Children are exposed to the stars from a very early age, from poems, such as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Star Light, Star Bright,” to gold star stickers and real stars shining in the night sky. Bring the love of stars into your kindergarten classroom and enjoy the art and science behind those starry nights.
A Star is Born
Read books about stars such as “Our Stars” by Anne Rockwell, “Stars! Stars! Stars!” by Bob Barner or “Stars” by Seymour Simon. Have kindergartners help act out how a star is born. Clear an open space in the classroom and have the students spread out. Hold a flashlight in your hands but keep it off. Turn off the overhead lights to darken the room but leave a door open so there is enough light to see. Have students float around like tiny bits of gas and dust. As students float and spin, call the name of the student standing closest to you. Tell the student gravity has pulled you two together. Have the student stand right next to you to create a small ball of gas and dust. Continue to float as a team standing side by side. Call the name of the next student standing closest to you. Once again gravity has pulled you together. Point out to students how the ball of gas and dust is growing larger. Continue to float around the room as a group of three. Keep calling students’ names to join your growing ball of gas and dust. After the last kindergartner is pulled into the ball, tell students stars form when the gas pressure inside the ball increases. Have everyone squish together as tight as possible. Announce that the middle of the ball is getting really hot. Turn on the flashlight and say, “A star is born!”
Write the words to “Star Light, Star Bright” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” on pieces of chart paper. You may want to copy just the first stanza in “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” due to the poem’s length. Practice reading poems together. Invite students to point to the words as the class reads. Remind kindergartners that the stars in the sky are balls of hot gas. Because the star’s light has to travel long distances through space before entering the earth’s atmosphere, what we see are star shapes that appear to twinkle. Hand out copies of the poems for students to illustrate and take home to practice reading with their families.
Starry Night Oil Pastels
Show students a picture of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” Talk about how the dark background and swirling stars make it seem like it's nighttime in the painting. Provide students with a piece of dark blue construction paper and oil pastels. Allow students to come up with their own “Starry Night” pictures. Have students name their pieces of art before hanging on a bulletin board.
Read books about constellations such as “Zoo in the Sky” by Jacqueline Mitton or “The Big Dipper” by Franklyn Branley. Draw the stars of different constellations, such as The Big Dipper, Ursa Major or Orion, on the board. Connect the stars in the Big Dipper to show students how drawing lines between the stars help us see shapes and objects in the sky. Hand out black sheets of construction paper to kindergartners. Have student use white or yellow crayons to draw stars on the paper. Use star shaped stickers in place of crayons to add a fun twist to the project. Have students look at their papers to see if they can spot something in their night sky. Can they find a train or an elephant? What about a house or an ice cream cone? Have students take time to look at each other’s pictures and point out things they see. Encourage students to be creative in what they can find in the artwork. Once students find an object in their sky, have them use a crayon to connect the dots to show their new constellation. Help students write the name of their constellation on the top of their papers.
- star night image by Imagenatural from Fotolia.com