Native American Storytelling Seeks to Explain the Heavens

Background Information

The universe contains billions of galaxies, each of which contains billions of varieties of stars. Because the view of the night sky varies when viewed at different latitudes, star gazers in different parts of the world will not see the same constellations at the same time. Cultural differences also relate to what an individual interprets in a constellation and the history behind its explanation.

Like people everywhere in the world, Native Americans have a rich pool of mythology and legends that were told to explain natural phenomena. Even though the most common Native American myths explain how the earth was formed, others explain the sun, moon, constellations, animals, seasons, and weather.

Within this learning center, students will view the constellations within the night sky (in a star lab or individually in the night skies) using a star finder, undertaking scientific inquiry to learn about the formations of the constellations. They will review some of these myths (Greek and Native American) that explain the various constellations.