“The videos taught so much! The kids went from no knowledge of constellations to talking about constellations and origin stories with their peers and adults. […] Being encouraged to be creative and use the watercolors however they thought best was awesome! All kids were proud of their finished product.”
Mrs. D'Amelio

1st Grade Classroom Teacher , Mount Erie Elementary ; Anacortes, WA


LEARNING:  In this project, student artists are introduced to constellations and their stories from Greek, Native American, and Inca cultures; they compare how these cultures interpreted the same groups of stars in the sky and learn about how they incorporated the changing sky into their mythology.

CREATING:  Student artists brainstorm their own, original, constellations, create an origin myth, redraw their brainstorms into a thought out composition of the night sky, and finish using liquid watercolor and oil pastels.

CONNECTING: This project is part of our ‘Art & Literacy Curriculum’. You are welcome to use it independently, and it is easily adaptable to use across multiple grades. However, it was designed to support the topic ‘sun/moon/stars’, which is often found in 1st grade ELA curricula. Text sets and vocab are pulled for 1st grade students.

Specifically,  this project addresses the general theme of the sky; how the stars inspired storytellers and artists throughout different cultures, and also addresses how the changing sky influenced these stories.

Scope & Sequence:

Lesson 1: SW learn that nearly every culture found ‘pictures’ amongst the stars in the sky, and these pictures would describe characters from myths, earthbound creatures, or sometimes objects. They then get copies of constellation dots and they connect the dots to make their own ‘constellations’.

Lesson 2: SW learn about Greek constellation ‘origin stories’. Using a self-paced work-packet as a guide, they choose 1 (or more) of their brainstormed constellations from lesson 1 and use a story map to roughly write or illustrate an origin story.

Lesson 3: SW learn learn about a Native American constellation myth, and how the characters often enacted a narrative in the sky. Students use their origin story to design a composition, and begin work on a final drawing.

Lesson 4: SW learn about the Inca People, and how they saw constellations in the absence of stars. They then have two days to paint their drawings.

Lesson 5: SW have a fifth day entirely for finishing and refining work.

Lesson 6: Optional: a final day for finishing.

(you can preview the first lesson in a project without enrolling by clicking on ‘lesson 1’ above).


The above will take you to a supply list that assumes a class size of 30. Adjust according to your needs. 
The above will take you to a list of core texts, as well as a text set. More information is included in the link. 
List of Tier 2 & 3 vocabulary

Art Elements:

line, color, value

Art Principles: 

balance, unity


RI.1.9, W.1.2, W.1.2, SL.1.1a,  SL.1.1b, SL.1.2, SL.1.1c, SL.1.3, SL.1.5


VA:Cr2.1.1a, VA:Cr3.1.2a, VA:Cn11.1.1a, VA:Cn11.1.2a

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Navigation tip: when you first go through the project, you must hit the 'mark complete' button, at the bottom of the page, to unlock the next lesson. After 'mark complete' has been hit, you've unlocked that lesson, and you can then use the sidebar to easily click to different lessons within the project (helpful if you are working through the project with more than one class).

Why do I need to hit mark complete? Certain lessons have email triggers (such as teaching tips when there is a painting lesson), and this helps us know when to send them. It also helps us track completion rates.

Our art projects are free. To access them: 

1. Enroll in any course with your email

2. Access courses you are enrolled in through your personal 'Artroom' at the top of the page.

Terms of use: We are a non-profit, and the materials made available for download are freely available for anyone to use, adapt and share (with attribution), but no one is permitted to sell either the original program, an adaptation of it, or lesson plans that reproduce any part of it.

Affiliate Links: On the pages, you may find affiliate links to art supplies, books, and misc materials. We encourage you to use these, as we do make a small percentage off of them, and by doing so you support our mission. More, we link to products that are expert-recommended; for our supplies, art teachers have helped us choose the most effective brands to use. For our books, literacy consultants have vetted our selection.