Basically, I love all things astronomy (here's another kids' craft and a storytime), so it was only a matter of time before I got an actual astronomer in here to talk about constellations.
[Insert picture of Astronomer lecturer here...]
Yeah, I forgot to take a picture. So you'll just have to believe me.
Anyway, I was able to find a willing expert astronomer from our local astronomy club. He talked to the kids for about fifteen minutes on some popular constellations and their history. Here's some visual stimuli:
And with that introduction, the kids were free to begin our craft: constellation viewers!
Super simple, but lots of fun. The kids loved it. Here were the supplies needed:
The steps to make them are pretty easy; I got the idea and the instructions from Momma Owl's Lab. Basically, choose which of the constellations you want, cut out the circle and glue it to some black paper. On a piece of cardboard (or something to stop the pin), the kids poked out the holes for the constellation. The we rubber-banded the paper to the toilet paper tube. They could also be decorated with markers and stickers.
Here's the view:
Pretty cool, right?? They're TOTALLY awesome and I love them.
The constellation sheet comes from space.about.com, but they're backwards. Which is to say, they're correct, but since we're looking through the tube at the back, they needed to be inverted. So I went ahead and made a sheet where the constellations are inverted, but their titles are still readable.
So I would say this program was a total success. The kids made a couple of viewers in the time they had at the library, but they also could take home the rest of the constellations and make more there.
Also, books were available for check-out!
NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the UniverseWritten by Terence Dickinson
Scholastic Discover More: Night SkyWritten by Giles Sparrow
A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky Written by Michael Driscoll, illustrated by Meredith Hamilton