Brownies Stargazer support pack by shitingting


									Dear Brownie Leader,

We are happy to enclose a copy of our support materials for the Brownie Stargazer
Badge. These have been developed so that the badge can be delivered by anyone, with
no prior experience required.

We hope to update the pack whenever needed, and make it available online through
the Sackville website. Go to and follow the link
through science to “Leading Space education”.

We are always happy to receive feedback from leaders. Please email with successes and suggestions for improvement. You should
also use this address to request further support, if needed.

We hope you are able to guide the girls to success, and enjoy exploring the wonders
of the Universe yourselves too!

Good luck,


Head of Science Faculty & Lead Space Teacher

Sackville School
East Grinstead
West Sussex
RH19 3TY
                        Brownies Stargazer Badge

                              Support Materials

These materials are intended to support Brownies Leaders in delivering
aspects of the Stargazer Badge.

They have been developed by Sackville School, East Grinstead, as
part of their “Leading Space Education Programme”

Sackville offers further support, including visits to our school or your
meeting. This can involve observations using our telescopes, or other
activities towards the stargazer badge. We can also provide an assessor.
Contact details are enclosed.

What is required:

1. With an adult you know, go outside when it is dark and do the following:

       * Look at the stars
       * Point out the Plough and use it to find the North Star.
       * Point out two other constellations.
       * Look at the stars through a telescope or binoculars. Know what are good
       conditions for stargazing.

2. Tell other Brownies the stories behind the two constellations you pointed out in
clause 1.

3. Visit a planetarium, observatory, museum or website with an astronomy
section. Tell the tester four things you found out.

4. Make a mobile or draw a picture to show the phases of our Moon.

5. Name the planets in our solar system. Find out some facts about four of them
and use this to make a game or puzzle for other Brownies.
                          Brownies Stargazer Badge

                                   Clauses 1 & 2

Before going outside:

Make sure all the Brownies are wrapped up warm, and that they have a torch to avoid
tripping up when moving to and from the observation position. Binoculars are very
useful, and by far the most useful thing for youngsters to observe with.

Suggested Activities:

Go outside when it is dark and fairly clear. You will want to find an area that is as
dark as possible. Whilst it is ideal to be away from streetlights, this is unlikely. Just
try to avoid having street or security lighting shining directly at you.

Allow your eyes to become accustomed to the dark, at least for 5 minutes.

In this time, you can consider the weather. Is it clear? Misty?

Does the moonlight (if any) cast shadows? If it is a bright moon, will the stars be
easier or harder to see? What are the best conditions for stargazing?

Then look for patterns or shapes in the sky. Allow the Brownies to make up their own
patterns if they want – this is what the ancients did! Then look for the 3 constellations
(patterns of stars) in the fact sheet:

           the Plough (or Great Bear or Big Dipper, or Saucepan)
           Cassiopeia (or the W, or Crown)
           Cepheus (or the House)

Maybe some could read out the description of these, or look them up when they get

Use the final 2 stars of the Plough to find the Pole star (Polaris) as shown on the sheet.
Ask why this would be helpful if you were lost? At sea? (There are no other
landmarks at sea, so mariners were dependent on the stars).

Finally, look at the stars through binoculars around the “W” of Cassiopeia. Notice
how you can see many more stars than with your eyes. Why? This is because they
have bigger “eyes” than you – the lenses at the end. This is why nocturnal animals
have big eyes too! Look at the moon if you can, and record its shape for later.

              The children have now completed Clauses 1 & 2
                    Constellation Fact Sheet

The Plough is part of a constellation
called Ursa Major, or the Great Bear.
The curve of stars on the left
is the tail of the bear. Some
people think it looks like a
saucepan. You can join the
last 2 stars to find the North
Pole star, called Polaris.
Sailors use this to find their   The Plough
way at sea, where there are
no other landmarks.

                                        The “W” shape of Cassiopeia is
 Casseopeia                             easy to spot. In mythology, she was
                                        the Queen of Ethiopia. Do you
                                        think the shape of stars looks like
                                        a crown? Her daughter Andromeda
                                        was trapped by the sea, but
                                        rescued by Perseus. Both
                                        Andromeda and Perseus are
                                        constellations too!

The constellation Cepheus looks like
a house. He was the King of Ethiopia,                              Cepheus
and the wife of Cassiopeia. This is
why he is next to her in the sky!
                        Brownies Stargazer Badge

                                Clauses 3 and 5

Whilst you could visit the Chichester Planetarium, Greenwich observatory or
Hertsmonceaux Science Centre, children can easily achieve the clause by going onto
one of the following websites:               A child friendly approach to space with games                     Follow the students link for good resources from
                                     the National Space Centre          Great, fun videos about space from NASA        The European Space Agency’s kid’s page          More up to date information from the BBC

The children need only write down or describe 4 facts that they have found out.

They could do this on post-it notes. Then they could stick them up as a group to make
a “wall of facts”.

It would make sense for these facts to be about some planets in the Solar System, as
these can be used to make a quiz or “Top Trumps” game, hence achieving Clause 5.

Children need to know the order of the planets. Perhaps they can remember a
mnemonic, such as:

My            Mercury

Very          Venus

Excellent     Earth
                                     Children could make up their own
Mother        Mars                   rhyme, or find out why Pluto was
                                     downgraded to a “dwarf planet”
Just          Jupiter                in 2006.

Shot          Saturn

Uncle         Uranus

Ned’s         Neptune

Parrot        Pluto
                              Brownies Stargazer Badge

                                      Clause 4
Explaining to children why the moon appears to change shape is not easy! Extra
information about this is provided for leaders who want it. However, the children only
need to describe how the shape changes during a month.

Whilst a poster or mobile is acceptable, we suggest that the children may prefer Jaffa
cakes! Nibbling away at these is a fun way of showing how the moon changes.

Each child starts with a whole Jaffa cake. Get them to hold it up with the chocolate
side facing away from them (otherwise the “Moon” appears black). This represents
the shape of a full moon.

Get them to nibble away at ONE side only. This forms a different shape called a
gibbous moon, where one side is a semicircle, but the other isn’t quite. It happens just
before and just after the full moon.

Continue by eating half, giving the first quarter moon (as it’s a quarter of the way
through the cycle) or the last quarter.

Eat a bit more to make a crescent moon.

Then finally eat it all – the new moon!

At each point, students can complete the sheet or sketch what they see. You could
take photos along the way, or try to get the “full set” of Jaffa cakes and put them

This whole cycle takes about 28 days, or a month (or “Moonth” as it was called).

Children have now completed clause 4.
          How does the moon appear to change shape?

                          Full Moon

         Waxing                             Waning
         Gibbous                            Gibbous

First Quarter                                          Last quarter

        Waxing                              Waning
        Crescent                            crescent

                          New Moon
          How does the moon appear to change shape?

                          Full Moon

         Waxing                             Waning
         Gibbous                            Gibbous

First Quarter                                          Last quarter

        Waxing                              Waning
        Crescent                            crescent

                          New Moon

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