# Bright Stars: Creating Constellations in the Classroom

Science

3rd

## Lesson Objective

At the end of this lesson, students should be able to identify constellations and demonstrate understanding through the classroom activity.

## Common Core Standards

CCSS Math 3 GA 1 - Understand that shapes in different categories (e.g., rhombuses, rectangles, and others) may share attributes (e.g., having four sides), and that the shared attributes can define a larger category (e.g., quadrilaterals).

CCSS- ELA Literacy 3.10 - By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 2-3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

## Activity Materials

• String for each student
• Pieces of thin cardboard
• Cardboard paper towel tube
• Scissors
• Markers or crayons

## Introducing Bright Stars

Say:

• How many of you like to look at the stars? How many stars do you think are in the sky? Have you ever tried to count them? (Allow students to offer guesses and provide feedback.)
• Even the smartest scientists do not know the number of stars in our universe as there are too many to count. There are billions of stars in our galaxy, called the Milky Way. Each of those stars is as unique as each of you. They are different sizes and even shapes. Many of them even have names. Today, we will learn about our galaxy and the stars in the night sky. We'll also learn about what happens when the stars come together to create a big picture called a constellation.

You can introduce the class to the concept of galaxies and constellations by reading one of the following age-appropriate books:

• Galaxies, Galaxies by Gail Gibbons (ages 4-8)
• A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky: The Story of  Stars, Planets, and Constellations by Michael Driscoll (ages 5-9)
• Zoo in the Sky by Jacqueline Mitton and Christina Balit

As you read, engage students and point out terms you want the class to recall, such as "galaxy."

## Introduction to Activity

• What constellations do you know? (Allow a few students to respond.)
• Have you ever been to a planetarium to look at stars? (Have students respond by raising their hands.)
• Or what about looking through a telescope? (Have students respond by raising their hands.)

Be sure to allow students to discuss their experiences, building a discussion as it pertains to the topic.

Next, introduce famous constellations; as you show images of the constellations, say:

• Orion was a warrior, and Orion's Belt looks like a little boy wearing a belt. If you look to his side, he's carrying a sword, too.
• Have you seen the one that looks like a little house with a triangle roof? That's Cepheus the King.
• If you start at the point of Cepheus the King, you can find the star called Polaris. That's the constellation called Ursa Minor.
• The big dipper is made in part from one star called the North star.
• There are animals in the sky, too. There are two that look like bears. One is Ursa Minor, and the other is Ursa Major.
• Think about a few of your favorite constellations as we do this activity together.

## Activity

Say:

• Today you will be creating constellations to hang from the ceiling in our classroom. You will use thin cardboard to cut out your stars to do this. You can then color and string your stars together to create your constellation.
• Next, you will make your own telescope using a cardboard paper towel roll to view the different constellations in the classroom.

Steps to Create Constellations:

1. Hand out supplies and assign or let students choose their constellation.
2. Cut out stars from cardboard. (Each constellation will have a different amount of stars.)
3. Students may choose to color their stars.
4. String stars together in the shape of the constellation.
5. Hang constellations from the ceiling of your classroom.

Steps to Create Telescope:

1. Hand out supplies and let students color their cardboard paper towel rolls.

## Assessment

When the constellations are hung up, and each student has a telescope, they can experimentally play with their creations, looking up and identifying the stars.

To ensure students have learned about the constellations, you may have your students identify a constellation in your classroom via a verbal assessment or worksheet you can create based upon the created constellations.

Let your students take their telescopes home to encourage them to keep looking at the stars to explore the universe with their families at home.

Written by Melanie Barrozo
Education World Contributor