Stars and Constellations Lesson Plan

Grade: 3rd
Time: 25 minutes
Subject/Topic: Science/Stars
Standard: Demonstrate how a large light source at a great distance looks like a small light that is much closer.
Objective: Students will be able to describe that light sources at great distances appear smaller.
·         Big Dipper Template
·         Ursa Major (The Stars)
·         Ursa Major (The Great Bear)
·         Star Patterns worksheet
·         Pencil
Introduction: Have the students sit on the floor in front of the smart-board. Ask the students if anyone saw the moon last night or this morning. Ask them what else they might see in the sky during the night besides the moon (stars).
1.      Ask the students what a star is (burning ball of gas)
2.      What is the closest star to Earth? (the sun)
3.      Why do stars look so small if they are burning gas? (they are further away)
4.      If you are walking to the park and you see trees, the trees look small. What happens as you get closer to the park? (the trees get bigger) That’s because things that are farther away look smaller than they actually are.
5.      Today we are going to talk about stars.
6.      What do you call a group of stars in the sky? (constellation)
7.      Show the big dipper picture on the doc cam
8.      Does anyone know what this group of stars is called? (the big dipper) A long time ago people thought that this group of stars looked like a dipper, which is a big spoon. Maybe you’ve used it for punch or soup with a ladle. It has a big scoop and a long handle.
9.      Show Ursa major (stars) on doc cam
10.  Raise your hand when you can find the big dipper in this constellation, look for the scoop and handle.
11.  Can you see a bear in this constellation?
12.  Call on a student to show you where the bear’s feet might be.
13.  Show Ursa Major (the bear) on the doc cam. We call this constellation Ursa Major. Someone a long time ago thought that this group of stars looked like a bear.
14.  When you look at this constellation, do you notice anything unusual about this bear? (this bear has a long tail)
15.  Many constellations have stories about them.
16.  This story is about Ursa Major (read the story)
17.  Hand out star patterns worksheet. Tell the students they are going to draw their own pictures in the stars. Encourage students to be creative.
18.  Tell students when they are done with the front page to design their own constellation on the back page and write a story about it.
19.  If time permits, have the students share in front of the class one of their constellations.
20.  Have the students turn in their papers.
Closure: “Today we learned about constellations but next class we will move on to planets.”
Assessment: Ask students what a constellation is and why stars look small to us. Have the students hand in their constellation sheets as well.
Management/Transitions:  Students will sit on the floor quietly then transition to their desks. Students will be seated in an appropriate spot, not by their friends to disturb the class.
ELL students may need assistance reading the constellation instructions.
Lower level learners will be guided in the class discussion by their peers and partners.
Higher level learners will be introduced to new, higher level vocabulary.