The Stars Exercise, Nienhuis

  • Astronomy, 6-12
  • Learning about the constellations helps children have a mental map of the immense universe. We hope to help them develop a superior reverence for the universe given its origin, longevity, and magnitude. The Stars Exercise from Nienhuis offers to learn to identify and locate the constellations using a wooden royal blue glossy planisphere of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The constellations they refer to are sourced from the National Geography Atlas.


  • 1 large wooden planisphere representing the Northern and Southern hemispheres
  • 1 golden box containing yellow flags for the constellations seen from the Southern hemisphere
  • 1 white box containing white flags for the constellations seen from the Northern hemisphere
  • 2 translucent discs as control map (one for each hemisphere)
  • 1 instructional booklet
Complete set – Stars Exercise by Nienhuis

How it works

  • Nienhuis offers an interesting insight on the reasons why a celestial model cannot be represented with exactitude. Some of the reasons are due to the fact that we are working on a planisphere, therefore there can be distortion, or also due to the location from where one is observing the sky.
  • With this is mind, we can invite children to take a look at the constellations board along with a globe. We can explain how, depending on our location on Earth, we see different constellations.
White box (southern hemisphere) Golden box (northern hemisphere)
  • Children will learn the Latin names (The Fish) of the constellations using the discs and the flags. In addition, they will learn the English names (Pisces) of the constellations printed on the verso of the flags.
  • Based on your location, you can use the yellow flags for the southern hemisphere, or the white flags for the northern hemisphere. Once the children feel comfortable with one hemisphere, they can learn about the second hemisphere.
Southern Hemisphere/Northern Hemisphere
  • Children can work independently with the board by pinning the flags using the discs. The discs will also serve as control for errors. Children can further their knowledge by researching major stars represented by a larger dot (Aldebaran, Beltegeuse, Arcturus, Rigel, Polaris…). They can pin all the zodiacal constellations, or recreate constellations in a crafty manner. The instructional booklet also suggests to use the discs to trace an hemisphere and draw all the constellations on a separate support (construction paper).
  • There are 88 constellations represented, but you will find a total of 95 flags. That is because some constellations can be seen from both hemispheres. These flags contain the symbol of a star half shaded, which indicates this occurrence.
The discs can be used to study

In conclusion, we have a positive experience with The Stars Exercise. The children are huge space explorers and sky observers. This material is a beautiful addition to our cosmic education shelf.

Translucent discs – Control for errors

Please enjoy more pictures below!

Celestial planispheres
Boxes matching each
Multilingual Instructional booklet

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