One of my favorite things to do on warm summer nights is gaze at the stars. First, I would look for the big dipper. It’s always the easiest to find. Then, I would try and remember all those other constellations I read about, but now couldn’t recall or find in all those tiny lights in the inky dark sky.
I still love to star gaze. I’m trying to instill that love into my kids. Perhaps they would enjoy it more if they knew what they were looking at. I’m planning a little summer constellation unit study this summer.
Constellation Study Resources
My goal is to get the kids to learn about a few of the constellations before we go outside searching for them. It’s always more exciting when you actually know something about what you are looking for.
A good place to start is the Simple Schooling Summer Constellations study download from CurrClick.com. (Right now, it’s only 99 cents!!) The Summer Constellation download teaches students the stories behind the constellations and how to recognize them in the sky.
You can find more constellation and astronomy resource links on The Homeschool Scientist’s Astronomy Pinterest board.
Hands On Constellation Study Ideas
To get students to remember what constellations look like, have them make their own. Try making a constellation viewer or a constellation model with marshmallows and toothpick. (Personally, I’m a big fan of any project that uses marshmallows. One for the project, one for me.)
You can make your own constellation viewer with a paper towel roll, aluminum foil cut in 4 inch squares, a sharpie and a toothpick.
Trace the outline of the paper roll on the middle of a piece of foil. Draw the constellation you are studying. Wrap the foil around the end of the paper roll. With the toothpick, make holes in the foil where the stars are drawn.
Look into the open end of the viewer and aim toward a light source. You should see your constellation!
Marshmallow models can be fun for all ages.
Star Gazing Tips
So, you’ve studied the constellations and know what to look for in the night sky. You are ready to star gaze. Here are some tips to make your experience successful.
Find a location away from city lights.
Allow your eyes time to acclimate to the dark. It usually takes 40 minutes for eyes to fully acclimate.
Check the weather forecast. Make sure the skies are clear.
Dress for the weather. Early and late summer nights can be cool.
Pack Bug Spray
Consider purchasing a telescope.
Are you ready to star gaze? Have a great time!
For more of the Summer Science series…..
Experimenting With Heart Rate
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