The Big Dipper

The Big Dipper was used by escaping slaves to point the way northwards to freedom. The slaves traveled along the underground railway. The Big Dipper can be seen in the Northern Hemishpere and is used to locate the North Star, or Polaris.

The Big Dipper has been used by sailors and travelers, for centuries, to point the way north. It is part of the constellation known as Ursa Major, or the Big Bear. The short arm of the dipper points to the North Star. Sailors in the Southern Hemisphere use the Southern Cross to locate the North Star. This is because they cannot see the Big Dipper.

You can make your own glow in the dark poster of the Big Dipper by following these simple instructions.


Black construction paper

A glow-in-the-dark marker

Stick-on glow-in-the-dark stars (optional)


Check picture below to see what the Big Dipper looks like.

Copy the shape onto your construction paper. Mark each of the major stars
with the glowing marker, or stick a star on them.

Trace a thin line connecting each of your points.

The end product should look like the picture at the top of this page.

If you cannot get glow-in-the-dark markers, make a trail of glue between the stars, and sprinkle glitter on it, while it is still wet. Excess glitter can be brushed off after the glue dries.

To learn more about the underground railway and what it meant to the slaves, read this article.