Space

Finding the Big Dipper, the North Star, and the Little Dipper

I’m still working on preparing for my next Bear den meeting which will focus on Bear Elective 1: Space. One of the requirements for this elective is to locate the North Star and two constellations in the night sky. Since the easist way to find the North Star is to locate the Big Dipper and then the Little Dipper, they can do this requirement pretty easily.

The trick is that we are meeting in the afternoon, so if the Bears want to fulfill this requirement, they will need to do it on their own at home. To help them, I am going to give them a sheet to take with them explaining how to find the Big Dipper, the North Star, and the Little Dipper.

Printable copy of  Finding the Big Dipper, the  North Star, and the Little Dipper

Finding the Big Dipper, the North Star, and the Little Dipper

  1. To locate the Big Dipper, look in the north sky.
  2. Look for a constellation that looks like a big ladle. See the picture in the printable  file for an example, but be aware that the orientation of the constellation might be different than shown in the picture.
  3. Imagine a line from the two stars at the end of the “bowl” of the Big Dipper.
  4. Follow that line to find the bright star at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper.
  5. That star is the North Star. The North Star always points to true north.
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One Response to Finding the Big Dipper, the North Star, and the Little Dipper

  1. Philosoweed December 14, 2011 at 1:29 PM #

    Lesson plan is great, however, the scouts are to learn 2 constellations. The little and big dipper are both asterisms not constellations. The little dipper is in the constellation Ursa Minor and the big dipper is in the constellation Ursa Major.

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