Star Stories

Star Stories 

Muin & the 7 Bird Hunters 

The star stories activities were inspired by the Mi’kmaw story of Muin and The Seven Bird Hunters as well as the traditions of many cultures who have used the stars to guide their way. Muin and the Seven Bird Hunters  explains the cycle of the seasons as observed by the Mi’kmaw people related to the movement of the stars.

Muin aqq L’uiknek Ntuksuinu’k from First Nation Help Desk on Vimeo.

What math do you notice related to this star story?

Find more information on Muin & the 7 Bird Hunters here

What other star stories do you know? Talk about star stories with your grandparents or another Elder in your community.

Follow the Drinking Gourd 

The American folksong Follow the Drinking Gourd was used by an Underground Railroad operative to encode escape instructions. The directions helped people fleeing slavery by directing their way to freedom.

Listen to the song, Follow the Drinking Gourd, listen closely to the lyrics to begin to understand the meaning of this star story.

How does this star story relate to math?

To learn the meaning of all of the lyrics click here.

Activity 1) Build a Constellation using Pipe Cleaners

Follow the instructions for the “Pipe Cleaner Activity” on the google drive below to learn about the orientation of constellations.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1L3jwC_gM8IFCjK7B-85yXGdWI9J-D854/view?usp=sharing

Follow the instructions in the pdf document and then think about the following questions;

  • How does moving your body around the model change the view?
  • How is you moving like the movement we see in the sky?

Activity 2) How High up is Space?

Follow the instructions for the “How High up is Space?” activity on the google drive below to help picture the size of the Earth’s atmosphere and understand where space starts.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/19VRQ-m4HZEhFHAVBXlDtObJtdmT0mMef/view?usp=sharing

Follow the instructions in the pdf document and then think about the following questions;

  • What would happen if we used a different scale factor for Mt. Everest?
  • Find a rock (or other object) in your backyard and use that as the scale factor instead.

Activity 3) Skyview app

Download the “Skyview” app to locate Ursa Minor Outside!

Step 1) Use the drawing of the constellation to locate individual stars

Step 2) Record the magnitudes of the stars you can see. The magnitude of the stars in the number that is on the drawing.

  • Which is the faintest? (has the most positive magnitude)
  • Remain outside, in the dark, away from bright lights and repeat the observation
  • Notice the lights that are around you (from the house, street lights, etc.), comment on the sky conditions, your own eyesight and experience
  • Think about what impacts our view of the stars (light, pollution, etc.)

Materials:

  • Pipecleaners
  • Playdough
  • Cardstock
  • Graph paper
  • iPad or iPhone for the Skyview App

Nova Scotia Curriculum Connections 

Below are some adaptations for younger children:

Grade Primary 

Mathematics: 

Social Studies: Have students watch the Youtube link to Muin & and the 7 Bird Hunters and Listen to the Follow the Drinking Gourd Song. Outcome: Students will investigate how local people, including Acadians, African Nova Scotians, Gaels, Mi’kmaq including Treaty Education, and various cultural groups, have varied traditions, rituals, and celebrations. 

Grade One 

Social Studies: Have students watch the Youtube link to Muin & and the 7 Bird Hunters and Listen to the Follow the Drinking Gourd Song. Outcome: Students will investigate the diversity of cultural groups. 

Grade Three 

Mathematics: Measurement (M): Students will use measurement in activity 1 when measuring the pipe cleaner length.

M03 Students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of measuring length (cm, m) by; selecting and justifying referents for the units centimetre or metre (cm, m), modelling and describing the relationship between the units centimetre or metre (cm, m), estimating length using referents, measuring and recording length, width, and height. 

Social Studies: Have students watch the Youtube link to Muin & and the 7 Bird Hunters and Listen to the Follow the Drinking Gourd Song. Outcome: Students will investigate various groups including Acadians, African Nova Scotians, Gaels, and Mi’kmaq through their expression of culture. 

Grade Four 

Mathematics: Number (N) Students will be working with decimals in activity 2 when estimating. 

N09 Students will be expected to describe and represent decimals (tenths and hundredths) concretely, pictorially, and symbolically

Resources 

https://spacemath.gsfc.nasa.gov/stars/10Page67.pdf

http://www.followthedrinkinggourd.org/What_The_Lyrics_Mean.htm

https://www.astrosociety.org/edu/activities/I11_How_High_Space.pdf

https://www.astrosociety.org/edu/publications/tnl/44/lightpoll4.html#4

 

With support from: