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Constellation Myths Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Abby Federico

Abby has taught elementary special education and has her master's degree in this area.

This lesson will give a brief overview of constellations. It will also then go into detail about the myths surrounding a few of the most popular constellations.

What are Constellations?

Have you ever looked up at the night sky? On a clear night you have probably seen many, many stars shining bright. Have you ever been able to find any shapes or patterns? Well if you look closely, and know what to look for, you might be able to see constellations!

Constellations are groups of stars that form a pattern. This pattern can look like people, animals, or objects. There are 88 constellations in all! However, you can't see them all at the same time. Which constellations you can see depends on whether you live in the northern or southern hemisphere (northern is above the equator and southern is below the equator) and what season it is.

People have looked at and studied constellations for thousands of years. Ancient cultures used to make up stories, or myths, about where the constellations came from and why they were in the sky. We are going to look at five of the most popular constellations and the myths behind them.

Constellation Myths

Orion

Orion is one of the most popular constellations because it can be seen almost anywhere. Orion is also known as 'The Hunter.' There are many myths about Orion. One of them said that he was bragging about how many animals he could kill, and was banished to the sky. Another says that he fell in love with a goddess and was killed by the goddess's brother. A final myth says that he was killed by a scorpion's sting (Scorpio, the Scorpion, is also a constellation).

Orion the Hunter
Orion

Draco the Dragon

Draco was said to be a dragon that had a hundred heads! He was in charge of protecting a golden apple tree for the Queen of the Gods, but he fell asleep on the job and was then banished into the sky.

Pegasus

Pegasus is one of the most popular figures in Greek mythology. He was a flying horse, who loved rescuing people, especially wounded Greek soldiers. One day the Greek God, Zeus, decided to take Pegasus to live with him. They soon became best friends, and Zeus would ride Pegasus through the stars.

Pegasus
Pegasus

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