This post is sponsored by Disney Book Group.
Connecting science and literacy is a great way to engage students who may not gravitate towards your science center independently. This science center idea is easy to make and perfect to use in your science area for free choice after reading Mo Willems’ Unlimited Squirrels: I Want to Sleep Under the Stars! This science activity doesn’t just introduce constellations to your students. It also works on fine motor and one to one correspondence as they match the stars to the dots on the sheets. Before I get to exactly how to make and use these constellation trays in your classroom, let me tell you more about the book!
Unlimited Squirrels in I Want To Sleep Under The Stars
Unlimited Squirrels: I Want to Sleep Under the Stars! is Mo Willems’ third book in the Unlimited Squirrels series. In this fun comic book-like story, one little squirrel decides that they want to sleep under the stars, and their friends are eager to help, maybe too eager. This is one book in a series that features a funny, furry adventure AND bonus jokes, quirky quizzes, nutty facts, and so, so many Squirrels. Each book in the series addresses a range of subjects to engage kids in the overall reading experience while also providing caregivers and educators with humorous and relatable conversation starters. I love that the acorns in this story reflect the character’s emotions. While you can read only the main story, the book also offers teachers and parents many other opportunities to engage children about topics like emotions.
How To Make the Constellation Tray
Gather your materials. You will need some black cardstock, colorful star magnets, a cookie sheet, and a fine tip gold metallic paint pen.
Start by drawing out the constellations with the paint pen on the cardstock.
Add the name.
I did six constellations, even though most of my preschoolers will likely only explore 1-2 at a time, giving children options to choose from empowers their curiosity.
How To Use This Book & Science Tray Together
Before you introduce the constellation tray to your students, take time to read Unlimited Squirrels: I Want to Sleep Under the Stars! and talk about why the stars shine at night but not during the day. Then ask your students if they have ever heard the word constellation. Ask if anyone knows what that is. Explain that a constellation is what we call a group of stars that make a pattern in the sky. These patterns were named by astronomers many years ago. The shape is made kinda like how connect-the-dot images are made only with stars, and the line connecting them is only in our minds. Show them one of the patterns. Explain that each dot is a star and add the star magnets to the dots to make the constellation easier to see.
Time to Play and Learn
These science trays are so colorful and inviting.
Adding and removing the magnets offer students some good fine motor work too!
For children who are super engaged and interested in constellations, give them white crayons and a sheet of black paper, and foil stickers to create their own!
Unlimited Squirrels in I Want to Sleep Under the Stars! is newly available and perfect for beginner readers. Fans may know Mo Willems for the Elephant & Piggie and Pigeon books and this new series is giving readers something all-new to go NUTS about!