This activity can be used in conjunction with the StarChild Universe Level 1 & Level 2 information
1. Recognize that patterns of stars can be observed in the sky
2. Understand that there are more stars in the sky than anyone can easily count
3. Recognize that the stars we see are not scattered evenly through the sky
4. Respond to literature through a variety of creative methods
5. Describe and express appreciation for various cultures represented in literature
background information on several constellations and constellation myths (attached)
black construction paper
overhead projector and screen
Initiate a discussion of constellations by reading to students (or directing them to read for themselves) the introduction to the Star Art activity found in Universe Level 2 of StarChild. Explain that many star groups were named for the people, animals, and objects our ancestors imagined seeing when they looked at the stars. Encourage students to share any information they possess about constellations. Display a constellation chart or pictures of starry skies as you read (or have students read) the attached constellation myths. Students should be made aware of the country or culture where the myths originated. Tell students they are going to create their own constellations and make up myths that explain how they came to be.
Students should close their eyes and imagine the night sky or look at the pictures on display for inspiration as they visualize their own star pattern. Once students are satisfied with their original constellations, they should "create" them by using toothpicks to poke holes in black construction paper. Remind students that a particular star group does not exist alone in the sky and that other stars, which are not part of their constellation, are always present. Students should also be reminded that stars vary in size and brightness. Size and brightness differences among stars can be reflected by varying the sizes of the holes punched in the construction paper. The students should then name their constellations and write myths that explain how they came to be. The activity culminates with students taking turns sharing their myths with classmates. Each construction paper constellation should be placed on the overhead and projected onto the screen in a darkened room as its accompanying myth is being shared.
Level 1 StarChild presents...The Life Cycles of Stars information and activity book "Star Sketches" activity. Available at http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/teachers/lifecycles/SC_main_p3.html.
Level 2 StarChild presents...The Life Cycles of Stars information and activity book "Star Signs" activity. Available at http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/teachers/lifecycles/SC_main_p13.html.