Free Online Resources for Young Stargazers
Humans have always been fascinated by stars. Ancient cultures found pictures in them and identified the constellations. Early sailors used them to navigate. For a large part of our history, people have associated stars with luck and love and high achievement. We have sung songs about them and put them on our countries’ flags. Even from a young age , our children have loved to watch and wish upon them. How do you explain stars to children? These free online resources provide stars information for kids that will keep them motivated to learn:
Star Facts for Kids
Just thinking about stars as more than just dots of light in the night sky can be mind blowing. Stars information for kids can get lost in materials for adults who want to read about stars. What are some fun facts about stars? Here are some websites where you can find fun facts about stars for kids:
Astronomy for Kids: Stars (Ducksters)
Learn about what makes a star a star, the lifecycle of a star, types of stars, and fun facts about stars. Explore the page and then have your child take a ten-question quiz.
How Hot Can a Star Be? (NASA)
Find the answers to this and other kids’ questions about stars here.
Launchpad: Life Cycle of a Star (NASA)
“Each of us is made from star stuff. But how are stars formed? Take a closer look at the life cycles of stars and learn where stars come from, how they change, and what happens to stars when their lives come to an end. Find out about your connection to the cosmos.” Enjoy the video, as well as lots of links to related information about stars.
The Life Cycles of Stars (NASA)
Look here for poster and activity book downloads for K-8 kids and high school students, as well as links to other videos, models, and resources.
The Life and Death of Stars (NASA)
For your secondary student… Find out where stars are born, what it means to be a main sequence star, and how stars die. Search additional links to white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes, and supernovae.
Space Facts: Stars (Science Kids)
Discover fun star facts for kids here. Did you know that a star is held together by its own gravity?
Stars (Our Universe for Kids)
Introduce your kid to stars through text, images, and video. Click on additional links to find out about how stars are formed, supernovas, star sizes, and what is inside a star.
What is a Supernova? (NASA)
Can you imagine the biggest explosion humans have ever seen? This is what happens when a star explodes! Find out more here.
What is the Brightest Star? (NASA)
Is it the sun? Or not? Discover the answer by reading or listening to Dr. Marc Rayman’s response.
Star Lesson Plans for Kids
Want structured lessons and worksheets about the life cycle of stars, supernova facts, or types of stars for kids? Luckily, there are free online lesson plans available, too. Check out these resources that will help you bring stars into your homeschool classroom:
Colors of Stars: Teacher Lesson Plan (Stardate)
Help your 9th and 10th grader learn about stars by studying the colors of flame and noting the connections between color, light, temperature, and matter.
Day Project: Stars! (SkyDay)
Follow this lesson for grades 3-5, complete with links to videos and images, to learn about the importance of stars, the types of stars, connections to mythology, and much more. Activities include stargazing and creating your own constellation.
Life Cycle of Stars (NASA/MSU)
Use these lesson plans for your young adult in grades 9-12. Your child will “analyze characteristics that indicate human life cycles, and then apply these observational principles to various NASA pictures of stars to synthesize patterns of stellar life cycles.”
The Light in Our Night Sky (Better Lesson)
Help your child discover how a star’s brightness is related to the distance it is from Earth. The lesson uses the 5E lesson plan model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate) and is designed for fifth grade.
Star Facts & Worksheets (KidsKonnect)
Download star facts pages and worksheets here. Also read for basic information about stars, facts about star formation, and a list of characteristics of stars.
Sun, Moon, and Star Patterns in the Sky | Lesson Plan (PBS)
Here is a lesson for kids in K-2 that shows how and why the sun, moon, and stars are visible at different times of the day. The lesson includes videos, live-action video clips, a slideshow, and interactive activities.
What is a Star? Lesson Plan for Elementary School (Study.com)
Kids learn about different types of stars and their life cycles and then create their own constellation books.
Star Activities for Kids
What are stars for kids? They are magical lights that sometimes shoot across the sky! Keep that fascination going with these hands-on and multimedia resources teaching star facts for kids:
7 Amazing Exoplanets [Interactive] (Scientific American)
“Hundreds of planets around other stars have been discovered recently, but many centuries may pass before human eyes actually see them up close. Interpreting current data, Hugo award-winning artist Ron Miller takes us to seven of the most fascinating of these worlds.”
It’s Still Polaris (Lunar and Planetary Institute)
“Children ages 9–13 observe the changing night sky over the course of an evening and chart the circumpolar stars as they traverse the sky in a progression around Polaris. Using their knowledge of Earth’s day/night cycle, they infer the cause of the changing star positions.”
Try this activity from the National Optical Astronomy Observatories with your middle or high school student. The activity involves measuring the color and brightness of stars in the Jewelbox Cluster and plotting data on a color-brightness diagram.
Seeing in the Dark Activities (PBS)
Check out these great star activities like finding your birthday star (which lost its light the year you were born), observing different stages in a star’s life, and more.
Stars Theme and Activities (EducatALL)
Check out these preschool activities and resources all related to stars. Find posters, bins, games, activity sheets, and more.
Stars Theme Station (Preschool Express)
Find lots of ideas for introducing young ones to stars, including “quick starts,” star art, star games, and star language and writing activities. You can also find star science activities, star snack ideas, and star songs and rhymes.
Did you discover a great resource for learning about stars? Post the link in the comments below….