Activity time: 45 minutes
Materials for Activity
- 12-inch long, 2 1/2-inch diameter cardboard rolls for all participants
- Box cutter
- Black construction paper, a few three-inch circle templates or compasses for drawing circles, pencils, and scissors
- Phosphorescent (not glow-in-the-dark) paint and toothpicks
- Images of constellations, including their names, and tape
- Chalk pencils
Preparation for Activity
- Obtain cardboard mailing tubes or finished paper-towel or gift-wrap rolls. Or, roll sheets of corrugated cardboard into a tube for each participant.
- On each tube, use the box cutter to make a slit more than half way across the tube, approximately 1 1/2 inches from one end.
- Set compasses to draw a 3-inch diameter circle. Or, make a few 3-inch circle templates from stiff paper.
- Set construction paper, circle templates or compasses and pencils, paint, toothpicks, and cardboard tubes and on work tables.
- Post images of constellations for everyone to see.
- Make a sample “telescope” and constellation disk.
Description of Activity
Invite participants to use a compass or template to draw 3-inch diameter circles on the black construction paper and cut them out.
Ask the children to choose a constellation you have posted and draw it on a black paper circle, using toothpicks to make tiny dots, for the stars, using the phosphorescent paint. (Optional: Have children mark each star with a pencil and then poke the pencil through each dot to make a small puncture.)
Let the paint dry. Then, slip the circles into the slits you have cut into the tubes, to make "telescopes." Have children use chalk pencils to write the constellation's name on the back of each disk.
Lead a discussion with these questions:
- Why do you think we made a telescope today?
- How is using a telescope an example of one of our Sources as Unitarian Universalists?
- Have you used a real telescope? Where? When? What was it like?
- What do learn when we study the stars?
Including All Participants
This activity will hold the attention of some, but may be too complicated for or tax the fine motor skills of others. Cut some circles to offer children, as needed. You may wish to paint a few constellation disks, as well. Consider providing books about constellations for children to browse (see Find Out More).