In preparation for the summer library program, I did a “camp” (this is what we call our programs for school age kids) on constellations.
I am fascinated by constellations, and with the SLP theme of A Universe of Stories coming up, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to spread that fascination to some youngsters.
To kick off the program, I gave a short presentation about what constellations are, and about how each constellation has a story to tell. Then I projected three different constellations onto the wall (using the wonderful old school projector and printouts of the constellations with holes punched in them), and told the stories that go along with them. I used images and the basis for my stories in the book Stories in the Stars: An Atlas of Constellations by Susanna Hislop.
Round One: I first did this program for Kindergarten through 2nd graders. The constellations I shared with them were Hercules, Cancer, and Delphinus. While I was telling the stories, I asked the kids to be thinking about what their own constellation might look like. Then, when I was finally done jabbering, we got to work on making them! Each child got a planning worksheet and a black sheet for the finished product. The kids planned out what they wanted their constellation to look like, and then used yellow paint to create it on the black piece of paper.
Round Two: The following week I did the program for 3rd through 5th graders. I once again shared the constellations Hercules and Cancer, but I swapped Delphinus out for Pisces. Similar two the K-2 group I had them think about their own constellations and what they might look like. They also were thinking about the story that their constellation would tell, because on their planning worksheet they had a space to write the story. I did the craft portion of the program a little differently for this group. Rather than painting their finished product, they cut holes in a sheet of black paper and then glued it to a yellow piece which would show through the holes as stars. I did tell them to get creative with their materials, so I had a few cut the paper into small pieces rather than cutting holes, and many who poked holes with their pencils rather than scissors.
I found that in both groups many of the kiddos finished way ahead of time, so if I were planning this program again I would allow myself more time to talk about constellations, instead of alloting most of the time to the craft portion. Otherwise this was a great program, and now we have a bunch of beautiful constellations to display in the children’s room this summer!