Author: Joan Labay-Marquez
Organization: Curington Elementary School
Grade Level: Elementary School

Round 4: June 2010






Playground Planetarium

Grades: Elementary

Purpose was to get students excited about astronomy by engaging in activities created by the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) 2009 organizations; celebrate the 400th anniversary of Galileo's discoveries and introduce students to the amazing discoveries made by the Hubble Telescope Observatory. Through a weekly enrichment pull out program, class period of 45 minutes, students in grades K to Sixth were engaged in a variety of activities to expand their knowledge of their night sky. Playground Planetarium: In grades Kinder through Third, students' interests were captured with a visit inside the school's STARLAB, a mobile planetarium that introduced students to their night sky. Using the STARLAB Constellations cylinder with corresponding curriculum, they learned how to identify different constellations and learned about some of the myths surrounding these constellations with different versions made available for each grade level appropriate to their level of understanding. A copy of the STARLAB Constellations curriculum is attached hereto in addition to its correlation to the National Science Education Standards. Next, students were encouraged to create their own constellations and myths surrounding their constellations. Each student was given a clipboard, blank paper, pencils, pens, markers or colors and asked to draw their own constellation, name the constellation and create a short story to explain the myth surrounding their constellation. To demonstrate what they had learned, students created their own Playground Planetarium by covering the school's metal geo dome climber with black poster paper and drew their constellations on the black poster paper, using different colored chalk from inside of the geo dome climber. When everyone finished drawing their constellation, the make shift planetarium was taken down and brought back to class for sharing. To extend the lesson, students made comparisons to Navajo star constellations and their stories. Celebrating Astronomy, Hubble Discoveries and IYA 2009 Students in Fourth grader studying inventions, along with Fifth and Sixth grade students, broadened their knowledge about Galileo and the history of telescopes by viewing the PowerPoint entitled "Who Invented the Astronomical Telescope?" provided by IYA 2009 (attached). Student's researched the history of telescopes including space telescopes, including the Hubble Telescope and browsed through the web based activities included in "Telescopes from the Ground Up" provided by Amazing Space (website linked to this entry). To extend the lesson, students viewed amazing online images taken by the Hubble Telescope Observatory. To demonstrate what they learned about the Hubble Telescope images, students analyzed a deep field image and took on the role as cadets of the first class in the Hubble Academy. They engaged in web based lesson plans and activities found at the Hubble Deep Field Academy website courtesy of Amazing Space. A link to

Hubble Telescope Gallery
Deep space images

Classroom Collage Activity
Student collages of favorite Hubble images

Telescopes from the Ground Up
History of telescopes/Galileo

Hubble Deep Field Academy
overview of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Hubble Deep Field image

Hubble Collage Activity
Classroom collage

Stories in the Sky (ZIP, 337 K)
Examine constellations and star patterns

Navajo Skies (PDF, 1087 K)
Star Lab Curriculum

Hubble Night Sky Constellations
Images and video of constellations in night sky

Do It Yourself Pod Cast
How to make a space pod cast

Who Invented the Astronomical Telescope? (PDF, 1348 K)
Power Point Presentation

Amazing Space

Hand Held Hubble Telescope
Paper Model Hubble Telescope

Constellations Curriculum (PDF, 894 K)
Star Lab Educator Guide

Constellation Curriculum (PDF, 63 K)
TEKS for Constellation Curriculum

Playground Planetarium Lesson Plan (PDF, 48 K)
.pdf document

Story Time (ZIP, 577 K)
Weave lessons about astronomy and navajo star patterns through storytelling

Hubble Deep Field Lesson Plan (PDF, 47 K)
.pdf document

Playground Planetarium - overview (PDF, 61 K)
.pdf document

What's Up in the Night Sky
NASA podcast

Era of Space Telescopes
Technological advances in science

HAL log sheet (PDF, 33 K)
Hubble Deep Field Academy Log Sheet

Q3 Cards
Question-Stem cards

Hubble Deep Field Multimedia Show
Podcast of Deep Field Discoveries

Hubble Deep Field Academy
Student Worksheets

Exploring Space Telescopes Lesson Plan (PDF, 45 K)
.pdf document

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