The Magic School Bus Sees Stars
Students report star counts and explore why we don't see stars during the day.
- Grades: 3–5
Field Trip Notes
When the kids see Horace Scope on the Star Shopping Network, they decide to buy Dorothy Ann a star for her birthday. Not wanting to buy something sight unseen, the kids blast off in the Magic School Bus to inspect the merchandise. They visit a young star, and then a middle-age star — but it's the third, and last star they decide to buy. But when they give Horace their money, KABLOOM! The star explodes! Does this mean their star is gone forever?
Time: 30 minutes
Group Size: 4
Dorothy Ann has a nifty new telescope, but she still enjoys looking at the stars with eye power alone. You kids report star counts and explore why we don't see stars during the day.
What You Need
For the class:
- Copies of the SHINE ON page, which includes the Star Count take-home activity
For each group:
- Pencil or pen
- Bright flashlight
Ahead of time: Encourage students to do the Star Count activity with their families. Set a date for Star Count reports.
Talk About It
Let students report results of their Star Counts. Ask: Who saw the most stars? The least? Why did some see less stars then others did? (Light from surroundings or a bright moon fades out some stars.)
What To Do
- Ask: Do stars shine during the day? (Yes, but atmospheric gases, dust, and water vapor scatter sunlight passing through. This veils stars until the sun sets.) Record students’ ideas.
- After kids punch out the Astro-Liz “constellation,” have them cut out the foldover. Fold the white flap over the dark Astro-Liz flap. Ask: What do the holes represent? (stars) The flashlight? (sun) The cover flap? (atmosphere)
- Tell kids to pretend it’s nighttime. Hold up Astro-Liz to a bright window, white flap facing them. Do they see “stars” through the “atmosphere” (cover flap)?
- Ask: When the sun comes up, do you see stars? Let kids shine the flashlight on the coverflap “atmosphere.”
- Ask: Why don’t we see stars during the day?
Make a sky map of favorite constellations students see at night.