Astronomy Lesson Plans & Links

Classroom Lessons

Adopt-A-Constellation (T.(Trimpe) Tomm, Havana Junior High, Havana, IL)

This activity may be used as a stand along project or integrated with an astronomy unit. Students research a constellation using various reference materials (such as internet links, see Kids Links), create a "view" of their constellation, and complete a fact sheet. I allow at least two class periods for this project - one for research and another for constructing the viewer. The viewer makes an excellent assessment tool for tests - challenge students to identify constellations using the viewers created by their classmates.

Student Worksheet: Adopt-A-Constellation (pdf)

Other ideas ...
• Tami Cooper, a middle school educator in Eureka, suggests using black construction paper to make model constellations. Her students punch their designs on the black paper, then use the overhead to share their models with classmates. Students may use chalk to outline their constellation to help classmates visualize each constellation.
• My students and I built upon Tami's idea described above to make our own "star lab". I taped a copy of a monthly star chart onto a large piece of black construction paper. The students helped me create our "star lab" by punching out the stars in the constellations using the point on a compass. After all the constellations were identified, we placed the chart on the overhead (making sure the black paper covered the top surface) and projected the "star lab" onto a wall. Students used a laser pointer to highlight their contellation and shared several facts from their Adopt-A-Constellation project. It was a "cool" way to wrap up our constellation unit and didn't cost a ton of money!
NOTE: My projector uses a mirror and the students quickly noticed that wherever the laser pointed to on the screen/wall, it would also point to that spot on the star chart.
• Challenge your students to make 3-D models of their constellations. Visit the Galaxy Mapping page from Newton's Apple for more details.

Excellent Resources: Constellations for Every Kid by Janice VanCleave, Ranger Rick’s Nature Scope: Astronomy Adventures - contains background info and worksheets on an assortment of astronomy topics. Internet Skywatcher’s Diary will provide you with a wealth of constellation info (listed on the astronomy pages of my Kids Zone).

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Great Gravity (T.(Trimpe) Tomm, Havana Junior High, Havana, IL)

During this activity, students explore the gravitational force of other planets and the moon. Before the lab you will need to set up several safe "jumping" areas or choose an outdoor location. I instruct my students that they may take only one step before each jump. The follow-up assignment challenges students to create questions about the lab for their classmates.

Another version of this lab is completed in the 8th grade classes taught by Lauren Range. Her students analyze super balls, tennis balls, and basketballs to determine how high they would bounce on various planets in our solar system.

Student worksheet: Gravity Exploration (pdf)

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Moon Phases (Worksheet created by T. (Trimpe) Tomm for use with the Lunar Lollipops activity)
Visit the Lunar Lollipops webpage for more details about this great lesson! I used plastic golf balls as "moon pops" and placed a table lamp in the middle of my classroom. I used a marker to color one-half of each golf ball black and put them on wooden pencils.

Student worksheet: Moon Phases (pdf)

Check out "wearable" science projects at!


Internet Lessons

Astronomy Scavenger Hunt (pdf) - A series of "Who am I?" questions in a crossword format to explore the history of astronomy. Originally contributed by Stacy Baker

Past and Present Scavenger Hunt (pdf) - Explore Roman and Greek myths and their relationship to astronomy with this worksheet from Stacy Baker.

Surprise on Mars (pdf) - Worksheet created by Stacy Baker to explore Mars!

Also available ...
Astro Bingo (pdf) - Students use astronomy terms to fill in their bingo cards. Print the clues on an overhead transparency and cut apart. For more information, download the Science Bingo Teacher Tips (pdf), which includes a description of my version of bingo and a "blank" bingo card you can use for any topic.

Astronomy Word Search (pdf)

Constellation Word Search (pdf)

What's Your Sign? (pdf) - Create-A-Word challenge puzzle related to the 12 constellations of the zodiac.

Note For Teachers: Please take time to preview the links on any Internet assignment before you use it with your students. With the ever-changing nature of the Internet, links may be become broken or websites are no longer available. If you find a problem, please send me an message using my contact form.

Lesson Plan Links

Adler Planetarium Astronomy Connections - Visit the education area for lessons, resources, and other goodies to help you integrate technology into your "space program"!

Amazing Space - This site offers an assortment of lesson plans and web-based activities for astronomy along with a wealth of information for any astronomy unit.

Astronomical Society of the Pacific - Explore this site for hands-on activities, a listing of good activities on the net, ideas for a star party and more!

ASU Mars Education Website - Explore this website filled with lots of resources for students and teachers realted to Mars! Visit the Resources area to download a student activity guide that allows them to conduct a student-directed investigation of Mars as scientists in the real world do.

At-Home Astronomy - A great collection of lessons and activities to explore the universe!

Celestia Educational Activities - Explore this space simulation program for the PC that lets you and/or your students interactively experience our universe. An assortment of activities are availble.

CERES Project - Master teachers, university faculty, and NASA researchers have created a series of web-based astronomy lessons for this project. From the life cycle of stars to Mars Quest, you are sure to find new activities to spice up your astronomy unit.

Discovery Channel School - Astronomy - A large collection of resources for astronomy. Also visit their teacher tips for Understanding the Universe!

Exploring Planets in the Classroom - More than 25 hands-on science activities are provided in classroom-ready pages for both teachers and students for exploring Earth, the planets, geology, and space sciences.

Eyes on the Sky, Feet on the Ground - Hundreds of hands-on astronomy-based activities!

Hands-on Astronomy Activities - Visit this page for 25 hands-on lessons exploring topics in astronomy!

Imagine the Universe - A collection of lessons integrating math, chemistry, and other subjects for 6-12 students. Visit the Teacher's Corner page for more resources!

LIVE from Mars 2001 - Passport to Knowledge - The new Passport to Knowledge module - Live From Mars 2001 is available at this site. Take the time to visit the site to learn more about the TV programs and lesson ideas for this project.

Math-Science Learning Coalition - Astronomy Lessons - This site offers a wide range of astronomy lessons for elementary, middle school, and high school. - Teacher Resources - Scroll down the page to find many ready-to-use worksheets and lab ideas for astronomy as well as many other science concepts.

NASA Spacelink - Use this website to start your search of the NASA collection of educational materials, such as classroom lessons, online activities, and multimedia resources.

Paper Plate Education - Visit the Activities area for over 30 lesson ideas using paper plates to teach concepts in astronomy!

Proteacher - Space - An assortment of earth science lesson plans and links for elementary teachers.

Rainbow Symphony Lessons- This site offers three lessons for products they offer related to diffraction grating, UV detection beads, and 3D images. My students loved a lab I created about light and spectroscopes for the diffraction grating goggles, which we called "groovy goggles!" - Click the link for the "Solar System & Space Travel" or "Cycles in Space" to find new lessons for your classroom!

Science Teaching Ideas - Astronomy - A great site filled with lots of activites for your astronomy unit.

SEGway - An assortment of web-based activities for astronomy! To see all they have to offer visit the Lesson List page!

Space Place - A great site from NASA to explore with your students. Don't miss the Goodies for Teachers area for printables and lesson worksheets. - Take a few moments to browse this site for ready-to-use lesson ideas organized for elementary, middle school, and high school students.

Teacher's Domain - Earth & Space Science - This is an excellent site for multimedia resources for your science curriculum!  

Windows to the Universe - Explore this interdisciplinary web site on the Earth and space sciences! Visit the Tools area for a student workbook, table of contents, and other features! Don't miss the Lesson Plan area for great ideas, such as Lunar Lollipops and Sun-Earth Flipbooks.

ZOOM Astronomy - Explore this site for lots of great info about the solar system as well as inteactive quizzes and activities. Don't miss the Classroom Activities section!



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The Science Spot was developed in March 1999 by Tracy (Trimpe) Tomm
 8th Grade Science Teacher @ Havana Junior High, Havana, IL

Activities, lessons, & worksheets available on any page of this web site are intended for use by a single teacher in his/her classroom or to share at
educational conferences. Please link to resources rather than download them to your own server/website. Reproduction for commercial use or profit is not
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Tracy (Trimpe) Tomm. Visit my Frequently Asked Questions page for more details.