1. Review the difference between a star, a constellation and a galaxy
2. Read several short examples of myths explaining constellations. There are several short myths on-line in the Universe activity section of StarChild. For a longer, more in-depth introduction, read a book such as Quillworker: A Cheyenne Legend by Terri Cohlene.
3. Show picture examples of constellations
8.5 by 11 white paper
8.5 by 11 black construction paper
8.5 by 11 construction paper, multiple colors
wide-mouth one hole punch or star stickers
colorful yarn (optional)
black umbrella (optional)
stick-on glow-in-the-dark stars (optional)
1. Place the students in groups of two or three
If using a hole punch, give each group a piece of white paper and a piece of black construction paper
Instruct the groups to use a pencil and plot out their own original constellation on the white paper
Once the constellation has been created, instruct the students to place the white paper on top of the black paper
Using a one hole punch, the students should make a hole in both sheets of paper wherever they have made a pencil mark on the white paper
If using star stickers, give each group a piece of black construction paper. The students will create an original constellation directly on the paper using the stickers.
Now that the constellation is complete, each group will create a short myth to explain the constellation they created
Each group will read their myth to the class. The constellation should be on the overhead projector while the myth is being read.
Myth constellation book - Each group colorfully illustrates the myth and the constellation drawn on white paper. Collect both the myth and the constellation from each group. Using a binding technique such as an Ibico machine, bind the work to create a class book. Place it in a large Ziplock bag and allow students to check it out to share with their families.
Myth constellation quilt - Each group colorfully illustrates the myth. The myth is glued on to a piece of construction paper. The constellation on the black paper is also glued to a piece of construction paper (the construction paper should now be showing through the holes if a hole punch was used). Make holes one-half inch from the edge. Place two holes on each long side and one hole on the top and bottom. Make sure the holes are located in the same place on each myth and constellation. Tie the various pieces of work together with colorful yarn. Hang completed quilt on the wall.
Constellation umbrella - Open a large black umbrella. Looking at the underside, let the center of the umbrella represent the North Star. Using glow-in-the-dark stars form the various constellations on the panels of the umbrella.