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3 Simple science activities you can use to learn about constellations in your homeschool

Hi-ya folks! The Sassafras Science Twins are in the how-ouse to share three simple science activities we love to use to learn the constellations.

So grab some index cards, a pencil, a flashlight, some marshmallows, a pack of toothpicks, a blanket, and binoculars or a telescope and let's dig in...

3 Simple Science Activities to Learn About Constellations

Come see the Sassafras Science Twins three favorite science activities for learning about constellations. {FREE Constellation Cards printable included.}

What are constellations?

We learned about constellations on the sixth leg of our fantastical summer-science journey. But we thought we'd review what constellations are before we dig into the science fun.

Constellations are a collection of stars that have been named. They are all visible from Earth, but what constellations you see and when you see them depends upon where you live on Earth.

There are 88 internationally recognized constellations. All the constellations have a Latin name, some have a local nickname, but all have a story behind their name. Many constellations were named after the characters found in ancient Greek myths.

Now that you know a bit of the science behind the fun, let's get to the activities...

#1 - Marshmallow Constellations

First, we like to make marshmallow constellations because this helps us to see the shape of a constellation.

  • We start by looking up the constellation in a book and learning more about it. We love Glow-in-the-dark Constellations for this!
  • Then, we grab toothpicks and a bag of mini-marshmallows.
  • Using a picture of the constellation as a reference, we recreate it using marshmallows for the stars and toothpicks to connect them together, forming the shape.

We promise we only eat a few marshmallows, maybe a handful, in this process.

#2 - Constellation Cards

Next, we like to make constellation cards because these allow us to become familiar with a new constellation. Here's how this works:

  • We grab an index card and a pencil to sketch the constellation.
  • Next, we use the tip of the pencil to poke a hole in all the stars that form the constellation.
  • Then, we head into a darkened room and use a flashlight behind the card to make the constellation appear on the wall. This way, we know what we are looking for in the night sky!

But, lucky for you, the peeps at Elemental Science have made a free printable for y'all with constellation cards for 8 of the most common constellations. (Just click on the link to download those.)

#3 - Night Sky Spotting

And finally, now that we have a good idea of what the constellation looks like, we head outside to find it in the night sky.

  • Once outside, we spread out our blanket and lie down. Unless we are using a telescope, then we stand up or sit down, depending on how tired we are.
  • Then, we use our binoculars (or telescope) to start scanning. Sometimes we use an app, like Google Sky, to help us find the constellation, sometimes we just wing it.

Here are a few night sky spotting tips to help you out!

Wrapping it up

And that's our favorite three simple science activities you can use to learn about constellations. Let us know if you tried any of these out! And if you share a pic of what you did on Instagram, tag us @sassafrassci so we can enjoy it, too!!

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