Grade: Elementary
Subject: Science

Teachers.Net Lesson Plans

#69. Mapping the constellations

Science, level: Elementary
Posted by Susan A. Smith (
Pat Henry Elem., Lawton, OK, (US)
Activity Time: 1 hour or two 45 minutes timeperiods
Concepts Taught: Space, science

When working with constellations the kids need to see a relevant star chart. I found one that is divided into the latitudes and the seasons. You pick the latitude you live in. I xeroxed the map and had the kids cut them out. Each map was in two sections, northern sky and southern sky. They glued the pieces together so it becomes a circle.

We talked about the constellations we knew, Little dipper, Draco, etc. Then we used straight pins to punch out the major stars in each constellation. We only punched out the ones we talked about.
For each seaon we picked one or two that were not close to each other. That way they wouldn't run together. After there were eight constellations used we turned the paper over and connected the dots to make the shape of each constellation. They are backwards. We then used this shape to punch holes in the bottom of drink cans. When they look into the can the constellation is correctly viewed and the can is used to locate the same constellation in the sky. The kids use a flashlight to see through the can if it is not easy to see through with the sky lights. They learned that spotting the stars is easier because they have a good reference to use.