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Stars and Constellations, A Celestial Calendar—Understanding the Zodiac

How do the stars we see change from season to season? How do the stars we see depend on where we are on Earth? Why are the zodiac constellations famous? This activity will help kids clearly see the answers to these questions and more. It will give them a sense of how Earth moves in its orbit and how our vantage point changes depending on where we are in Earth's orbit. 


Questions Addressed

❑ Can you tell the seasons from the stars we see?

❑ How do the stars we see depend on our location on Earth? 

❑ Why are the zodiac constellations important astronomically?


Concepts Addressed

♦  Earth’s tilt produces seasons based on its position in its orbit.

♦  The zodiac constellations tell us where the sun is during a particular month.

♦  Earth’s view of the constellations depends on where it is in its orbit

♦  Earth’s orientation to the sun changes as it revolves in its orbit.


Standards Addressed


TEKS 6.11A, 8.7A



Materials Needed

copies of zodiac constellations (included), classroom globe(s) (optional)


Preparation Required

Make copies of the constellations and hang them around the room as described.

Teaching Time 

This lab takes about 30 minutes (more with writing assignments)


Answer Key

Extensive teacher notes address the many questions that come up. You shouldn’t have to do outside research on this topic unless you want to. 


Student Sheets

• Scaffolded writing prompts & lab reporting 

Stars and Constellations, A Celestial Calendar—Understanding the Zodiac


    Answer Keys and Teacher Notes address most questions and issues that might arise in this study—you shouldn’t have to do any outside research unless you want to.

    Connect with me: If you have questions or problems, please let me know and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.


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