Children create a double spiral mobile showing the stages in the lives of small- and large-mass stars.
Before You Start: Review with the children the stages in the life cycle of a star. Help them to recall what they learned in the story and refer to “About Stars” (Ronna, please link to background section) to fill in the details.
Invite the children to make a double spiral mobile to illustrate the different stages in the life of a small-mass star like our Sun, and in the life of a large-mass star.
Provide the materials to the children. Have them decorate their paper plates. When they have finished, have them cut their plates, beginning on the outer edge, into spirals.
Invite the children to examine the craft materials and select different components that will represent the different stages of the small- and large-mass stars.
Each child should determine which spiral will represent the lifecycle of a small-mass star. Have them glue their selected craft materials representing the different stages of the small-mass star along the length of the spiral. Have them begin at the top of their spiral, using cotton fluff for the cloud of gas and dust from which all stars are born. They should space the stages so that the final stage is attached at the bottom of the spiral.
Have them repeat the process for the large-mass star spiral.
When they have completed both spirals, and the glue has dried, have the children create a small hole in the top of each spiral. Use a pipe cleaner to join the two spirals together and to make a loop for attaching the spirals to a piece of string that they can use for hanging.
They may want to add more cotton fluff to the top of their mobile, to represent the cloud of gas and dust from which all stars form.
Suggestions for craft materials for the small-mass star stages:
Suggestions for craft materials for the large-mass stars:
Connections to the National Science Standard(s)
Standard D(grades K–4): The sun and stars have properties that can be observed and described.
Standard D(grades 9-12): Our sun is an average star.
Standard D (grades 9-12): Stars produce energy from nuclear reactions, primarily the fusion of hydrogen to form helium.