Navigating the Night Sky:
Planetarium show for Middle School Children
Pre-Show Activity 1
- Students will be introduced to at least twelve constellations.
- Students will be able to identify each one on a sky map.
It is very difficult to introduce and teach all the information and skills introduced in astronomy in three weeks. This activity will provide a method in which the teacher can extend the astronomy curriculum so as to include all lessons that are necessary.
- Area of the classroom, white board or bulletin board
- Stories about constellations and stars
- Draw a constellation on the board where it will not be erased, or put up a picture of one. Label it "Mystery Constellation" #1, #2, etc. Leave it up for a couple of days to create interest. (Use constellations that are in the night sky at the time of the year, fall, winter, etc.)
- After you feel enough interest has been generated, explain what your intentions are. (Two a month, map them etc.)
- Review what they know about constellations. Add anything you feel is necessary.
- Have children guess the name of the constellation. Write the names on the board as they are given.
- Tell a story about the constellation you have chosen.
- Ask again if children know what it is. Give more facts if necessary. (Name major stars...)
- Read stories related to that constellation or the stars contained within.
- Review the North Star, its location, why it is important, and other names for it.
Challenge students to find these constellations on their planetarium trip.
Source: Matt Merritt
© 1999 University of Washington
Revised: 22 August, 2001