Are you looking for a fun way to teach about our amazing stars and constellations in 2nd or 3rd grade? I love combining mythology and stars to learn about constellations.
How & When:
Depending on my reading block (or this can be done during a shorter science block), I will teach about 1-2 constellations a day.
We start by talking about the solar system as a whole, what a star is, and how there are so many stars in the sky. Then, I introduce the book we will use.
Each day we read aloud about ONE or TWO new constellations. When I read aloud, I have students close their eyes and imagine the characters in their minds. I typically do NOT show them the book, but rather have them form their own picture in their minds like people used to do.
Since each constellation typically only is about one or two paragraphs long, I will read the passage of the day 2-3 times. When students have a good image in their head, they go back to their seats and draw and write about what we learned. Typically, I make sure they write a 3-4 sentence summary of the character, then will have them color their picture with tons of details and colors.
Once they all finish, I read the passage one more time and show them the picture. They get so excited for this “big reveal”.
Each day, I start the book over at the beginning. I have them practice summarizing each character before I read each page. Then, we revisit the character by reading the page before learning about our new character of the day.
This is a great way to practice both mythology and summarizing important parts of a story. Plus, it is so fun!
We finish our project by making our own constellations with our own stories. To do this, I simply give students a black sheet of paper, white crayons and sometimes q-tips with white tips (depending on how brave you are!) I then let students write their story about their constellation and publish their work in the hallway.
Another fun extension is reaching out the local children’s museum and inviting the star lab to come visit. This is a huge bubble that they blow up, and they go over each constellation that we have learned about.
Finally, if you are looking for a fun end of year unit, we love to watch the movie Hercules as a class. Students love to see a familiar character, and when allowed, movies make a great reward for classes that have worked hard.
What are your favorite ways to talk about the stars and constellations in 2nd or 3rd grade? Drop them in the comments below!