Use this Stars lesson plan to learn about the stars in the Milky Way galaxy. You get an introduction to constellations and can print Constellation ID cards to use then you go start gazing with children.
Free printable star constellation guide for children
On this lesson children can:
:: learn what a star is
:: learn key facts about stars in the Milky Way galaxy
:: learn what a constellation is
:: learn how to go star gazing
:: use printable Constellation Cards to identify key constellations
:: use a printable Star Alphabet for literacy games and to make a constellation of their own name
Space Unit lesson plans and printables
This Space Unit gives you a five-day programme of lessons to learn about planets, stars, our solar system and our galaxy with your children.
This unit is the fifth week of our free Homeschool Curriculum which gives you a year-round programme of all-planned-and-prepped-for-you thematic lesson plans.
This Space Unit is also available as a pack you can download and print out. You’ll get all the lessons, activities and all the printables.
Alternatively, if you’re not a Supporter, you can purchase this unit as a stand alone item here.
What is a star?
On the first day of our Space Unit we learnt that we live in a solar system where Earth and the other planets all orbit our sun. Did you know our sun is a star? Let’s learn more about stars and how we group them together in constellations.
A star is a huge ball of gas. They are mostly made of hydrogen and helium and it’s the burning of the hydrogen through a process called nuclear fusion that makes them very, very hot. This process creates light and heat, which is why we can see the sun and feel its warmth.
There are over 200 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy and the nearest one to us is our sun. After our sun, our nearest star is one called Proxima Centauri and it’s 39.9 trillion km away.
Stars are between 1 and 10 billion years old. They vary in colour depending how hot they are. The hottest stars appear blue, moving through white, yellow, orange, red to brown as they cool.
When we look at stars in the night sky, the Earth’s atmosphere, wind, and temperature makes it look like they twinkle.
What is a constellation?
The stars we see in our sky are grouped together in constellations. People who have studied stars imagined the stars as dots being joined together by invisible lines to form patterns and pictures, like a connect the dots picture in the sky. The shapes formed by the groups of stars looked like animals, people, and objects and were given names.
You can see examples of these groups on the printable Constellation Cards, which include Leo, a lion; Taurus, a bull with two horns; and the twins, Gemini.
Two constellations which are often easy to pick out in the night sky are the Big Dipper, which looks like a soup ladle (or in the UK it’s also called the Plough) and the three stars that for the belt of Orion the Hunter, with his bow and arrows held high.
Stars have been very important to people throughout the world and throughout time. They are used in religions, in astrology star signs, to design calendars, and to navigate journeys on land and sea.
Are stars important in your family’s religion or culture?
On a clear night, when there are no clouds in the way, you can look up at the sky and see stars. You don’t need to use a telescope but it’s best to star gaze in a place where there are few electric lights, so out in the countryside is better than in a city.
Try star gazing this week. Take the printable Star Cards out with you and see if you can locate the Big Dipper and Orion constellations.
You can also look for the moon and you might see the planet Venus too, which is the second brightest object in the night sky after the moon.
You can also invent your own constellations: lie down on a blanket and spend a while looking at the stars in the sky.
What patterns and shapes can you see?
What would you call your constellation?
Draw them in your nature journal.
Use the Star Alphabet Cards printable for spelling practice this week.
You can make a space sensory writing tray by adding black food colouring to salt. Once dry, set out the black salt in a shallow tray and use your finger or a pencil to write letters and words in the tray. Use the Star Alphabet to spell out words and then copy them in writing in the sensory tray.
Make a constellation of your name. On a black piece of card, stick down the letters from the Star Alphabet that spell your name. Join them up to with a pencil line to create your own constellation.
Use the Constellation Cards printable alongside the sensory writing tray and copy out the constellation patterns so you can become familiar with their shape. Then head out at night and see if you can see them in the sky.
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