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Teach your students about the constellations using this fun filled science activity pack! This packet is only recommended for teaching constellations in locations that are 40 DEGREES LATITUDE OR HIGHER! I live in the Northern Hemisphere, in New Jersey, USA (latitude 40oN) and these are the constellations we can see here. This packet does not cover Southern Hemisphere constellations!
When I teach the constellations, I show pictures of the ones highlighted in this packet but I really put a lot of focus on 2: the Big Dipper (which is actually an asterism) and Orion. Reasons: they are SO EASY TO SEE, they are HUGE, and they can be used to tell direction. I introduce the topic of constellations to my students using the slides in this packet. The slides describe stars, constellations, light years, star color and temperature, the Big Dipper, the North Star, Orion, Orion’s dog Canis Major, Leo, Taurus, Pegasus, Orion, Gemini, and the Great Bear. There are 2 student worksheets - one on the Big Dipper and the North Star, and the other is on Orion and his dog. Students connect the dots and are taught how to find each, how to find the North Star, and how to find the brightest star in the night sky: Sirius the dog star.
Make a fun constellation tube craft using paper towel tubes. Each student decorates his own tube and makes an Orion and Big Dipper disk to gaze at using their tube. Students must poke holes into the constellation patterns using a thumb tack in order to view the constellations (or this can be done by an adult.) Aim the tube at a bright window and hold up the constellation disk to see the bright stars of both constellations!
The next activity we do is called “Create Your Own Constellation.” Students throw 10 pennies on the worksheet and mark where each lands. From those “stars” they try to see a picture – is it an animal? An object? Draw what you see! I love seeing what my kids come up with! This activity helps students try to make pictures out of dots which is a skill they need to practice in order to see real constellations at night.
Next, we make 9 constellation cards along with an envelope to store the cards in. Each card displays a constellation star pattern on one side with the words, “Guess the constellation” and on the other side it shows the full picture. It also says the best time of year to view each constellation. The 9 cards display: Orion the Hunter and his dog, Leo the Lion, Taurus the Bull, Gemini the Twins, Pegasus the Winged Horse, The Great Bear, the Big Dipper, and Cassiopeia the Queen. I chose these because they are easy to see -although nothing is as easy to see as the Big Dipper and Orion! They are by far the 2 most impressive figures in the night sky!
There is a 3 page take home booklet describing exactly how to find all 9 flashcard constellations. Students can take these home and place a checkmark next to each constellation they find.
I made a 9 page dot-to-dot booklet to go along with the 9 constellation cards. Students do the dot to dot then use their constellation cards to figure out which constellation it shows. Booklet cover and answer keys included.
Teach your kids to keep looking UP!!!
Please note: these units are for the use of one educator.
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Sue from Science for Kids :)