Stars Puzzle

Subject: Science

Grade: K-12

Topic: Apsáalooke Constellations

Content: After reading Apsáalooke star stories, or hearing them read by instructor, students will learn the basic “map” of the Apsáalooke Constellations.

Goals: Students will be able to identify one to five of the Apsáalooke Constellations—depending on the teacher’s judgment and the age of students.


Science Standard 4: Students demonstrate knowledge of composition, structures, processes and interactions of Earth’s systems and objects in space.

Benchmark 6: Students will describe the origin, location, and evolution of stars and their planetary systems in respect to the Solar System, the Milky Way, Local Galactic Group, and the Universe.

Science Standard 6: Students understand historical developments in science and technology.

Essential Understanding 1: There is great diversity among the 12 tribal Nations of Montana in their languages, cultures, histories and governments. Each Nation has a distinct and unique cultural heritage that contributes to modern Montana.

Essential Understanding 2: There is great diversity among individual American Indians as identity is developed, defined and redefined by entities, organizations and people. A continuum of Indian identity, unique to each individual, ranges from assimilated to traditional. There is no generic American Indian.

Essential Understanding 3: The ideologies of Native traditional beliefs and spirituality persist into modern day life as tribal cultures, traditions, and languages are still practiced by many American Indian people and are incorporated into how tribes govern and manage their affairs. Additionally, each tribe has its own oral histories, which are as valid as written histories. These histories pre-date the “discovery” of North America.

Essential Understanding 6: History is a story most often related through the subjective experience of the teller. With the inclusion of more and varied voices, histories are being rediscovered and revised. History told from an Indian perspective frequently conflicts with the stories mainstream historians tell.

Objectives: After completing this lesson students will state the name of an Apsáalooke constellation and the basic story behind its name.

Materials: Apsáalooke star map hand-out; reference for stories is The Stars We Know by Tim McCleary; large sheet of cardboard or poster board to recreate a table to floor size map of Apsáalooke star system. Instructor will then cut map into large jigsaw puzzle pieces.

Introduction: Students and instructors will read portions of The Stars we Know and recreate star map using jigsaw puzzle. Students will then discuss the need for people to explain the mysteries of our universe, and the development of astronomical technology.

Development: This hands-on approach will give students a clearer understanding of their interactions with the earth’s systems and objects in space. Through discussion students will identify the changes in our perceptions of the sky.

Practice: Students will complete puzzle in groups, pairs, or alone. In addition instructor may ask them to draw the sky on a blank page with just the North Star identified.

Checking for Understanding/Evaluation: Students will identify an Apsáalooke constellation and give a brief explanation of the story behind the star.

Closure: Students will discuss how different technology may have changed perceptions of the earth’s sky.

In addition: