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Sky Is The Limit

Elective Adventure

Astronomy is the focus of this Adventure as Tigers explore the night sky and discover constellations.

Requirements

Observe the night sky with your den or Tiger adult partner. Talk about the items you see or might see there.
Night Sky Scavenger Hunt
LocationOutdoor
Energy 2
Supply List4
Prep Time5

Conduct a scavenger hunt of what is in the night sky.

  • Night Sky Scavenger Hunt sheet, found in additional resources 
  • Pencil, one for each Cub Scout and adult partner 
  • Mini Star Finder found in the Scout Shop 
  • Binoculars  
  • Telescope 
  • Activity Consent Form

Before the meeting: 

  1. Become familiar with identifying items in the night sky, stars, planets, and satellites.  
    • Stars in the night sky often have a “twinkle” this is due to the light interacting with the atmosphere.  Stars will move across the night sky but very slowly.  So if you see something and you can tell it’s moving, it isn’t a star. 
      • Sailors and travelers have used the stars for hundreds of years to find their way both on land and at sea. One of these stars is called the North Star. It is located almost directly above the North Pole. People could figure out which direction was north from this one star! The North Star is a dim star and not very bright. But it is an important star to be able to pick out. To find this star, first look for the group of stars called the Little Dipper. The Little Dipper looks like a spoon with a long handle. The North Star is located at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper. 
    • Constellations 
      • Set the star finder to the correct month, day, and time. 
      • Face north and look up using the star finder and match what is in the night sky to what is on the star finder. 
      • It’s recommended that you start by looking for either the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, or Orion as they contain bright stars and are easier to spot.  Once you have found one constellation you have a reference point to find others. 
    • Planets can often be seen in the night sky without a telescope.  Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are the most common planets that can be seen without a telescope.  Mercury and Venus are between the sun and the Earth.  Mars is the next planet after Earth from the sun.  Jupiter and Saturn are known as gas giants.  They are much larger than the Earth.  Saturn is approximately 9.5 times larger than the Earth and Jupiter is 11 times larger.  Planets in the night sky tend to be brighter and you may even see the color such as Mars being red. 
      • Planets do not twinkle like stars do. Planets have a constant light. This is a good way to figure out whether you are looking at a star or a planet. Look for these planets: 
        • Mercury is hard to see because it is always close to the sun. 
        • Venus is white and very bright. When Venus can be seen, it is always right after sunset or right before sunrise, near the horizon. 
        • Mars often looks red in the night sky. 
        • Jupiter is bright yellow. 
        • Saturn is also yellow but not as bright as Jupiter. 
      • Our word for planet comes from the ancient Greek words asteres planetai, which mean “wandering stars.” The Greeks knew thousands of years ago that the planets slowly moved across the sky over time. If you look at the planets often, you may notice that they change their position in the sky a little bit every day. 
    • Satellites can be spotted by their speed across the night sky.  For example, the International Space Station orbits the Earth 16 times in 24 hours!  That is 5 miles a second.  That means you could see the International Space Station cross the night sky several times in one night.  
    • Meteors – If you get lucky, you might see a streak of light shoot across the night sky. The light is caused by bits of rock and dust called meteoroids that fall into Earth’s atmosphere and burn up before they hit Earth. Some people call these falling stars. Every once in a while, a bit of space rock hits Earth. This is called a meteorite. Nine major meteor showers happen every year. They last for several nights. If you go stargazing during a meteor shower, you may be able to see many falling stars in a single night. 
  2. Identify a location that has minimal light pollution.  Check the forecast for an evening that is projected to have clear skies.  Confirm the date, time, and location to conduct the activity. 
  3. If the location is different than your normal meeting location, have parents and legal guardians complete the Activity Consent Form. 
  4. Set up the telescope to view the moon.  

During the meeting: 

  1. Gather the Cub Scouts and adult partners and share with them how to identify stars, planets, and satellites in the night sky.  
  2. Pass out the scavenger hunt activity to each Cub Scout.  Point to the moon and ask what shape is the moon in?  Have them look at their scavenger hunt activity sheet. Share with the Cub Scouts that the moon looks different because at times the Moon is between the Earth and the Sun and so the shadow of the Earth covers the moon and we can’t see the Moon, this is called a New Moon.  The moon has eight phases.  The moon will go through all eight phases 12 times in 354 days.   
  3. Share with the Cub Scouts that it takes the Earth 365 days to go around the Sun.  This is how we measure one year.  The moon goes through its phases 12 times in 354 days, which is almost one year.  Ask the Cub Scouts, “What do we have twelve of in one year?”  (Months)  Humans came up with the concept of having 12 months in a year from the number of times the moon goes through its phases in the time it takes the Earth to go around the sun. 
  4. Have Cub Scouts work with the adult partners on the night sky scavenger hunt.  Use binoculars to confirm if something is a star, planet, or satellite. 

Night Sky Scavenger Hunt sheet

Look at distant objects through a telescope, binoculars, or camera. Show how to focus the device you choose.
I Can See The Stars
LocationOutdoor
Energy 2
Supply List4
Prep Time5

The basics of how to use a telescope.

Before the meeting: 

  1. Become familiar with the parts of the telescope you will be using. 
    • Tripod 
    • Mount 
    • Optical tube 
    • Finder scope 
    • Eyepiece 
    • Star diagonal 
    • Focuser 
  2. Become familiar with the use of the telescope you will be using by following the owner’s manual. 
    • Proper setup 
    • How to how to aim the telescope at an object to view 
    • How to focus 
    • How to change the magnification
  3. Identify a location that has minimal light pollution.  Check the forecast for an evening that is projected to have clear skies.  Confirm the date, time, and location to conduct the activity. 
  4. If the location is different than your normal meeting location, have parents and legal guardians complete the Activity Consent Form. 
  5. Set up the telescope to view the moon.  

During the meeting: 

  1. Gather the Cub Scouts and adult partners and share with them what type of telescope you are using.   
  2. Point out the parts of the telescope. 
  3. Demonstrate how to use the finder scope. 
  4. Demonstrate how to use the eyepiece and how to focus.   
  5. One at a time, allow each Cub Scout and adult partner to look through the telescope and look at the moon and have them demonstrate how to focus.
Observe in the sky or select from a book, chart, computer, or electronic device two constellations that are easy to see in the night sky. With your den or Tiger adult partner, find out the constellation name and how to identify them. Create a picture of one of the constellations.
Pictures In The Sky
LocationOutdoor
Energy 2
Supply List2
Prep Time5

Identify and observe two constellations in the night sky.

  • Cub Scouts will need their Tiger handbook, page 53 
  • Scissors, a pair for each Cub Scout 
  • Blank sheets of paper, two per Cub Scout and two per adult partner 
  • Crayons, enough to share 
  • Activity Consent Form

Before the meeting: 

  1. Become familiar with at least two of the following constellations that will be visible during the time of your viewing:  
  2. Identify a location that has minimal light pollution.  Check the forecast for an evening that is projected to have clear skies.  Confirm the date, time, and location to conduct the activity. 
  3. If the location is different than your normal meeting location, have parents and legal guardians complete the Activity Consent Form. 
  4. Set up an area where Cub Scouts and adult partners can draw.  

During the meeting: 

  1. Gather the Cub Scouts and inform them that they will be making a book of constellations.  Have them work with their adult partner to cut out and fold the activity to make their book of constellations.  As they are working to make their books, share with them what you have learned about the constellations in their book. 
  2. When everyone has made their books walk outside and have adult partners work with their Cub Scout to identify at least two constellations in the night sky that are in their book.  Provide assistance as needed. 
  3. When everyone has identified at least two constellations in the sky gather them back to have Cub Scouts and adult partners draw one of the constellations.
Create a homemade model of a constellation.
Can-Stellation
LocationIndoor
Energy 2
Supply List2
Prep Time3

Make a model constellation out of a tin can.

  • Cub Scouts will need their Tiger handbook, page 52 and 53 
  • 15.25 oz. tin cans, one for each Cub Scout 
  • 2” common nails, one for each Cub Scout  
  • Sharpie markers, one for each Cub Scout 
  • Small youth hammers, one for each Cub Scout 
  • Youth sized safety glasses, one for each Cub Scout 
  • Have Cub Scouts bring their own flashlight 
  • Metal file hand tool 

Before the meeting: 

  1. Set up the meeting room so that Cub Scouts with help from their adult partner can complete the craft.  This craft requires hammering so make sure the surface used is sturdy. 
  2. Review the project to make a constellation from a tin can. 
  3. Make the project yourself to identify opportunities to guide Cub Scouts and adult partners through the project. 
  4. The day before the meeting remind Cub Scouts, parents, legal guardians, and adult partners that Cub Scouts will need to bring their flashlight for this activity.  
  5. Gather the empty 15.25 oz. tin cans and wash them, use a metal file to remove any sharp edges from the cans.  The cans should only have the tops removed.  

During the meeting: 

  1. Gather the Cub Scouts and adult partners and inform them they will make a model constellation out of a tin can.  Show them your example then turn off the lights and use your flashlight to project the constellation onto the ceiling.  
  2. Now have the Cub Scouts with their adult partners look at pages 52 and 53 of the Tiger handbook (page 53 may have been turned into a booklet).  Have them pick one of the constellations but do not share what constellation they have chosen with anyone but their adult partner. 
  3. Once they have chosen a constellation, the Cub Scouts work with their adult partners to first use the marker to mark the bottom of the can the constellation by making a dot for each star in the constellation.  
  4. Once they have placed the dots on the bottom of the can, keeping the can upside down, have the adult partner first place the nail where at one of the dots and using the hammer punch a hole in the can.  Once the adult partner has demonstrated it to their Cub Scout, the Cub Scout puts on protective eyewear and punches the remaining holes. 
  5. When everyone is done, dim the lights and have each Cub Scout flash their flashlight through their can to project their constellation onto the ceiling.  Have the other Cub Scouts raise their hand if they can identify the constellation. 
Edible Constellation
LocationIndoor
Energy 2
Supply List2
Prep Time2

Make an edible model of a constellation.

  • 1 – 10 oz. bag of marshmallows, regular or jumbo 
  • 1 – 16 oz. bag of pretzel sticks. thin enough to insert into marshmallows 
  • 2 small bowls for each Cub Scout 
  • Paper towels 
  • Cub Scouts will need their Tiger handbook, page 53 OR the booklet they made from page 53 
  • Handwashing station

Tiger >

Edible Constellation
Tiger – 1st Grade
Sky Is The Limit
ELECTIVE
Requirement 4

Edible Constellation

Snapshot of Activity

Make an edible model of a constellation.

Indoor
2
2
2
If you want to know more about The Adventure Activity Key click here.
  • 1 – 10 oz. bag of marshmallows, regular or jumbo 
  • 1 – 16 oz. bag of pretzel sticks. thin enough to insert into marshmallows 
  • 2 small bowls for each Cub Scout 
  • Paper towels 
  • Cub Scouts will need their Tiger handbook, page 53 OR the booklet they made from page 53 
  • Handwashing station

Before the meeting: 

  1. Check for food allergies or dietary restrictions and make any necessary adjustments.  Other options include toothpicks instead of pretzels and grapes instead of marshmallows.   
  2. Make a model of the constellation Orion by using marshmallows as the stars and pretzel sticks to connect them.  Use a full pretzel stick for Orion’s legs, arms, and body, and cut pretzel sticks to size for small sections.  Connect each section with a marshmallow to represent a star in the constellation. Keep the model as an example for the meeting. 
  3. Use the small bowls to place marshmallows in one and pretzel sticks in the other.  Cub Scouts and their adult partner will share the bowl to make their model.  Make sure that each bowl has enough to make two models, plus extra.  Lay out a paper towel at each spot for Cub Scouts and adult partners. 
  4. Set up the meeting location so Cub Scouts and adult partners can work on the project.  

During the meeting: 

  1. Gather the Cub Scouts and adult partners and share with them that they are going to make an edible constellation.  Have everyone wash their hands.  
  2. Share with them that they are going to make a model of the constellation Orion.  Orion was a mightier hunter but that isn’t the reason why you chose that constellation.  Tell Cub Scouts you chose this constellation because it has a lot of stars in it and in our model, we are going to use marshmallows as stars so naturally, we want a lot of marshmallows. 
  3. Have them use the image of the Orion constellation that is on page 53 of their Tiger handbook or from the booklet they made on page 53.   Show them your model. 
  4. Allow Cub Scouts and adult partners to make a model of the Orion constellation.
Glowing Constellation
LocationIndoor
Energy 2
Supply List3
Prep Time3

Glow in the dark painting of constellations.

  • Cub Scouts will need their Tiger handbook, page 52 
  • 8” x 10” painting canvas, primed, one for each Cub Scout and one for each adult partner 
  • Various sized paint brushes, enough to share 
  • Black acrylic paint 
  • Glow-in-the-dark paint: white, green, or yellow 
  • Small bowls to hold paint 
  • Jars with water in them to wash brushes 
  • Paper towels for clean up 
  • Tables 
  • Plastic table covers 
  • Sheets of plastic to cover floors. if needed 

Before the meeting: 

  1. Set the meeting location with tables and chairs to allow for Cub Scouts and adult partners to paint.  Cover tabletops with plastic table covers.  If floors are carpet, cover floor space with plastic floor covering.  
  2. The day before the meeting inform Cub Scouts, parents, legal guardians, and adult partners that they will be painting during this meeting and to wear appropriate clothing.  
  3. Set up the tables with a canvas for each Cub Scout and one for each adult partner.  Place black paint in one bowl and the glow-in-the-dark paint in another bowl.  Have a set of black and glow-in-the-dark paint for each Cub Scout and adult partner pair.  Have a set of brushes and a jar of water to wash brushes off for each Cub Scout and adult partner pair. 

During the meeting: 

  1. Have everyone paint their canvas with black acrylic paint. 
  2. Let the paint dry. 
  3. Now everyone paints the Orion constellation using the glow-in-the-dark paint. 
  4. Allow paint to dry.
Print

Safety Moment

Prior to any activity, use the BSA SAFE Checklist to ensure the safety of all those involved.

All participants in official BSA Scouting activities should become familiar with the Guide to Safe Scoutingand applicable program literature or manuals.

Be aware of state or local government regulations that supersede BSA practices, policies, and guidelines.

To assist in the safe delivery of the program you may find specific safety items that are related to requirements for the Adventure.

This Adventure requires night sky viewing, be sure to consider time changes (day light savings time) and when the time of the sun setting.

It is recommended to identify a local astronomy club, college, university, or science center to assist with scheduling and conducting a nighttime viewing event.

Before conducting a craft activity, review the Craft Tips video (2 minutes 34 seconds.)

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