Umbrella Star Chart

umbrella-star-chart

One super fun and relatively easy hands-on activitiy you can do with your kids when you are studying astronomy is to create this umbrella star chart. The person who originally created this activity is H. A. Ray, who wrote a groundbreaking astronomy book called The Stars. He took the complicated constellations and made simplified stick figures out of them, making the constellations more of a dot-to-dot rather than a complicated figure for each star pattern. This is a great activity to do to understand how the night sky rotates counterclockwise as the earth rotates, causing the illusion of the stars spinning around a central point, which is the north star.

The center of your umbrella (the handle) will be the north star. All the other constellations rotate around that star. So you can start with Cassiopeia, which looks like a W:

Take five silver star stickers, and place them on the umbrella in the form of a W to create the shape for the constellation Cassiopeia. Then spin the umberlla to the opposite side of the sky, and create the Big Dipper:

constellation-stickers-on-umbrella

After placing those two constellations, spin the umberlla, and you will see how the sky rotates at night. This is why the constellations are not always seen in the same places. However, if you learn to always find Cassiopeia (the W), you will always be able to find the Big Dipper on the opposite side of the sky. Isn’t that cool?

Over the years, you can learn more and more constellations. You can add as many constellations as you want to your umbrella star chart. If you make the constellations smaller, you can fit in quite a few. We just placed some basic ones to give you the idea. The sky is the limit on what you can create on this star chart!

star-chart-on-umbrella

A great activity to do right after making this umbrella star chart is to get in your car and drive away from the city one clear night, to go looking for these constellations:

If you want to see some hands-on activities for elementary astronomy, here you go:

If you want to see our high school astronomy curriculum and some fun field trips we did, go here:

We have done so many more activites for astronomy over the years, which we have inside the Astronomy Unit Study article in the Unit Study Treasure Vault. Hope you enjoyed this activity as much as we did!

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp (more information)
Join our monthly newsletter for new articles, spiritual encouragement, a Bible crafts e-book, & refreshing workshops!
We hate spam. Your email address will not be shared with anyone else.

Tags: , , ,

2 Responses to “Umbrella Star Chart”

  1. tharini says:

    Fantastic. We have been getting ready for the summer this week. I went to a exercise class early on Thursday afternoon and the topics of this particular week are exercise and learning. On Wednesday I did a hour long class in French as well. My kids did a fun lesson in handwriting and on teamwork on Monday morning. They also completed their classes in first aid and on personal safety.

Leave a Reply