Project Review: Designing the Zodiac

1st Grade Artists in Anacortes, WA learn about constellations.

The Project: In the project ‘Designing the Zodiac’, student artists are introduced to constellations and their stories from Greek, Native American, and Inca cultures; they compare how these cultures interpreted the same groups of stars in the sky and learn about how they incorporated the changing sky into their mythology.

They then brainstorm their own, original, constellations, create an origin myth, redraw their brainstorms into a thought out composition of the night sky, and finish using liquid watercolor and oil pastels.


Mrs. D’Amelio teaches first grade in Anacortes Washington. She and her class love a good project! “Let’s have fun learning and creating together” is their class motto.
Our school has an art specialist paid for by donor funds. This year each class meets with the art teacher 4 times, so art mostly takes place in the classroom. I integrate art into content and provide daily opportunites for students to create using classrooms supplies.
My class completed the “Designing the Zodiac” project. The students loved learning about constellations, coming up with their origin story and using watercolors and oil pastels. The videos taught so much! The kids went from no knowledge of constellations to talking about contellations and origin stories with their peers and adults. I had worried they would not be able to transfer their constellation onto the watercolor paper but the video instructions were easy to follow and all of the first graders were successful. Being encouraged to be creative and use the watercolors how ever they thought best was awesome! All kids were proud of their finished product.

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