It’s time for an out of this world activity for our night sky lovers! In this activity we challenge kids to study the stars, learn about the constellations, then create their very own models inspired by their favourite stars. Pipe Cleaner Constellations is a fantastic project for kids of all ages who love the stars and as part of a Space STEM Activities study.
SPACE STEM ACTIVITY WITH CONSTELLATION MODELS
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I love staring up into the stars. It is one of my favourite things to do. I admit that other than a few really popular constellations, my knowledge of the constellations was limited, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the night sky.
I am a dreamer and looking up into those stars sent me on so many amazing adventures!
As I introduced my boys to the stars they started asking questions and I realized I needed some help. Thanks to technology we discovered some incredible Sky Map Apps (there are options available on IOS and Android) that helped us locate and name stars and constellations. It opened up an amazing new way of learning about the stars!
With this activity we take that curiosity about the stars and constellations and turned it into a fun learning STEM activity.
Pipe Cleaner Constellations
First, check out this video of us making these! So cool!!!
For this project, we created 3 different styles of pipe cleaner constellations. One using letter beads, one using star beads, and one that glows in the dark!
Before we start, you will need either a book on constellations, or we have made some printable task cards that are available for free to members of the STEAM Powered Family Mailing List. You can join here and grab your constellation task cards plus get access to many other free resources.
Constellation Task Cards Printable
Once you have your constellations task cards or a book to guide you, you will need the following supplies:
- Beads (letters, stars, glow in the dark, plain – the choice is yours!)
- Pipe Cleaners (I believe some Americans call these Chenille Sticks)
- Glow in the Dark Paint (optional)
Project Idea #1 – Using Star Beads
This activity is very straightforward, simply use star shaped beads to build your constellations.
A few tips. To stop the beads falling off the end of the pipe cleaner, simply fold over the end of the pipe cleaner and push the bead onto the thicker folded piece. This will help secure it.
Don’t be afraid to cut your pipe cleaners to different lengths as required for your constellation designs.
For any cross over lines, we found it quite easy to fit two pipe cleaners through one bead, so simply weave two through a bead at any intersecting points.
Project Idea #2 – Spelling Constellation Names
For our first Constellation building project, I wanted to turn it into a literacy practice as well for my new reader. So we used letter beads and spelled out the names of the constellations with the beads. Then we used those beads to build our constellation.
This is far from perfect, of course. It works best with constellations that have the same number of stars as there are letters in their name, but my kids still had a lot of fun with this idea.
Project Idea #3 – Glow in the Dark Constellations
Now you could totally go and buy glow in the dark beads. In fact you can even buy Glow in the Dark Star Beads to make your projects really pop!
I decided to instead make my kids work a little harder for their glow. Plus, I want them to learn how to be creative and budget friendly and that meant making do with what we had on had.
So we painted some of our star beads with Glow in the Dark paint!
Sure it was more work, but the kids were able to make a really cool project with what we had on hand.
Building the Night Sky
Once we made our constellations we talked about where they were located n the night sky.
As an epic project, you can create a display showing where each constellation can be found in the night sky. Creating your very own model of the stars, night sky and constellations!
We started to do this, but the cats decided to eat our stars. Can we claim the “cats ate our homework?”, well around here they do! So I don’t have any pictures of our final display, but trust me, it looked amazing!
Have fun building your Pipe Cleaner Constellations!