Naturally Educational » 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, History and Culture, Mathematics, Science, Smart Summer Challenge » Constellations: Stars in Your Eyes and in the Skies
As far back as we know, people have looked at the night skies and seen pictures in the stars. Before modern navigation technology, it was essential for ship’s captains to know their stars. Now, it is still a lot of fun to find the constellations in the night sky.
This simple activity is a fun way to learn more about the constellations.
- an image of the stars in a constellation (We used the constellation connect the dots from Enchanted Learning that are available to subscribers. You can find free ones at Making Learning Fun (Orion and the Big Dipper) or you can trace them from a book.)
- yellow or white crayon
- watercolor paints
- star stickers (optional)
1. Using a light-colored crayon (yellow or white work well but you could use any light color), connect the stars of the constellation. Older children could also add in additional “features” to aid recognition of the constellation.
(Connect the dots is not much of a number recognition and counting challenge for school-aged children but it is good practice for preschoolers and kindergartners.)
2. If you use stickers that will not absorb the water color paint, such as foam or foil, add them at this point.
(Stickers are great, by the way, for fine motor control…a skill kindergarten teachers say is lacking in many young children these days. The pincer grasp they use for the stickers comes in handy when learning to hold a writing implement.)
3. Fill in with black and/or blue watercolor paint.
My daughter wanted her paint to stay in the box so we broke out the painters’ tape for her next constellation:
My daughter said that she could spot Orion the Hunter in the stars but thought that Leo looked less like a lion and more like a pony:
I agree! We talked a little bit about how people would look at the stars and see the stories or animals that were important to them. Different people at other times in various cultures might see something completely different.
She said she wanted to make a fairy constellation so I think that will be a project, soon!
Since we were talking about Orion, we went and read his legend in our D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths.
Two other great sources of images of and legends about the constellations are Once Upon a Starry Night: A Book of Constellations and Zoo in the Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations, both by Jacqueline Mitton.
Here are our finished projects:
This post is part of the Smart Summer Challenge–we’re encouraging you to beat the summer vacation slide with fun, everyday learning activities! You can take just 10 minutes a day to find the educational opportunities all around us or get as elaborate as you like! Whatever you do, we invite you to share your experiences each week in our linky, which goes up every Friday during the challenge and stays open through Thursday.
Find out more about the Smart Summer Challenge and grab our free calendar of summer learning ideas, and “like” the Smart Summer Challenge page on Facebook.
Find more great ideas from your hostesses, Candace of Naturally Educational (that’s me!), Amy of TeachMama.com, and MaryLea of Pink and Green Mama!
Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, History and Culture, Mathematics, Science, Smart Summer Challenge · Tags: Astronomy, Constellations, Space, Stars