Girl Scout Programs

Girl Scout Programs

Brownies — Space Explorer | Junior Girl Scouts—SkySearch


Try It
Brownies — Space Explorer

  1. Night Sky: Go stargazing with someone who knows the planets and the stars, or have someone help you to read a star map. Try to find the North Star, the Big Dipper, the Milky Way, or other constellations. Look for planets and satellites overhead. This exercise can be accomplished within the time frame of 1-1ľ hours. A one hour charge will apply.
  2. The Moon: Why does the moon look like it changes shape? The moonlight you see is the sunís light shining on the part of the moon which is facing us. As the moon orbits the Earth, we see the moon changing its position in the sky. We also observe the hemisphere (side) which faces us go from nighttime, into full daytime, and back again into nighttime. The various shapes which the moon goes through are called its phases. This is a 15-20 minute exercise and works best with older girls who are in second and third grades.

    Junior Girl Scouts — Sky Search

    The Sky Search program constitutes a more in-depth examination of the heavens. A minimum of 1-1/2 hours of instruction are required to complete six of the following activities, which must include item number one within the list given below.

    1. Learn how to use a star map. Be able to explain to others what the size of the star symbols on the map indicate. Obtain a localized star map for the time of year that you will be conducting your observations to help you complete this badge. Many local newspapers have a star watch map, or check with your library. The StarWatch section of this website should prove useful.

    2. Learn which of the nine planets are visible to the naked eye. Try to locate at least one of these during your stargazing adventure.

    3. With the help of a star map choose six constellations. Note any distinguishing features such as size, shape, number, and brightness of the stars. Locate these star patterns in the sky, then point out these to others. Some of the constellations you choose may, in fact, be asterisms such as the Big and Little Dippers, the Pleiades (Seven Sisters) or the Great Summer Triangle. These will be accepted. Asterisms are patterns of stars which are as famous as the constellations, but are not officially recognized by the International Astronomical Union, the worldwide clearinghouse for naming astronomical objects.

    4. Discover why being able to locate the North Star is important. Help others in your troop to find the North Star. Examine the North Starís brightness, and compare it with other stars in the sky. Why is the North Star really famous? Over a period of three or four hours, note how the stars near the North Star move. Learn how to use the North Star to help you to find all four directions so you can orient yourself if you get lost.

    5. Learn the stories from two or more modern or ancient cultures, such as the Greek, Norse, American Indian, or Chinese, that were used to explain what was seen in the sky. Tell the story to your Girl Scout troop.

    6. Learn why some stars appear to be brighter than others. Find out the significance of the different colors that stars appear to have. For example, the constellation Orion, the Hunter, contains stars that are bluish, reddish, as well as white.

    7. Make a schedule of constellations which are seasonal and when they will appear. Explain why this happens.

    8. Pick one of the following:
      • Explain to your troop/group the different objects which compose our solar system. What makes the planets, sun, and moons different from each other?
      • Learn which planets, asteroids, moons, and sun constitute our solar system. Create a scale model or display of our solar system. Share it with younger girls.

    9. Learn the differences between meteors, meteorites, meteoroids, and comets. Find out when meteor showers will be visible in your area. Have a star party one evening to observe meteors. Make certain everyone in your group knows what meteors are and in which part of the sky to look for them. Have the group count how many are seen in an hour. Make sure you have arranged for an adult to be present. Dress warmly.

    10. Pick one of the following:
      • Learn how to tell time using a simple sundial.
      • Learn how to use the sun to find directions. Make sure that in using the sun to find directions, you do not look directly at the sun. Blindness could result.

    11. Pick one of the following:
      • Use a moon map to help you locate the dark seas, craters, and mountains ranges that pattern the moonís surface. Observe on nights when the moon is visible in the early evening. Try using a small telescope or binoculars to help you with your observations.
      • Discover the answers to the following questions:
        • How long does the moon take to complete a full cycle of phases?
        • What causes the phases of the moon?
        • How did the features of the moon get their names?
        • How were the craters/seas formed?
        • Who were the first two astronauts to walk on the moon?

    12. Pick one of the following:
      • Visit a Planetarium. Take part in one of its school workshops. Share what you have learned with others.
      • Talk with a person who is in an astronomy-related profession. Find out what she/he does and the education necessary to achieve this goal. Find out why she/he has chosen her/his profession.

    13. Plan an evening of astronomy activities with your troop on your next camping trip.

    14. Organize a neighborhood astronomy club or help to set up an astronomy program that can be used at your council campsites by all troops/groups. Ask a local astronomy club for their guidance. If an astronomy club already exists in your area, ask what you might do to help them with their programs.