We are getting into a nice rhythm for our new home school year. Right now in Science we are learning about the Solar System – and I am happy to report, my kids find it just as cool as I do! After watching a star show in the planetarium at our local museum we decided to make some constellation cards to go with our newly learned Greek constellation myths.
The kids chose 4 constellations (well, 3 constellations and the Big Dipper) which we researched and then wrote our own (very simplified version) of constellation myths for kids. Madeline thought it would be cool to make constellation cards to accompany the myths. So we did – and they were super simple and have been so much fun!
To make the constellation cards:
we looked at pictures of the constellations from some books we have out from the library. I (subtly) suggested simple constellations to research so we could make the constellation cards without too much trouble. I drew dots where the stars were forming the constellation in thick paper. Madeline used a toothpick and poked out the holes. That’s it!
To use the constellation cards:
To use the constellation cards we held a flashlight in front of the cards in a dim room. The room doesn’t need to be dark (bit it is fun that way too!). We played with the distance of the light from the card, and the card from the wall to make our constellations bigger and smaller.
Here are our constellation myths for kids:
The Constellation Myth of Ursa Major for Kids
Zeus, King of the Gods, fell in love with Callisto and had a child named Arcas. This made Hera, Queen of the Gods upset. She turned Callisto into a bear. One day, Arcas went into the woods and found his Mother the bear. She greeted him by going up on her back legs, but Arca thought this meant he was under attach so he readied his bow. When Zeus saw this he turned Arca into a little bear and grabbed both Callisto and Arcas into the sky to keep them safe.
The Draco the Dragon Constellation Myth of the for Kids
Draco represents Ladon, a hundred-headed dragon. He was guarding a golden apple tree for Hera, but was put to sleep by Hercule’s playing music. Hera punished him by sending him up to the stars. Where he still sits today.
The Cassiopeia Constellation Myth for kids
This constellation was named after Queen Cassiopeia. She was placed in the sky along with her daughter (Andromeda) and husband (Cepheus) because she often bragged that her daughter was more beautiful than the sea nymphs.
The Big Dipper
(though this is not a constellation it is Sammy’s very favourite – so a constellation card was clearly necessary!)
The big dipper is called an asterism, which is a pattern of stars – not actually a constellation. It is part of the constellation Ursa Major and looks like a saddle on the big bears back.
Learning about constellations was so much fun! I love that these constellation cards were Madeline’s idea. It is wonderful to see wee ones so interested in Science! I have always found Space, the Solar System, and constellations so fascinating. I am thrilled that my kids do too.
These constellation myths are excellent for language development, summarizing skills, and imaginative thinking too. And they were fun for the whole family! All 3 of my kids were sitting in a dark room tonight shining light through the constellation cards while Madeline re-told the myths before bed. That makes this Mama very happy.
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These are our DIY Constellation cards — please note these are just our rough sketches and not perfect replicas of the real constellations. You are welcome to save the image to your computer and print them at home!