Bring the wonder of outer space into your home with this fun swirling galaxy activity that shows kids how spiral galaxies get their shape.
I have always been fascinated by outer space. I love stargazing on a clear night, getting up in the wee hours to get a glimpse of meteor showers, and visiting the local observatory to see through their powerful telescope. These are things I have enjoyed since I was young. Now, I drag my own kids out to try and foster a love and appreciation of the vastness of space in them, as well.
One of my favorite websites to visit and browse is the NASA image gallery. This is a searchable database of official NASA photographs of everything from NASA spacecraft to deep space images from the Hubble Telescope. I gravitate toward the images of far away galaxies. This is one of my favorites.
This is an image taken by the Hubble Telescope of distant, interacting galaxies called Arp 273. These spiral galaxies are so close together that the gravitational pull of the smaller galaxy, UGC 1813, has distorted the shape of the larger one, UGC 1810, so that it looks like a sort of rose.
Swirling Galaxy Science Project
To recreate the spinning of these spiral galaxies, grab a few simple supplies: colored paper, a hole punch, a quart jar filled about 2/3 with water, and a wooden spoon.
Punch 20-25 holes in various colors of paper. The resulting paper circles are your stars, planets, and space dust. Then, drop your celestial bodies into the water.[video: swirling galaxy activity]
Carefully, stir the water and the paper circles in a swirling motion with the handle of the wooden spoon. Try to not push the paper under the water. You want the your space objects to float. When the paper starts swirling, stop stirring and quickly remove the spoon. Now, be amazed by your own swirling, spiral galaxy!
You should see some expansion of the paper circles as they move away from the center point. Keep trying this until you see a spiral form.
Spiral Galaxy Explained
Hands on Solar System Unit
- The Sun
- The Moon & Astronauts
- Inner Planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars)
- Outer Planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune)
- Pluto, Asteroid Belt, Comets, and Stars
FREE Solar System Worksheets
- Solar System Worksheets (Kindergarten, 1st-6th grade)
- Solar System Pack (Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten, 1st & 2nd grade)
- Astronaut Coloring Pages (Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten)
- Solar System Coloring Pages (Preschool Kindergarten, 1st-6th grade)
- Constellations Mini Book (Preschool Kindergarten, 1st-6th grade)
- Planets Mini Book (Preschool Kindergarten, 1st-6th grade)
- Moon Phases Mini Book (Preschool Kindergarten, 1st-6th grade)
Science for Kids
Looking for lots more fun, science experiments for kids? You’ve GOT to try some of these outrageously fun science experiments for kids! We have so many fun, creative and easy science experiments for elementary age children:
- 100 Amazing Food science experiments for kids – arranged by type of science
- Colorful Capillary action science experiment (also known as walking water)
- Amaze kids with these 12 Hands on Science experiments with batteries
- 24 Epic Solar system science projects to try this week
- Fun Water balloon science experiment that explores density
- Water Displacement Candy Science Experiment
- 50 Fun Preschool science experiments the whole family will want to try
- Simple Galaxy science project
- Easy and Fun Dancing Raisins Experiment
- Learn about weather as you find how to make a weather vane
- Eye opening Eye science experiments
- Easy-to- make Air pressure science project
- Amazing POP rocks science experiment is one of our all-time favorite science experiments we like to do during the summer are
- Stunning Chromatography Flowers are so pretty you’ll forget it was as science project!
- How to Make a Lava Lamp – super easy and SO cool!
- 30 Simple machines science projects kids will want to try
- Easy, fascinating, and colorful project answering Why do Leaves Change Color Experiment
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- 19 Edible science experiments – which delicious project will you try first?
- HUGE Free Solar System Unit (coloring pages, hands on science projects, worksheets, and more!)
- Pipe Cleaner Constellation Activity (As seen on Good Housekeeping!)
- Teach kids about conductivity with this fun squishy circuits projects
- Amazing, Heat Sensitive, Color Changing Slime
- Life Cycles for Kids (from penguin to sunflower and spider to turkey we have LOTS of life cycles to explore and learn about)
- EASY, Colorful Oil and Water Science Experiment
- Kids will be amazed as you change colors of white flowers with this Dying Flowers Science Experiment
- This super cool Lego Zipline is fun and simple to make
- Human Body Project
- Check out this super cool look INSIDE a Volcano Project
- Exploding Watermelon – science experiment that explores potential and kinetic energy with a big WOW moment!
- Memorable Life Size Skeletal system science project – includes free printable template
- Find LOTS more Easy Science Experiments for kids of all ages!