Astronomy (1 of 4): Stars & Constellations

Lesson Title: Astronomy (1 of 4): Stars & Constellations
Academic Standards: HS-ESS1-1; HS_ESS1-3
Content Creator: Mrs. Wendy Martin
Level: High School
Duration: 35-45 min
  /  Astronomy (1 of 4): Stars & Constellations


  • Define star.
  • Define a light year.
  • Understand the life cycle of a medium star like our sun.
  • Understand the life cycle of a large star.
  • Understand how a black hole forms.
  • Understand the process of nuclear fusion in a stars core.
  • Compare our sun to other stars in terms of size.
  • Define constellation.
  • Identify common constellations.
  • Identify the 12 zodiac constellations.


When you look up at the night sky you see the brightest stars in our universe. They are all different sizes and distances from us. Stars are celestial bodies made mostly of hydrogen and helium. They produce heat and light through nuclear fusion at their core. In this lesson students will learn how stars form and continue through their life cycle. Focus will be on our own star, the Sun. Students will also learn about familiar groupings of stars called constellations. Students will learn how constellations are named. They will identify Polaris and the constellations found around it. In addition, students will learn about the 12 zodiac constellations and build their own. Class will conclude with a virtual field trip to Alaska to witness the Northern Lights.


  1. Define star and explain the basic characteristics of a star.
  2. Allow students to handle the toggle and move the stars around in the  planetarium sky.
  3. Watch video "A Star is Born".
  4. Move to the campus quad. Large enough space for a sun model.
  5. Discuss the life cycle of the sun.
  6. Show video comparing the sun to other stars.
  7. Move back to planetarium and discuss constellations.
  8. Show them constellations in the sky.
  9. Identify the 12 zodiac constellations.
  10. Give them spheres and rods and have them choose a constellation to construct.
  11. Field trip to the northern lights in Alaska.

Demonstratives & Media

Classroom Space
Virtual Field Trips & Lab Demonstrations

Suggested Ancillary Support

1. I used spheres and lasers to have them build the constellation. 2. Video that compares the sun to other planets:   3. The virtual field trip to Northern Lights is under the content tab.