Make Your Own Constellation Myth

Author: Susan Ohlinger
Lesson Plan:

Concept / Topic To Teach: Constellation Myths
Standards Addressed:

    MS&T #4: Science
    ELA #1: Information, #2: Literary Expression, #3 Analysis and #4 Social Interaction

General Goal(s): Students will understand what a constellation is and what a myth consists of.

Specific Objectives:

    1. Students will become familiar with 3 constellations and the myths attached to them.
    2. Students will create their own constellation and write a myth about their creation!

Required Materials:

    1. Books: Constellations, by Paul P. Sipiera and Zoo In the Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations by Jacqueline Mitton.
    2. Web Site: Mythology of the Constellations @
    3. Black construction paper
    4. Silver star stickers
    5. White crayon, pencils, lined white paper

Anticipatory Set (Lead-In):

    Ask the class the following questions:
    1. What is a constellation? Can you name some constellations? Which ones have you seen?
    2. What is a myth? Does anyone know any myths attached to these constellations?

Step-By-Step Procedures:

    1. Establish that a myth is a story that tries to explain something or a belief. It usually deals with a hero or heroine. A constellation myth tries to explain why that particular constellation is in the sky, and usually contains a moral.
    2. Read the following three different Constellation Myths and show the corresponding Constellations:
      1. Orion, the Hunter
      2. Ursa Major, the Great Bear
      3. Taurus, the Bull

    3. Discuss the points of a myth in each one read. How are they alike? How are they different? What is the moral in each one?
    4. Divide the class into groups of two partners.
    5. Pass out black construction paper and 8-10 Silver Star Stickers per group.
    6. One partner will place the black construction paper on the floor and the other will stand and drop 4-5 stars onto the paper. They will switch and drop the last stars.
    7. The two partners will discuss how they will connect the stars; they will do so with the white crayon.
    8. They will name the Constellation and write a myth about how the constellation came to be in the sky. The myth should include all the parts that a myth has. It should explain how the hero/heroine got put up into the sky and what the moral is. Encourage the students to use their imaginations!

Plan For Independent Practice:

    Students write an individual myth at home for homework.

Closure (Reflect Anticipatory Set):

    The class will share their constellations and myths.

Assessment Based On Objectives:

    Students should include the parts of a constellation myth from their created constellations.

Adaptations (For Students With Learning Disabilities):

    Use a template with guidelines for writing the constellation myth.

Extensions (For Gifted Students):

    Students can research another constellation and myth and report back to the class.

Possible Connections To Other Subjects:

    This could be an introduction to a study of additional myths and legends.