Overview: This STEAM Lesson: Moving Constellations can be used in upper elementary and lower middle grades to help support an understanding of how constellations look in various seasons of the night sky.
Grade Level: 3-5
Content Areas: Science and Dance
As students begin studying the stars and constellations, it can sometimes be a very abstract concept. They can’t touch the stars and developing an understanding of both the distance, and the fact that the earth’s rotation effects how we view the stars, is a broad topic to cover. While most students love the units about space in science, creating a way to make this tangible can be difficult.
In this free STEAM lesson download, we’re providing one type of solution for this problem: connecting through dance. Since the position of the constellations changes based on the season that we are in and our location on the earth, this is the perfect art form to use when learning about mapping the constellations. In this lesson, students are using the book Glow in the Dark Constellations to first be able to identify the constellations and learned what they are called. Then, the examine the constellations for shapes they see and how they are connected through lines. Finally, the book helps students to understand how the constellations look different based on the season of the year.
We then ask students to recreate those constellations, first individually with their bodies using a chosen shape (curved, zig zag, etc) and then as a group. The groups create the constellation together utilizing the elements of dance to both create the shape and to move around other constellation groups based on the season that is identified.
In the end, students create a beautifully choreographed dance of the night sky while also deepening their understanding of constellations. Enjoy!
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Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.