Activity: Constellations of the Zodiac

1995 The Regents of the University of California

by Beth Napier


NOTE: Inform students that they will have to bring to class three or four empty toilet paper or paper towel tubes in order to complete this activity!

Have students form small groups of three or four.

Introduce students to the Constellations of the Zodiac as explained in the Introduction section of this lesson plan.

Give each group a copy of each worksheet depicting the patterns of the zodiac constellations.

Each student will be responsible for making three to four hand-held constellation viewers in the following manner:

  1. Students will use scissors to separate each rectangle containing zodiac constellation patterns from the others on the Constellations of the Zodiac "Figure A," "Figure B," and "Figure C." They will also cut a matching rectangle from the construction paper and place the constellation pattern over the construction paper.
  2. Students will poke pin holes in the small dots and make larger holes (with pencils, pens, etc.) in the larger dots.
  3. Students will tape the zodiac constellation pattern, INK SIDE DOWN, onto one end of an empty paper tube. They will label each tube according to its correct zodiac name and numerical order as given on the worksheet.
  5. FOR ALL STUDENTS: As students hold the tubes up to any light source, they will see the pattern the zodiac constellations make in the night sky.

Be sure to inform students that the in the night sky, all stars appear to have the same size because they are so far away that they show up as pinpoints of light. For the purpose of this demonstration, we have made larger and smaller dots so that more or less light will come through the paper, mimicking bright and faint stars.


Your students will now be ready to study and recognize the patterns of the zodiac constellations.

Assign two astrological signs for each group to lightly research. Indicate that you want them to list such things as personality traits, tendencies, etc. This research will be used in later assignments. You may want to copy this research for later dissemination.


Have students group themselves according to their zodiac signs.

  1. Ask each group to come up with a list (from their own experience) itemizing the common qualities of their group. Have students compare their experiential qualities with those astrological qualities assigned to their astrological sign group (from class research).
  2. Cut out astrological predictions from the previous day's newspaper. Read these predictions and have students try to determine which horoscope pertains to their own sign.
  3. Have students determine how many times, after several weeks of following their horoscopes, a given personality trait or event prediction actually matched reality. Repeat the experiment using made-up predictions and personality traits, and analyze results, which will show that in both cases the number of correct matches is no better than random.

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