Steal an opportunity to bond with your children and head outside for a walk to explore the night sky. Point out various stars and constellations to your child and discuss the origin of their names and the people that inspired those names. Whether you're responsible for educating an entire class of students or simply looking to share a fun activity with your family on the weekend, several ideas and options are available.
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Paint Speck Constellations
Paint speck constellations require little time and few materials. Newspaper, white construction paper, paint and brushes and pencils are necessary items. Have a book or copies of various constellations on hand for visual reference and locate one constellation you wish to replicate. Begin by opening up newspaper on the work area and placing a sheet of paper into the centre of it. Next, dip a paintbrush into one colour of paint, careful to allow excess paint to drip off the brush. Move the brush over the paper and gently tap it, to shake off specks of paint. Use various colours to re-create the stars in the pattern if desired. Allow to dry and connect the dots with a pencil to form the full shape. Paint in the form and use a marker to write the name.
Make a Planetarium
You can make your own planetarium in the classroom or at home. Required items are a shoebox, scissors, a pen or pencil, star chart and tape, a needle or pin, flashlight, and two to four thick books. Grab a piece of white paper and open a reference book to copy a picture of a constellation. Next, draw the dots on and use the pin to poke out holes. Cut a hole out of one end of the shoe box--just big enough to fit the flashlight and a rectangle out of the other end. Put one of the constellation papers over the rectangle hole and tape into place. Stack the books on top of each other, insert the flashlight into its hole and prop it up. Turn off all room lights and turn on the flashlight, shine the image onto a blank wall or closet.
Create Your Own Constellations
Kids and families can spend some quality time together and stretch their imaginations by creating their own constellations. Children enjoy expressing their creativity and making up stories. To begin, review the constellations named after people, primarily mythological figures from long ago. Tell everyone to pretend that those same constellations now don't have any names. Point out their shapes, sizes and locations in the night sky and then spark a conversation about your own family, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents and siblings. Ask kids to share which constellations they think match particular family members and what they would rename the constellation in honour of their favourite person.
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