All About Stars

14 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT identify a group of stars as a constellation.

Big Idea

What are stars and planets?

Setting the Stage

National Science Teaching Standards

Earth Science

  • Objects in the Sky

The stars are objects in the sky. Stars appear to twinkle in the night sky. Stars are big balls of hot gases. The hot gases give off light.  It is imperative that students learn that stars can appear on Earth depending on their sizes, heat, and closeness to Earth. We cannot see stars in the day due to the sunlight from the sun, but we can see them at night. Also, students learn that some stars form constellations. Constellations are a group of stars that form a picture. Also, it is important that students understand constellations so they understand that  stars can connect to show an image as well as tell a story. In Tennessee, educators teach second grade students about stars.

 ï»¿ï»¿Science and Engineering Practices: 

SP 8 addresses obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in K–2 which builds on prior knowledge, using text, and analyzing text.  Students communicate what they learn to others about the information that they obtained from the lesson and additional research. This lesson affords the students the opportunity to discuss stars, planets, and constellations.

Prior Knowledge:

Students recognize objects in the sky such as: Sun, Moon, birds, clouds, and airplanes. They know that the Sun provides light and heat so Earth can maintain its temperature. Also, they know that the Moon orbits around the Moon in 28 days, almost a month. The Moon phases can be seen at different times. They also know that stars can be seen at night and are made of hot gases that give off light. Also, they know that constellations are a group of stars that form a star picture.


  • Constellation- Lab Sheet
  • 3 Star cups per table (circle, heart, and little dipper)- Teacher note- You should poke holes in the bottom of a paper cup. The holes should form a picture.  You should shine the flashlight inside the cup and the students should notice a constellation. 
  • Flashlight
  • Black construction paper
  • Masking Tape
  • Chalk


10 minutes

At their desks, students sing a song that the class sings at the opening of each science lesson.  This song motivates and engages my Junior Scientists at the beginning of each science lesson. During science lessons, I call my students scientists to empower students and make them dreamers and doers.

I call on a student to read our "I Can" statement for the day. While using an over-sized microphone, a scientist says, "I can identify and compare stars and constellations." The "I Can" statement helps students take ownership of the lesson as they put standards into context. The other students praise the student that reads the "I Can" statement by clapping.  I encourage students to give each other praise to boost their self-esteem.

To motivate the students, we play connect the dots. I use dots to draw a picture of an apple, car, and face. I ask children if they see a picture. Then I call on a volunteer to trace the pictures by connecting the dots. I explain to the students that you can make a picture by connecting the dots. When you do this with stars, it is called a constellation. Here is the  connect the dots, picture. I tell the students that there are 88 recognized constellations in the sky.

I pose the following questions: What are stars made of? Why do some stars look bigger at night than other stars? What are constellations? How are constellations formed? Why would it be hard to see stars during the day? I ask the students these questions to check for understanding. Also, I can reflect over their feedback and make adjustments as needed.

Students are invited to review the following terms: constellation and star.


25 minutes

My students proceed to their group tables when I say "we are on the move" and they stand and sing, We are on the Move. This routine helps my students to move to their table with very little distractions. This also helps my auditory learners who enjoy singing as well as my kinesthetic children who enjoy moving.  

When students get to their tables, they begin to assign their roles: a person to record, measure, and report. I assign the leader which is one of my advanced students. Leadership qualities are present. They put on their group labels with a clothes pin to ensure that I know each child's role.  I want all my students to take ownership of their learning, so assigning roles permits students to develop confidence in their roles as well as use their strengths to accomplish their group's goals. The groups are reminded of the group rules. The group rules are located at their table so they can reference them.

The lab sheet is present at the table. Scientists use lab sheets to record their information.  The lab sheet helps students begin to work and think like a scientist with very little guidance from me.

I inform the groups that they are going to look at the "star cups."  I show the groups an area that they use to observe their "star cup".  Teacher note: There should be a piece of black construction paper taped to the wall on which students can use to shine their "star cup."

I tell the groups: start with "star cup A", point the bottom of the cup toward the paper, shine the flashlight through the cup, record what you see on your lab sheet,  repeat with the other cups, communicate with your group what you observe.  Teacher note: You can observe how students complete the observation, Constellation,video.

As groups collaborate, I walk around the room to play the role of the facilitator. It is important that students lead their own investigation and I assist as needed to support their learning.  Questions are posed to check for understanding: How many dots do you see?; What are constellations?; What shapes do you see?;Why are you able to see to pictures?; When can you see stars?

When groups are finished looking at their "star cups", they are instructed to complete their lab sheet.  



10 minutes

While students are sitting at their desks, groups share their findings with the class. Groups are encouraged to communicate because this helps support the science skill, communication.  It is important that scientists learn that they can communicate through writing, drawing, and speaking. Here is an example of  Constellation-Student Work

 I provide the students with a piece of black construction paper and chalk. The students are encouraged to draw their very own constellation. They are instructed to draw images of stars, connect the dots, and name the picture with the provided chalk.  This serves as an assessment for the students. This activity permits students to create a model of a constellation through the use of art.

I take up the constellation. As I evaluate the students' work, I am checking to see that they draw stars, connect the dots, and name their constellation.