Ideas for the "Stargazer" badge
Compilation from the GuidingUK e-list
Make the constellations with sticky stars stuck on black paper, and a constellation viewer from a cardboard tube with black paper over the end with pin pricks to make the constellations.
One of the clauses is to know why sailors in "olden days" had to know about the stars... it's fairly easy to find north using the stars, teaching them that might help them really understand what use it was - maybe do a treasure hunt in the dark - the treasure is 50 paces north of your start point & the stars are their only way of finding north!
There are some astronomy pages on the Zoom School... including stuff about phases of the moon (even the origin of "once in a blue moon"!) at http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/astronomy/moon/Phases.shtml There are also a couple of activities on phases of the moon at http://www.astronomy.com/content/static/parentsteachers/activities/its justaphase.asp
Take a coffee lid. Cut circle of card to fit inside.
Prick out a star pattern on card. Add small ballbearings (We used dragees)
cover with cling film. Move lid to get ball bearings into holes forming
We did a night walk as a starting point for stargazer
I once tested this badge with a whole pack. Things they had done, apart from actually looking at the stars and finding constellations, included constellation viewers and finding out about how different cultures "saw" the constellations, esp. native North Americans. All of them seemed to have found different stories and stuff! I learnt a lot!!
If you have access to a laptop, you could download a
planetarium, and show them how the stars appear to move relative to
the earth. There are a few available, and when I did it with some kids
(not in Guiding) a few years ago, they were really hooked! The other
thing that they find exciting is the idea that we're all made of "star-stuff"
- they look at the sky in a whole new way! But it's a great badge to
You could try a star hunt - buy some reflective tape (quite
cheap in DIY/car stores like Halfords etc), cut into star shapes and
stick in a set area. Send the girls out with a torch to find how many
they can spot. You can also use these later on in a relay race in the
dark. Good luck on having a clear night.
Big black paper/sheet painted with the better known constellations, to lie beneath and look at (only a few Brownies at a time). Perhaps give them a planisphere and ask them to write down the constellations they see on the sheet. It's a good standby for cloudy skies.
Night vision: you need a not-quite dark room Sit in the dark for a minute, letting their eyes get used to the dark. Take them over to a Kim's Game tray (10 items only) using a WHITE torch, turn torch off and give them 30 seconds to spot what is on tray. Take them back to sit down and while their eyes are readjusting to the dark, ask what was on it. Repeat the exercise with a different tray but with a red torch, they will spot a lot more. This is why astronomers use red torches when walking around stargazing, to not destroy their night vision.
Story telling: Make up a story of the constellations which repeats their names a lot. The Brownies can run round the circle or make a noise when their constellation is mentioned. (eg Orion - swish for a sword, Draco - a dragon's roar, Sirius - woof woof etc).
Moon game (actions game) When the moon is new, everyone
makes themselves as small as possible. When the moon is full, everyone
makes themselves as big as possible. Crescent - make yourself into a
curve ( Gibbous - find a partner and make yourselves into two curves
() to represent the not-yet full moon. During day, run around the Earth,
the leader, anticlockwise. Option: last one to perform the action is
Maybe doing some worksheets? Draw out the dots of constellations
and ask them to join the dots and decided what they think it looks like;
then they can name the constellation and colour it in, either individually
or do it on a big sheet for sixes.
We did this badge on pack holiday. We started with a "fun"
talk by my husband who is very into the sky at night where he told them
about the different constellations and sky - but on their level. We
were then to go outside and look at the stars but, guess what, it was
raining. So we drew constellations on A4 sheets of paper and marked
them with numbers, with some bogus ones, and taped them around the building.
The lights were turned out and the girls then had to with their torches
find the constellations to see how many they could recognise. They had
a great time and most managed to find at least three or four of the
Don't forget there are lots of ideas and useful links
on the NetGuides/Guides Star and Moon pages that would help with this
badge. I know they are aimed at Guide age group but there are some simpler
ideas on there and others can be adapted. They are at http://www.netguides.org.uk/guides/Moonpage.html
I once did the constellations on the inside of an umbrella
at a Guiders training. It was quite difficult to do but the girls love
looking at the constellations that way as well and picking out the ones
in the night sky.
We took a telescope and they all had a chance to look
through it as we did their stargazer badge with them.