In this lesson for grades 3-5, we’re pairing science standards focusing on representing data in graphical displays with choreographed movement sequences. Naturally, the patterns of constellations in the sky “move” as the earth rotates. Dance can be a very natural way for students to explore this kind of behavior.
The big idea here is that patterns can be identified in the night sky. Before using this lesson, be sure to teach that constellations were charted as a way of mapping the night sky. That way, during this lesson you can focus on the idea that constellations are stars that form a shape in the night sky which can change depending upon the season.
Next Step: Movement Constellation Map
Students can work collaboratively to show the movement of the constellations in the night sky dependent upon the seasons. In groups of 4-5, students will be given a constellation that changes position in the night sky based upon the season. Mark off a circle in the room and identify North, South, East and West. Have students plot their constellation on the circle for all four seasons. Then, students will create their constellation with their bodies starting with spring and move as the teacher announces the change of season. They will need to ensure that they move together, keeping an appropriate space between themselves and other students.
FOCAL ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS
As students complete their movement map, consider the following questions for your assessment:
Science: Can this student represent the change of the constellations in the night sky based upon the seasons?
Dance: Can this student create a sequence of movements in relationship to others on a central theme?
Suggested Grade-Band Extensions
K-2: Instead of using constellations, use this same lesson with a focus on the moon and its changing phases.
6-8: Try using this lesson to explore the effect of gravity on the solar system.
9-12: Use this lesson as a way for students to construct a model of explanation of the Big Bang Theory.
Susan Riley is the founder and President 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 Arts and the Common Core.
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.