Friday, December 5, 2008

Teaching Constellations

If I had to pick the most favorite teaching moment of my teaching career, it would be teaching about Constellations.

I love teaching constellations because kids seem to have a real "need to know" about the night sky.

I always told them the story about how my Dad woke me up in the middle of the night when I was about eight years old (probably only 10 pm) and took me out in a row boat in the middle of Little Sand Lake in Michigan and taught me the constellations. Then I tell them, this is what being a parent is all about, making memories with your children they will revisit the rest of their lives.

They seem to relate to this and work very hard to learn them. I always had a Bonus Assignment during this time. They could find a constellation or group of constellations and sketch their house or some other landmark and add the constellations and bring it in for bonus points. What a great moment when a student comes in your class and says, "I saw Orion last night and it was HUGE!"

If you visit my Astronomy webpage, you can find the details for teaching Constellations.

Here is a quick summary of what I would typically do during Constellation days:

  1. Make a Star Wheel - I love leading students through the construction of a scientific tool!
  2. Teach How to Use a Star Wheel - worksheet, games, practice, etc.
  3. Constellation Lab - dot-to-dot activity that really teaches Constellations!
  4. Constellations PowerPoint - let them add extras to their Constellation Lab while they watch!
  5. Play more Star Wheel games!

CONSIDER THIS: Special teaching moments stay with you for your whole life. Add some teaching memories to your own life by teaching the wonder of the Universe, including Constellations!

Basic StarWheel
Cootie Catcher Constellations Fun!
A REALLY cool online PPT you can use on your Smartboard!

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