This is a good activity to introduce the different colored stars, and how hot they are, relevant to each other. It can be done with balloons, with only 5 kids standing in front helping, while the rest vote to place them…or, I’ve also done it a lot with large laminated colored stars (created from construction paper), breaking the group up into groups of 5 or so, and letting them decided in each individual group what order the stars should go. Then compare to the actual temperatures, and see which group came the closest to correct.
I’ve used this activity mostly with 6th graders…but I have also done it with a mixed-age group at camp. The concepts may be too advanced for younger than elementary, though.
- 7 balloons–1 blue, 2 white, 1 yellow, 1 orange, 2 red (the extra white & red are for white dwarf & red giant)
- Temperature cards, one for each color balloon/star– (blue-60,000F, white-36,000F, yellow-12-18,000F, orange-9,000F, red-6,000F)
What to Do:
1. Have kids blow up balloons…about half-full, don’t tie yet!
2. Have group vote on what color is the hottest…move that kid and balloon to one end (now designated the “hottest” end) Group votes on each successive color, placing balloons (w/holder) in order chosen.
3. Give “coolest” star, RED, temperature card (show group-WOW! 6000 degrees!! What’s the hottest day you ever felt? A mere 100+!) Is red balloon in right spot? If not, move…Continue giving temp cards to the next hottest, and rearrange as necessary.
4. Final order, holding cards for all to see! Add more/less air to balloons, so that the largest is also the hottest, smallest/coolest…larger stars tend to be hotter. EXCEPTIONS-red giant and white dwarf
5. What color star is our sun? (Yellow, medium-sized, medium hot) Our sun is about 10,000 degrees F!