will build these experiences into the points of emphasis that we supply while students are here for the visit.

Visits to Your Classroom

We can bring a LIGO-related classroom lesson to your location. Some teachers have requested this service prior to a LIGO field trip while others have used it to help develop a 'science in the real world' context for units on physics, earth science, astronomy, or geometry. Visits to schools are available at no charge, courtesy of the National Science Foundation's support of LIGO.  

Contact LIGO via for more information and to request a visit.

LIGO Hanford Observatory Home Page

This is the website for LIGO Hanford, the field trip destination. Sift through this site to become familiar with LIGO's science goals, detector operations and public outreach programs.

LIGO Scientific Collaboration Home Page

The website for LIGO's 800(+) member international collaboration, presenting additional LIGO resources and materials. Here you'll catch some of the international flavor of the project.

LIGO Tutorial

This brief PDF offers a description of LIGO for teachers and upper level students, including a discussion of lasers, interferometers and gravitational waves.

Scaling the Earth's Atmosphere

This earth-science activity develops the concept of scale for middle and high school students. It prepares students for an astronomy scaling activity at LIGO.

Return to the main Field Trip page

For questions or additional information about field trips, call LIGO's outreach personnel at 509-372-8248 or send an email to