10 – 12

Look up at the stars

Activity

Look up at the stars

What to do with this activity?

Look up at the stars together, especially in clear weather and away from city lights. On a good night, we can see thousands of stars and planets.  A good way to get to know the night sky is to spot groups of stars that form recognisable patterns. Over the centuries, these patterns have been given names - like Big Bear, Orion the Hunter, and Scorpion -  and are known as constellations. 

Probably the easiest group of stars to spot in an Irish sky is the one in the picture above. It has different names - usually "the plough" or "the big dipper".  It looks like a big saucepan with a handle, and is made up of seven stars. "The plough" is actually only part of a constellation called "ursa major", which means big bear.

There are 88 recognised constellations that help us (and professional astronomers) to find stars in relation to other stars. Of course, the stars in a constellation are not really near each other. They are millions of light years apart, but when we view them from earth they appear close to each other. 

If your child wants to find out more about constellations, click on this Ducksters link or learn to recognise more constellations on the DK Find Out website. If you have an android smart phone you might want to download Sky Map by Google. It's free. 

  • Why am I doing this?

    Children gain confidence in speaking through demonstrating their knowledge to others. Chatting and listening to your child will help build their communication skills. Talking about words and their meaning in everyday life will also help build your child’s vocabulary – and your own!

  • How can I do more?

    Funny stories are interesting and a good excuse to get your child talking. At mealtimes, each family member could tell something interesting or something funny that happened during the day. Watching TV together can also provide a good opportunity for chat and to discuss what you are watching. Check if your child understands different things they hear and encourage your child to teach you new words and things they have learnt.

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