Lunar and Planetary Institute


Milky Way Viewing


A black hole may reside at the very center of our galaxy.Children retell the Native American story Coyote and the Milky Way”, along with the science story, to reinforce their understanding of why Earth has seasons.

The Activity

Invite the children to retell the Native American and the science story. Help them begin the Native American story, and prompt them through the discussion. Help them remember incidents that are left out or are out of order.

  • What were the giants doing each night?
  • What was Coyote howling about?
  • Why did the giants want to stop their work?
  • What did Coyote do?
  • What did Coyote find at the top of the mountain?
  • What did he do with what he found?

You may wish to keep a list of events as the children build the story. Follow the Native American narrative with a discussion of the science story in the same way. Have the children connect the events in the Native American story to the events in the science story where they can.

You may wish to have the children reenact the story as a play, taking turns as the narrator. They can create songs or dance to the stories. Invite them to illustrate the stories using craft materials (see the “Drawing Conclusions” activity).


More Activities

Ages 5 and up

How Long?
30 minutes or longer

What's Needed?

•Poster Paper
• Markers

Connections to the National Science Standard(s)

Standards A&D (grades K–4):Orally communicate an understanding that objects in the sky have locations that can be observed and described.

Standard A (grades 5–8): Orally communicate the scientific explanation of how galaxies were formed.