Students will be placed in groups of 4-5 and will choose a constellation to model. They will use at least 3 LEDs, 1 motor or servo motor, and 1 sensor. They will research the constellation and portray several facets of information that they have found. Students will keep a laboratory journal describing the astronomical attributes of the constellation (distance across in light years, type of stars, color of stars, age of stars, brightest to least brightest stars, when it appears in the Northern Hemisphere, etc.). The laboratory journal will also detail the design process of the group and any troubleshooting involved in the building/programming process. Students will write a report about the significance of the constellation with regards to mythology and history of ancient civilizations (did it signal planting season? what myths surround its form?). Students will portray the envisioned form of the constellation as seen by ancient civilizations (Orion is the hunter, etc.) and they will also show the position of stars in the constellation. Students will then input components (LEDs, motors, sensors, etc.) and program these components to significantly represent their constellation (intensity of one LED star as compared to another, the constellation moving on a servo to show its angled position at different times in night, etc.).
This projects meets Next Generation Science Standards concerning gravity, stars, and the solar system (5-ESS1-1, 5-ESS1-2, MS-ESS1-1, and MS-ESS1-2). In addition, it can provide an opportunity to discuss how sound and light energy are transmitted by waves (4-PS4-1 and MS-PS4-1). This project is also aligned with Common Core ELA anchor standards that focus on informative writing and revision (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.2-5); research (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7-8,10); and speaking and listening (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4,6).
Procedures can be found in the PDF.
Materials can be found in the PDF.
Objectives can be found in the PDF.