Constellations and Myths:
Grade level: 3rd – 5th
Subject: Integrate Social Studies; Language Arts; Earth Science
Note: The topic of constellations is addressed in the third grade Earth Science standards but fifth graders are very interested in them as well. A study of constellations is a good way to tie social studies, language arts and science together.
3rd grade Earth Science
4 Objects in the sky move in regular and predictable patterns. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a Students know the patterns of stars stay the same, although they appear to move across the sky nightly, and different stars can be seen in different seasons.
The Language Arts and Social Studies standards will vary depending on how you modify the activity to fit your LA and Social Studies program. Below are some of the Language Arts standards that my be appropriate.
Narrative Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text
3.2 Comprehend basic plots of classic fairy tales, myths, folktales, legends, and fables from around the world.
3.3 Determine what characters are like by what they say or do and by how the author or illustrator portrays them.
1.0 Writing Strategies
Organization and Focus
1.1 Create a single paragraph:
a Develop a topic sentence.
b Include simple supporting facts and details.
1.2 Write legibly in cursive or joined italic, allowing margins and correct spacing between letters in a word and words in a sentence.
Evaluation and Revision
1.4 Revise drafts to improve the coherence and logical progression of ideas by using an established rubric.
2.0 Writing Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics)
2.1 Write narratives:
a Provide a context within which an action takes place.
b Include well-chosen details to develop the plot.
c Provide insight into why the selected incident is memorable.
5th grade Language Arts Social Studies standards will vary depending on how you modify the activity to fit your LA and Social Studies program. Below are some LA standards that may be appropriate. Constellations are not addressed in the Earth Science standards for 5th grade.
Organization and Focus
1.1 Create multiple-paragraph narrative compositions:
a Establish and develop a situation or plot.
b Describe the setting.
c Present an ending.
1.4 Create simple documents by using electronic media and employing organizational features (e.g., passwords, entry and pull-down menus, word searches, a thesaurus, spell checks).
2.1 Write narratives:
a Establish a plot, point of view, setting, and conflict.
b Show, rather than tell, the events of the story.
Creating an oral story
a Living Story) 3rd grade. The link will take you to the html version
of the lesson. There is also a pdf version available here.
Standards: 3rd grade English Language Arts 3.2, 3.3
Overview: Students sit in a circle on floor. Each student gives a small part of the story one sentence at a time about one character (constellation) until each student has had three turns. Every round add one new character. Tape record the process. Retell the story once it is complete. Each day have students retell the story the best they can remember it. Each night they should tell it to their family. By the end of the week compare the story to the original that was taped.
Note: before you begin this activity discuss what a constellation is and show some pictures of them. Don’t tell the students the name of the constellation or what other people say it looks like. Ask, “What does this grouping of stars look like to you?” Then tell them what some people say it looks like and share the myth that goes with it. Check in your school/public library for books on constellation myths that would be grade appropriate. You may be able to find a constellation myth told by a Native American group that you are studying about in Social Studies. Listed at the end of this document and the link to the lesson are several constellation resources.
Pre/Post-Planetarium visit activity options
Write your own Constellation
Standards: 3rd grade Earth Science 4a; English Language Arts Reading-3.2, 3.3, Writing 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 2.1;
5th grade English Language Arts Writing 1.1, 2.1 and Social Studies varies
Objective: After constructing a constellation on paper, students will be able to hand write or type on a word processor a descriptive narrative myth explaining the origin of their original constellation adhering to their grade level writing guidelines.
Warm-up: Read a constellation myth to the class or students read to themselves and discuss it using the “Think-Pair-Share” model of cooperative learning. Remind students how myths can be created and why. (See the resource section for additional information about constellations.)
1. On Black construction paper students stick on star stickers in the form of their constellation. They may want to sketch out their constellation with a pencil on paper first to get it just right.
2. Write a myth for their constellation following the grade level writing guidelines. Illustrate the myth with their creation.
3. Students will share their first draft of their myth with another student for critique and then revise the draft.
4. Students will read their myth to the class and show their constellation.
5. Create a class book with everyone’s constellations and myths.
Integrate technology by having the students use a drawing program to create their constellations. Add color to enhance the image. Type their myth and use spell check and grammar check. Share with a buddy for review and critique, revise and then present; tell your myth to the class and show the constellation using a computer projection devise.
Create your own personal constellation
Lesson plan is found here. http://www.ips-planetarium.org/resources/ips-edlesson01.html
Creating Constellations 3rd grade Earth Science Standard 4a; Project ASTRO Resource Notebook: The Universe at your Finger Tips Activity F-7. To view sample lessons and to purchase the book go here: http://www.astrosociety.org/education/astro/astropubs/universe.html
These websites give information about constellations and images of some of them.
This website has a listing of a few books containing constellations myths from different cultures for grades K-6.
last updated: October 8, 2005
Webpage contact: Nick Strobel