Star Power

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In this activity, learners create a star show and discover how they can prevent light pollution. Using simple materials, learners first design constellation boxes. Next, learners use their constellation boxes and desk lamps to explore how city lights impact the visibility of constellations. Finally, learners design shields to reduce light pollution and increase the visibility of constellations.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • a room that can be darkened
  • 1 desk lamp with lamp shade removed
  • shoe box (narrow/skinny) or tissue box and extra paperboard (e.g. cereal box)
  • 3 x 5 index card
  • tape (duct or masking)
  • scissors
  • pushpin
  • LED keychain flashlight
  • book that contains drawings of constellations (optional)
  • construction paper (optional)
  • glue (optional)
  • markers, crayons, colored pencils (optional)
  • aluminum foil
  • paperboard (e.g. cereal boxes)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Stars and Galaxies
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Environmental Engineering
  • Life Sciences
    • Ecology
      • Human Impact
  • The Nature of Science
    • Science and Society
    • The Scientific Process
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Impacts of Technology
      • Technology and the Environment
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Culture, ethnicity, and gender

  • Girls

    • Explicity developed for this group
    • Acknowledges this group's contributions to STEM
    • Highlights STEM opportunities for this group
    • Identifies role models or mentors in STEM fields from this group
    • Uses inclusive images of people from this group


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Twin Cities Public Television, Inc., 2010

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation, 0813519
  • ExxonMobil