Making a Simple Astrolabe

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In this activity, learners make an astrolabe, a device used for measuring altitude, including the height of objects in the sky. This activity guide includes instructions for constructing the device as well as brief background information about when the astrolabe was first invented. The "Using a Simple Astrolabe" activity includes instructions on how to use it (see related resource).

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • 1 piece of cardboard, manila file folder, or other stiff paper
  • 1 piece of dark thread or string 12 inches (30 centimeters) long
  • 1 small weight, such as a metal washer
  • 1 plastic drinking straw
  • 1 copy of an astrolabe drawing
  • 1 container of glue or paste
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • 1 roll of tape
  • 1 paper hole puncher


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Technology
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Technology and History


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities