Lesson Plan - Get It!
Can you connect the dots? People have been doing this with the stars for thousands of years! What does the picture above look like to you?
You may already know a few constellations.
The Big and Little Dippers are two constellations that many people can find easily in the night sky. Have you ever seen them?
Constellations are stars "connected" to make pictures in the sky. Since ancient times, astronomers have looked at the stars and connected them into meaningful pictures. These pictures were used to tell myths and stories, and they were also used to help astronomers find their position in the solar system. Today, astronomers think that constellations were invented around three thousand years ago.
Our sky is made up of 88 constellations, total. Depending on the position of the Earth, different stars are hidden from Earth’s view. Since the Earth spins on its axis and rotates around the sun, we face different directions depending on the time of year. Constellations helped astronomers figure out the Earth’s rotation patterns.
Check out this Neave Interactive Ltd. Planetarium of the stars and see if you recognize any of the constellations. Point on the stars to see how they connect and click on the sky to see how it changes (Requires Adobe Flash Player).
Watch these Crash Course Kids videos to learn more about constellations!
Continue on to the Got It? section to turn your ceiling into the night sky!