Constellation Cup STEM Activity

STEM Activities

Fun Facts

  • There are 9,096 stars visible to the naked eye in the entire sky. The only star in our solar system is the sun.
  • When you look at a star (or any object in space) you are seeing how it looked in the past.
  • The more massive a star, the shorter its lifespan.

This STEM activity is great for your science unit. It is one of the many activities included with our Space Exploration curriculum. With paper drinking cups, patterns and a sharp tool, you can make your own constellations. It’s a great way to introduce constellations to kids!

paper cup flashlight thumbtack scissors constellation template

What You'll Need


  1. Cut out the circle template you want to use.
  2. Place the template on the bottom of the cup.
  3. Pierce the star holes using a push pin or sharp pencil.
  4. Insert the flash light inside the cup.
  5. Now turn all the lights off and make the room as dark as possible.
  6. Put the cup at least 2-3 feet away from the wall.
  7. Turn the flashlight on.

Key Concepts

  • light
  • constellations

Questions you may ask

  1. What happened when you projected the stars in bright room?
  2. Use a brighter flashlight. Do you see any difference?

Scientific Facts

Fact #1

The night sky looks slightly different each night because Earth is in a different spot in its orbit. The stars appear each night to move slightly west of where they were the night before. Your location on Earth also determines what stars and constellations you see, and how high they appear to rise in the sky.

Fact #2

When astronomers look at an object’s light spectrum, they can determine its composition based on these wavelengths. This is the most common method astronomers use to determine the composition of stars, planets, and other objects is spectroscopy.

Fact #3

A constellation is a group of stars that appears to form a pattern or picture like Orion the Great Hunter, Leo the Lion, or Taurus the Bull. Constellations are easily recognizable patterns that help people orient themselves using the night sky. There are 88 “official” constellations.