Websites current as of January 21, 2017

This WebQuest addresses the following Utah 6th Grade Science Standards:

STANDARD IV:  Students will understand the scale of size, distance between objects, movement, and apparent motion (due to Earth’s rotation) of objects in the universe and how cultures have understood, related to and used these objects in the night sky.

Objective 2:  Describe the appearance and apparent motion of groups of stars in the night sky relative to Earth and how various cultures have understood and used them.
a. Locate and identify stars that are grouped in patterns in the night sky.
b. Identify ways people have historically grouped stars in the night sky.
d. Relate the seasonal change in the appearance of the night sky to Earth’s position.
e. Describe ways that familiar groups of stars may be used for navigation and calendars.



Exploring the Constellations WebQuest


The Sky at Night

Go outside some clear evening.  Bring along a blanket.  Spread out the blanket and lie down.  Look at all the stars you can see.  Quite a beautiful sight, isn’t it! Stars spread out across the sky.  But, did you know that there are patterns to be seen?  We call these patterns “constellations.”You are going to learn about constellations.  And, when you have finished this WebQuest, you will know all about constellations.  And, you will never look at the stars in quite the same way!

What is a Constellation?

OrionWhen we talk about constellations, do you know what they are?  Your first assignment is to find a definition of constellations.  This website will give you that definition.

What are constellations?

Where Did Constellations Come From?

Knowing what a constellation is is great!  How did they get there?  Visit this site for a history of constellations.

Where did constellations come from?

NavigationNavigating With the Stars

Did you know that there was a time when ancient sailors had to know the stars to help them get to their destination?  When you’re in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight, you had to have something help you get where you’re going to.  The sailors used the stars to help them travel.  Your assignment is to learn; identify constellations, stars, planets and learn how to navigate at night. When you're done, continue with the WebQuest. Click on the icon below to learn about navigation.

Click to learn about using the stars for navigation!

Once constellations were created, there was a problem.  How did they get there?  Myths were developed that explained how the constellations go into the sky.  You have been assigned a constellation.  Complete the Constellation Assignment.

Use this website to get the basic information about your constellation:

The Constellations

Print a copy of the myth that explains your constellation.

Now that you understand how the constellations got into the sky, and the myths that explain how they got there, you have the second part of your assignment.

Your assignment is to create your own constellation.  Your constellation has to represent something that is familiar to people today. 

To do this assignment, you will need use your copy of the Personal Constellation worksheet.  After you create your constellation, write your myth that explains how your constellation got into the sky.

Constellations and the Seasons

If you go outside different times of the year, you will see different constellations.  Why?  Complete this worksheet and you’ll have the answer!

Here’s the website that will help you complete the Constellations and the Seasons section of your worksheet:

Different Constellations, Different Times

If you could see the constellations when the Sun was in the sky, what would it look like? Here's a movie that shows the Sun's path through the constellations during the year.

You are now ready to complete the Constellation “Think” Questions portion of the worksheet.

Look at these websites to see what constellations are visible during which season:

Spring Constellations
Summer Constellations
Autumn Constellations
Winter Constellation

Finally ...

There are two important groups of constellations, the twelve constellations in the Zodiac and Circumpolar Constellations. The circumpolar constellations are seen all year long. These are important constellations because you can find planets here!

Your final assignment is to make "Constellation Cards" for each Circumpolar constellation and each constellation in the Zodiac.

For the Circumpolar Constellations, On the front, you will draw a picture of what the constellation looks like. On the top of the card, you will write "Circumpolar Constellation." On the bottom, you will write the name of the constellation (both Latin name and English name).

For the Zodiac, you will draw a picture of what the constellation looks like. On the top of the card, you will write which season you can see the constellation. On the bottom, you will write the name of the constellation (both Latin name and English name).

On the back, you will write facts about your constellation. Information you will want to include can be (but is not limited to) the following: brightest stars, constellation myth, deep sky objects found in the constellation, etc. Here are examples of what the cards may look like:


Sample FrontSample Back

Here are some websites that can help you:

North Circumpolar Constellations

Locating the Circumpolar Constellations

Hawaiian Astronomical Society - Deep Sky Index

AAAA's Constellation Home Page


Congratulations.  You’ve just completed this WebQuest.  You are now a constellation guru!  Way to go.