Sky – Constellation Star Charts (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , July 6, 2008 9:02 pm

For this week’s Unplugged Project, sky, I was inspired by my Uncle’s very detailed star charts. He used to create charts of the constellations using thick black paper, a white pencil, and a pin to put holes where the stars were. The bigger the pinhole, the brighter the star. When you hold his charts up to the light, they are a very accurate representation of the night sky. I tried to photograph one of his charts here, but they are much easier to appreciate in person:

We gathered together astronomy books, construction paper (although dark blue was the closest we had to black), colored pencils, a ruler, and pins:

First we studied the books to find constellations that we liked. My oldest chose Leo since that is her “sign.” My 3 year-old nephew made up his own constellation, as you shall see.

Then we cut some dark blue construction paper in half. We transferred the dots to the paper as best we could by eye (if you have a simple constellation book with large drawings such as H.A. Rey’s excellent classic: The Stars: A New Way to See Them , it might be easier to trace them on tracing paper and then transfer them over to the construction paper).

The younger astronomers just drew a bunch of dots or “stars” randomly on their paper, as my 2 year-old is doing here:

They then drew lines between the stars, connecting the dots, to show the constellation forms as they do in books:

The really fun part was poking holes through each star (dot) with a pin so the light would shine through. We were not as accurate as my Uncle and did not worry about star intensities!

My 3 year-old nephew decided that his constellation was a sea horse and I can really see that! Here are the finished star charts:

And when held up to a window or light, they look like this:


If you joined us for sky this week, please put your link in Mr. Linky and leave a comment so we can find you. If you didn’t, you can read about how to join here.


The theme for next week’s Unplugged Project will be:


I hope to see you then!

18 Responses to “Sky – Constellation Star Charts (Weekly Unplugged Project)”

  1. Adrienne says:

    This is our first venture with the Unplugged website. I posted the link to our activity. This was fun!

    Adriennes last blog post..Unplug Your Kids — Sky

  2. Nature Mama says:

    Neat idea! We are studying astronomy right now and we have done star charts using black construction paper and putting shiny star shaped stickers on it marking the stars in different constellations making their shape, but we’re going to have to give this a go to :) Things like this make identifying them in the night sky so much easier.
    Hope you had a fantastic weekend,

    Nature Mamas last blog post..Hungry Hungry Caterpillars

  3. Dawn says:

    I love it. What a fun way to study the stars.

  4. Candy Cook says:

    Love them, what a brilliant fun idea. Like many find shapes in the clouds, we like to make up our own constellation of the stars in the sky and tell a tale about them. That’s fun.

    Candy Cooks last blog post..Christmas in July (Our Independence Day Surprise)

  5. Tina says:

    Very nice project! I am tucking this away for later.We did not get to a project this week. Hope to have one for next weeks theme.

    Tinas last blog post..Show And Tell

  6. […] when I saw that the new challenge was sky, and I happened to be home with the kids, and they happened to be really getting on my nerves, I […]

  7. I never was good with the stars, we’ll have to work on that sometime! I thought yours would have something to do with your planes.

    Heather & Johns last blog post..Unplugged Project: Planes & Sunset

  8. […] decided to post my Unplug Your Kids: Sky project early this week in case any of you are looking for a fun Fourth of July […]

  9. Christy says:

    Another great idea! Your constellations look great with the light coming through.

    Christys last blog post..Weekly Unplugged Project – Sky

  10. What fun! I think my older daughter would especially enjoy making some constellations. Poking the holes would be the best part, I’m sure! :) Have a great week, Amy

  11. Dana says:

    Love your constellations! And, I kind of messed up the topic for this time – I’ll blame it on the 9 hour drive I had yesterday. :-)Anyway, I enjoyed this week’s theme and will get around to posting last week’s, too. We’ve just been on the road so I’m a little behind.

    Can’t wait for next week’s “stone” theme. :-)

    Danas last blog post..Unplug Your Kids: Clouds (or Sky)

  12. Those look great! And I’m amazed at your uncle’s ability to show the star’s intensity too!

    This reminds me of a science project I did in elementary school where I made a box that had a flashlight inserted and the star charts slid in the front. Then I could shine my stars on to the ceiling of a dark room. I spent days making those charts, but I can hardly recall the major constellations now! Perhaps it’s time to teach Jaylene ;)

  13. […] fun learning about clouds for this week’s Unplug your kids’ challenge with the theme of sky. There’s lots of great information at Weather Wiz Kids and a fun pdf printable cloud key at […]

  14. Jenny says:

    What a cool idea. My husband is an astronomy nut, so I’m going to be sure and show him your post. It would be a fun thing to do with CJ when she gets a little older. I’m going to make a real effort to take part in next week’s Project…finally!

    Jennys last blog post..At Last, A Book Post!

  15. Sylvia says:


    This week we’ve made 2 summer suns. It’s a great activity with little children we enjoy a lot!!

    Sylvias last blog post..nuestros soles de verano

  16. This is a great idea! Thanks! I want to learn more about constellations myself.

    threeundertwos last blog post..Sibling Rivalry? Where?

  17. […] Sky – Constellation Star Charts (Weekly Unplugged Project) […]

  18. You are just so clever! I love your project!

    Becky@BoysRuleMyLifes last blog post..Let’s Get Dirty!

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