I am going to be starting the unit on the solar system and I was wondering if anyone has any ideas for constellation or solar system art projects. I am looking for something that can be accomplished in class as they just finished their state reports before the winter break.
In memory of Jon Hodge, director of the Santa Monica College Planetarium and science educator extraordinaire, let me share this link to the planetarium's Web site: http://www.smc.edu/planetarium/. The Astro-links link at the left side of the page will connect you to a number of cool astronomy Web sites.
Those are both great websites!! I am definitely going to use the Santa Monica College Planetarium site, my students will love it, especially the sky report.
Research_Parent - Do you print out a copy of the constellation from that website you posted for each student, and how do your students judge where to punch the holes? Do you use a template? This sounds fun and easy to do.
I personally like to pick a constellation...
related to some other story or topic the students are studying at the time...I've used the Phoenix, Pegasus, Scorpion, Great Bear, Fish, Hercules, Orion, Lion, Hare...
I copy the constellation picture from the website into a Microsoft PowerPoint...enlarge the image to fit the slide (squarely in the middle), then, print off slides per page I want. (Handouts)
These (Handouts) miniatures become my templates. I'm extremely cheap so the templates are pasted onto empty cereal box/lunch entree cardboard for templates.
Students just press the pins in the actual constellation points and connect like on the template.
I use the images this way so I can use whatever I have at the time to make viewers with...paper rolls, cereal boxes, coffee can lids, various black construction paper sizes, etc. (and depending on the age group...larger images for younger groups)
I try to make items CHEAPLY so I use what's available to me...
My kids use balloons to make papier mache planets, painted to look like the actual planet. They look fantastic hanging from the ceiling. For Saturn I laminate yellow cellophane and draw black lines on it, then stick wire through the ball to make supportive struts for the rings to sit on.
We have also make planetary icosahedra (Google "planetary icosahedron" for that one) and wallpaper the windows (windowpaper?) with black card that we have punctured with knitting needles in the shape of the constellations.
Then we head out to the asphalt and draw a scale model of the solar system using chalk and strings.
I love the Earth and Space unit! :-)
Cover one end of a toiet paper tube with a square of paper. Then use a push pin to punch holes in pattern of a constellation. When you turn off the lights and shine a small flashlight in the tube you see the constellation as light shines through the holes.