Getting your feet wet with catalogs and plots at IRSA
Based in part on Gliese Catalog Explorations, this activity suggestion works with the Gliese-Jareiss catalog to (a) get comfortable with working with catalogs and plots at IRSA and (b) explore an optical color-magnitude diagram, as well as using SIMBAD.
This PASP paper presents an updated version of the Gliese-Jareiss catalog of nearby stars. In order to get this source list into IRSA tools, you need to get it into IPAC Table Format, which is just ASCII but it has to have the right formatting. If you get it "close enough" to IPAC table format, you can pass it through IRSA's IPAC Table Validator which can make formatting corrections. [Here] is the IPAC table I constructed from these sources. I don't know if the wiki will preserve the formatting of that sufficiently, so you may wish to save it, make sure it has a .tbl extension, and pass your copy through the Table Validator to be safe.