Native Night Skies

Students will be introduced to the significance of the Night Sky in Ojibwe culture. Through the study of astronomy.

Materials Needed


Art Materials

Activity Process


Begin the lesson by reading the Ojibwe story "How Fisher Went to the Skyland". Discuss the significance that the Big Dipper plays in the night sky and how the Ojibwe people used this constellation.


Show images of constellations of the night sky and talk about the reasons these patterns in the sky are useful for people in travel, farming, etc. How does the sky inspire stories and traditions? what stories do we know about the stars and night sky?


  1. Read "How Fisher Went to the Skyland" to the class, use the lesson plan resources to ask questions and explore multiple meanings of the night sky.
  2. We used materials from the University of Minnesota's Planetarium education program. (research local planetariums in your area for regional class materials) to identify the constellations and label star patterns.
  3. We then used marshmallows and toothpicks to create a fun 3D model of the star constellations we learned about.
  4. We told stories about our chosen models, based on what we learned.
  5. Read the play "pushing up the sky" as a class.


Prepare for and present the Ojibwe derived play "Pushing up the Sky" for fellow classes.


Students were assessed on the completion of their 3D project, their participation with presentations and their active participation in the play.

Vocabulary Words


Students enjoyed making and stating the significance of naming their constellation. They were excited to perform the play for their families. Artwork *Star Gazer* by Karen Savage Blue

Grade Levels

Primary Content Area

American Indian Learner Outcomes

Content Standards


Language Arts


Social Studies