Constellation Location Crash Course Kids #31.2

Crash Course Kids
Type Category
Instructional Materials
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.



By watching this episode of Crash Course Kids, students will learn why different constellations appear in the night sky from season to season. They will also find out why people in the Northern Hemisphere view different constellations than people in the Southern Hemisphere on the same day.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Informal Education
  • Grade 5
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

5-ESS1-2 Represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky.

Clarification Statement: Examples of patterns could include the position and motion of Earth with respect to the sun and selected stars that are visible only in particular months.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include causes of seasons.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
When viewing this video, students obtain information that will assist them in answering why we see different stars and constellations in the night sky seasonally. To fully meet this performance expectation, students would gather firsthand data and try to figure out this phenomenon on their own before watching the video. For instance, they could track a constellation’s location in the night sky each month (at the same time of night), drawing what they observe and/or creating a table or other graphic organizer to record their observations. Because it is difficult for students to view constellations on their own at night, planetarium software like Stellarium could be used by students instead. See related resource: Small groups could track different constellations and share patterns found in the data. After students construct their own explanations based on their data, they could watch the video.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students are obtaining information from the video to explain the phenomena of how visible constellations change in the night sky seasonally. To more fully address the full element of the practice, students would obtain information from other sources and combine their information using graphic organizers or other methods of recording information.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The video focuses on how Earth’s orbit around the sun and its rotation affect what constellations we see in the night sky. The teacher might do some exploration activities prior to viewing the video such as Kinesthetic Astronomy. See related resource:

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The video explicitly identifies the cause and effect relationship of Earth’s orbit around the sun and visible constellations in the night sky.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The video begins with the question “Are all the constellations always visible from the sky, from everywhere on earth?” Students could discuss or write their ideas about this question prior to viewing the video. When viewing the video, students are using the practice of obtaining information to answer this question. The teacher could provide a graphic organizer for students to use during the video to record information. The video explains the cause and effect relationship between Earth’s orbit around the sun and the constellations that are visible to us in the night sky. However, the video does not give students the opportunity to figure out or make sense of the phenomenon themselves using the three dimensions. Instead, students are told the explanations. To make this a stronger resource, the teacher should have students gather their own firsthand data on the locations of constellations in the night sky over time and attempt to construct explanations to make sense of what they observe. This should happen before they watch the video.

  • Instructional Supports: Unless students do some observations or collect data prior to watching the video, they will have no background knowledge for the video to draw upon. As mentioned previously, students should have firsthand experiences before watching the video. To help all learners access the information, the video can be shown multiple times and/or paused periodically with instruction or discussion between pauses. While viewing, students could be creating a diagram or use a graphic organizer to help them explain the cause and effect relationship between the sun’s orbit and visible constellations in the night sky. If there are enough devices in the classroom, students could work independently, in small groups or partners to view the video with a graphic organizer giving them control of pausing the video or rewatching it.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: This video has no method for monitoring student progress. The teacher could ask questions after the video to assess student understanding. For instance, students could write claims, evidence and reasoning statements after watching the video to answer the question: “Why do we see the stars in different positions at different times of the year?”

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This resource does not include a technologically interactive component.