Constellations Activity for kids
By the end of this project, students should be able to:
- "Connect the dots" to form constellations from stars
- Compare their perspectives to the perspectives of other students and ancient peoples
- Recognize a few famous constellations, and know the myths behind them
- Look up and understand simple scientific data
- Create simple stories about their constellations (follow-up activity)
Students should know what a star is. They should have a basic understanding of coordinates, both x and y and longitude and latitude. They should be able to use graph paper. They should be comfortable using web browsers, pointing and clicking, and navigating between windows.
- Astronomer - a person who studies the sky
- Constellation - a shape in the sky, made by connecting stars
- Hemisphere - half of the Earth
- Light-year - the distance light travels in one year (9, 458, 000, 000, 000 kilometers)
- Magnitude - a number that describes how bright a star appears. Smaller numbers mean brighter stars.
Students will need two handouts to complete the activity: the simple dove/horse constellation picture, and a grid on which to outline their constellation. Print out enough copies of "The Dove Constellation" for half your students, and "The Horse Constellation" to the other half. Then show all the students the star pattern without the dove or horse name, either printed on a transparency or on the "Simple Made-Up Constellation" page of the project. All three versions of the handout are listed below.
When students make their constellations to find in SkyServer, they will need to plot their stars on a regular grid. Students can use graph paper, or they can use the Grid file below. Print out one copy of the grid for each student.
You should be able to set up this project quickly. Before the project starts, print out enough copies of the dove handout for half your students, and the horse handout for the other half. Print out a copy of the constellation grid for each student. Before students arrive in the computer lab, load the