DIY Constellation Maps

Last updated: 03-13-2018

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DIY Constellation Maps

This week #playfulpreschool theme is all about Night Time, as the days are getting shorter and the nights longer we’re finally seeing the night sky again after the summer break and the children are fascinated by it. At the moment we’re only seeing it first thing in the morning as it’s dusk when they head to bed but by the end of the month we will be able to explore it with our telescope and see first hand what we have been learning about this week.

Stars and the moon fascinate T and she likes waking up early and making patterns with dot to dot’s with the stars in the sky. J who is first grade has been long fascinated with space and all things related and has some great children friendly non-fiction books on the topic. With J’s help this week we worked on introducing non-fiction books as well as looking at what constellations were and making some of our own.

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A Shoe Box Torch Black Paper Needle Plastic food tray to help with piercing Masking Tape Scissors Pencil

Non-fiction book about the stars which includes some diagrams of constellations – we used the Big Book of Stars and Planets

Cut a hole in the base of the shoe box that will form the “frame” to hold in your star maps that you and your child will make.

On the shoe box lid cut out a hole that the torch will fit through and masking tape the torch securely in place.

Cut the black paper so that it fits securely inside the bottom of the shoe box

This week the learning that we focused on on the topic of Night Time were

Start out introducing the non-fiction book, explain that it is a fact book where you can find information, J helpfully explained to T that non-fiction books have contents and some have index and glossaries. Looking at our book they found together the pages about constellations.

Having an older child who is fascinated by space really helped up as he took over and read to T the information from the book, as he read she asked questions about words – and they looked at the pictures together saying what they thought each constellation looked like and then we read about the official names for the constellations and why they are called it – some like the Plough T thought looked like a saucepan, The Hunter Orion was a crab, but others like Sirius and the southern cross were easily recognisable as a dog and a cross.

Once we had read the information we set out making our own star maps that we could then use to display the constellations on the walls in the house. On the black paper I quickly marked the stars with a pencil copying the rough positions from the book – if you wanted to be accurate you could print out constellation maps from the internet and then use these to mark the stars on the black paper.

With the stars marked we then pricked them out of the paper. Placing the plastic meat tray underneath the paper marked with the stars using a needle prick out each star.

Taking the shoe box fix the star map to the bottom – T made a Big Dipper/The Plough star map and J made a Sirius star map – with some masking/low tack tape that you can easily remove and allow you to make multiple star maps and put them into place.

Switch on the torch and go into a dark room – the stars will show up on the black paper and you can aim the box at a wall or celling to show the stars.

We also found out that holding the box towards a window during the day we could see the stars clearly outlined – but of course the kids preferred to play with the shoe box constellation maps.

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Exploring how colours are made (no mess experiment using light)

Sea Turtle Conservation Lessons away from the Beach

This weeks theme for playful preschool is all about night time, pop on over to the other educational and parent bloggers sharing learning and creative ideas on this theme to inspire you for the week.

Glow in the Dark Letters Sensory Bin at Mom Inspired Life

The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh for ?#?PlayfulPreschool?at The Preschool Toolbox Blog

Night Owl Painting and Booksat The Educators’ Spin On It

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