Full details, including credits and location for the maps featured can be found on the BBC Four site.
Aims and objectives
- To begin to understand about constellations in the Northern Hemisphere.
- To learn about the myths behind the names of some of the constellations.
- To introduce the topic of astronomy.
- To understand the key elements of Renaissance art.
The lesson plan
- Hand out the picture of the plough - Cellarius Worksheet 1.
- Ask the class to join the dots to see what shape it makes.
- Discuss in pairs what their shape looks like and feed back their answers.
- Explain that it is a picture of stars observed without a telescope and is called the plough. Explain that groups of stars together are called constellations and that many were discovered by the Greeks and Romans. Each constellation is drawn into a shape and there is a story that is meant to explain why the stars are grouped in this way. It was their way of explaining science.
- Watch the video on Cellarius, and download the transcript to help you follow the clip.
- Ask pupils to complete worksheet 2 as pupils watch the video.
- Discuss what you could learn about science from this map and the knowledge of the stars in the 16th Century.
- Split the class into groups of 4-5 pupils.
- Hand out the Role play cards and ask each group to produce a role play which tells the story of the constellation they you have been given.
- After the class have watched each role play put the map from the BBC Four website up on the IWB. Match the role play to the picture of the constellation.
- Look at the pictures of the Psalter and star map - Cellarius Worksheet 3.
- Split the class into pairs and ask them to look at the pictures of the Psalter and star map.
- They have to make a list of differences in the type of art.
- Feedback their answers and make a class list of the key elements of the art in the star map. They should be able to identify the key aspects of Renaissance Art. These include a sense of perspective, an attempt to draw people as an accurate recreation, use of roman architecture or other roman and/or Greek ideas.
- Ask the class to add labels to their map of the elements that highlight the elements of Renaissance Art.
- Ask the class to imagine that they are a 16th Century astronomer who has discovered a new constellation.
- They need to decide upon a story/myth to go with the name of their constellation.
- Then produce a Renaissance drawing to illustrate their myth.
PlenarySplit the class into pairs and ask them to answer the questions below.
- What have you learned on scientific knowledge of the space in the 16th Century?
- Why were people excited about stars in the 16th Century?
- What have you learned about Renaissance art?
- Research the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere.
- Find out more about the constellations of the Northern Hemisphere.
- Find out more about looking at the stars - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8224433.stm
- Look at the worksheets here to help you identify the constellations you can see - http://www.bbc.co.uk/thrillseeker/astronomy/
- Find out more about the instruments used and the scientific advances needed to look at the stars - http://www.bbc.co.uk/solarsystem/scientists