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Constellations for Kids: Projects & Activities

Instructor: Nicky Davis
Studying the constellations is an excellent way to introduce kids to astronomy and the science of space. Read on to find fun projects and activities to help get kids excited about the constellations.

Exploring the Constellations: Activities and Projects for Kids

The projects below are designed to get kids thinking about the stars in the sky as well as the ancient scientists and astronomers who named them. Have fun getting creative in the classroom!

Ceiling Full of Stars

Materials:

  • Black or dark blue construction paper or butcher paper
  • Glow-in-the-dark pens, glitter pens or sequins
  • A star map

Recreate the night sky on your classroom ceiling with this art project. Assign each student a constellation to draw on a piece of construction paper. They can sketch it out first and then use glitter, glow in the dark pens, or sequins to create star points. Then, using a star map, work together to place the constellations in the right part of your classroom's 'sky'. Once all the stars are in place, turn the lights out and 'star gaze'. You can also ask students to research the myth associated with their constellation and share it with the class during the star gaze.

Connect the Dots

Materials:

  • Constellation work sheets (these can be hand drawn and then simply photo copied)

This exercise is similar to a word search. Give students worksheets filled with star points and have them find the constellation within those points and connect the dots. Once they've drawn the constellation, encourage them to decorate the shape to look more like the myth or item it's named after.

Create a Telescope

Materials:

  • Paper towel tubes or cardstock of medium thickness
  • Tape
  • Markers, crayons, and other art supplies for decorating

Encourage the budding astronomers in your class by helping them create their own personal telescopes. If using cardstock, students can decorate it first. Then, have them roll their piece of cardstock into a tube, making sure the opening sits comfortably over their eye. Once they tape the tube together along the seam, their telescope is ready to use! If using paper towel tubes, simply invite students to decorate and personalize their 'telescopes'. Next, send the astronomers home with their 'telescopes' to try them out that night. Have them keep a record of the constellations they observe with their telescope and report back to class the next day.

Making a Myth

Materials:

  • None

For this activity, assign each student a constellation. Ask them to not only research the myth that inspired it, but also create their own explanation for where this constellation came from. Invite students to share the two myths with the class, and see if they can guess which is the true origin story.

Bulletin Board Constellations

Materials:

  • Bulletin boards
  • Thumbtacks
  • String or yarn

Use a bulletin board to map out a new constellation for the class. The thumbtacks can serve as major star points, and you can use yarn to connect the dots. Once the constellation is complete, have students come up with stories to explain its origin and write them on notecards. Affix them to the bulletin board around the constellation, and finish the activity by sharing the real myth behind it.

Astronomy Resources

Interested in helping your students learn more about the history of astronomy and the constellations? Study.com has plenty of self-paced resources you can use to supplement classroom instruction.

The video lessons in this Astronomy for Kids chapter break down the big concepts for young students, and serve as a great introduction to our solar system and the science of astronomy.

You might also consider using this chapter on Stars to discuss factors affecting their brightness or methods for determining their size. This Life Cycle of Stars chapter can walk students through the characteristics of giant stars, neutron stars, supergiant stars and more.

If you're interested in teaching the History of Astronomy, check out the fun and easy-to-digest video lessons about historical astronomy and early astronomical theories as well as major and zodiac constellations.

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