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Space-cial: Constellations & Moon Phases

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Astronomy and Space Science Volunteer Activities
Main Image
Astronomy and Space Science Volunteer Activities
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Grade
Time Needed for Activity

Learn about the importance of constellations and moon phases and how adaptations play a role in our survival on Earth.

Students learn about the importance of constellations and moon phases by building their own constellation viewer and moon phase slider. Students also learn how adaptations play a role in our survival on Earth. Using what they have learned about adaptations and how they play a role in survival, students design a 3-D model of an alien that would be able to survive on the Moon.

This virtual outreach activity is split into a pre-activity document - i.e., workshop overview and list of materials with preparation instructions for both the volunteer and educator, a post-activity document - i.e., extra information and resources for the educator after the activity, and a PowerPoint presentation with presenter notes to help lead the workshop virtually.

What You Need

Activity 1: Constellation Viewer

  • Plastic cup (or toilet/paper towel roll)
  • Scrap paper 
  • Toothpick (or sharpened pencil)
  • Tin Foil
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • If using a plastic cup: Constellation template (x1) pg 2 or 3
  • If using a paper towel roll: Constellation template (x1) pg 1

Activity 2a: Moon Phases Demo

  • Two hand-sized sphere objects (or playdoh, modelling clay shaped into a ball)
  • Flashlight (or phone flashlight)

Activity 2b: Moon Phases Shapes

  • Moon Phases Slider Template 1 (x1)
  • Moon Phases Slider Template 2 (x1)
  • Moon Shadow Template (x1)

Activity 3: Build a Moon Alien

  • Moon Alien Worksheet (x1)
  • Pencil crayons, markers (etc.)
  • Optional: Craft materials (modeling clay, styrofoam balls, pom poms, pipe cleaner, googly eyes, foil, etc.)

Pre-Activity Attachment:

PowerPoint:

 

Safety Notes

Ensure you are familiar with Let's Talk Science's precautions with respect to safe delivery of virtual outreach to youth. These precautions can be found in the manual for this activity. 

What To Do

Pre-Workshop Prep

Students must complete the following PRIOR to the workshop.

  • Print out the following sheets (total of 5-9 sheets):
    • Constellation template for Activity 1. Choose one page to print (not double-sided). If you are using..
      • A paper towel roll, print Page 1.
      • A plastic cup. print Page 2 or Page 3.
    • Moon Phases Slide Template (has 3 sheets, not double-sided)
    • Build a Moon Alien Worksheet
    • Optional: Constellation Bingo Sheet (2 sheets)
  • Cut out the following templates:
    • Constellation template (cut out 2 constellation squares on your chosen sheet)
    • Moon Phase Slider Template
      • Cut out all three templates according to the instructions on the sheet.
  • If using a plastic cup for Activity 1: Constellation Viewers, a caregiver will need to cut open the bottom of the cup so that both ends are open. 

Activity 1: Constellation Viewers

  1. Cut a piece of paper in half.
  2. Place the paper on top of one of the opening of the roll/cup (the larger opening if using the cup).
  3. Wrap the edges of the paper around the roll/cup. Don't worry if the paper moves a bit, we will tape it later.
  4. Take your constellation (should be cut out in a square) and tape it on the center of the paper gently.
  5. Use a toothpick (or a pencil) and poke the dots of your constellation carefully. We want to make holes in the paper without ripping it!
  6. When you've poked all the dots, gently life the paper (the scrap paper with the constellation attached) from the cup.
  7. Take a piece of tin foil large enough to cover the same opening of the roll/cup. Place it over the opening and wrap it around the opening. 
  8. Place the paper (with the constellation still attached) over the tin foil. 
  9. Use tape to attach the paper to the cup/roll. Use the toothpick to gently poke holes into the tin foil in the same places as the paper.
  10. Hold your viewer up to your eye and move towards the sound of the light. Do NOT point your viewer at the Sun.

Activity 2a: Moon Phases

  1. Place two balls in front of each other.
  2. Place your flashlight ("sun") so it shines on the ball on the right, this is the moon. DO NOT point the flashlight in your own eyes or someone else's.
  3. The ball behind the "moon" in the Earth.

Activity 2b: Moon Phase Slider

  1. Cut out all your templates and the circle inside the moon phases slider template.
  2. Staple the moon template underneath the moon phases template at all corners.
  3. Insert your shadow template and move around! Try identifying different moon phases!

Additional Activity: Build a Moon Alien

Get students to build their own Moon Alien if time permits. Use the Build a Moon Alien template and any materials that you may have to get students to craft their Alien. 
 

Discovery

Investigate Further

Constellation Bingo:

If students are keen about constellations, you can get students to use the constellation bingo card with a caregiver and try to identify these constellations in the night sky. 

Investigate Further

Constellation Bingo:

If students are keen about constellations, you can get students to use the constellation bingo card with a caregiver and try to identify these constellations in the night sky. 

Resources

Pre-Activity Attachment:

Post-Activity Attachment:

PowerPoint:

 

Resources

Pre-Activity Attachment:

Post-Activity Attachment:

PowerPoint: