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Preschool Lesson Plan: Do Shooting Stars Really Shoot?

written by: Sonal Panse • edited by: Jacqueline Chinappi • updated: 3/2/2012

Shooting stars are beautiful streaks of light that are very visible on dark nights. In this preschool lesson, we will explain to preschoolers what shooting stars are. The idea is to have them notice and understand this natural phenomenon, and develop an interest in the world around them.

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    Objectives:

    • To help preschoolers to understand the world around them
    • To develop observational skills in preschoolers
    • To create an interest in science and space
    • To develop comprehension and speaking skills
    • To develop art skills

    Material

    • White board
    • Chalk
    • Drawing sheets
    • Colors - Pastels, Water-color, Colored Pencils, Markers
    • Gold paint
    • Glitter
    • Glue
    • Lollipop stick
    • Paper pulp
    • Photographs and posters of shooting stars
    • Video of shooting stars

    Notes for the Teacher

    Shooting stars, also called falling stars and meteors, are not actually stars.

    They are short-lived bright light streaks made by meteoroids as they enter the Earth's atmosphere and burn up. Meteroids are made of interplanetary dust and rock fragments, usually left by a comet. If the rock fragments are large, they are called asteroids.

    Sometimes these fragments, instead of burning up, fall to earth and then they are known as meteorites.

    Meteors are clearly visible on moonless nights. When a large number of meteors are seen, the phenomenon is known as a meteor shower.

    A meteor shower occurs when the Earth, while revolving around the sun, passes through a trail of debris.

    Meteor showers are predictable as the Earth passes through the same debris at the same time every year.

    Meteor showers are named after constellations and two well-known ones are the Perseids in August and the Leonids in November.

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    Directions

    Talk about shooting stars. Explain that shooting stars are the bright streaks of light we sometimes see on moonless nights. Ask if anyone has seen a shooting star.

    Show the children photographs and videos of shooting stars.

    Draw a picture of the Sun on the white board and show the Earth going around. If the preschoolers don't already know, you may have to explain about how the night and day phenomenon occurs. Try this lesson plan on day and night for ideas.

    Make some dots in the path of the Earth and explain that this is interplanetary debris that the Earth will pass through as it moves around the Sun.

    Tell the preschoolers that some of the debris is like dust, some are stones and some are boulders.

    When this debris passes through the Earth's atmosphere, it burns up and the burning is seen as a bright streak across the sky. This is what we call a shooting star. It is also called a meteor. It is not, as you see, really a star. And, no, it doesn't shoot. It is somewhat similar to a fireworks rocket. It burns for a while and then it disappears.

    Sometimes, if it is large in size, it falls to Earth and then it is called a meteorite.

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    Craft

    For the craft, make a shooting star. Take a stick, like one used in a long lollipop, and stick paper pulp (made by soaking shredded paper in hot water and then processing in a food processor) on one of the stick in the form of a ball with a tapering end. Paint it in gold paint. Sprinkle on some glitter. Have one child hold the stick and run from one end of the room to the other to show how the shooting star moves.

    Take a drawing paper and apply glue to it in a circle. Sprinkle some golden glitter on this and then cardboard piece or a big-toothed comb and pull the glue and glitter backward in a tail. Let dry.

    Have the preschoolers draw and color a picture of a night sky showing shooting stars. Encourage each preschooler to talk about his or her artwork.

    Visit a space museum or a planetarium.

    Observe the night sky. Stay up on a moonless night and look for meteors.

    What Else to Do

    Listen to the Perry Como song 'Catch a Falling Star'

    Read Tintin - The Shooting Star

    See a photo of a meteor shower.

    Read "Just What Is That Bright Star In The Night Sky?" here on Bright Hub.