Lunar and Planetary Institute

Activities about Galaxies and the Universe

How Fast do Galaxies Move?
This interactive laboratory combines real data with the Virtual Spectroscope and introduces students to the concepts of spectra and galactic motion in the expanding Universe.

Group the Galaxies
Students are introduced to the information on the Galaxy Trading Cards by creating categories based on recognized patterns. The process skills used in this activity are sorting and categorizing.

Find the Right Circle
Students study the Galaxy Trading Cards and other materials to observe and record the properties of galaxies. Students use a Venn diagram to compare galaxies’ properties. The process skills used in this activity are comparing and contrasting, and categorizing and listing.

The Incredible Two-Inch Universe
Explore size and scale in the universe in just four steps. This activity booklet takes you through the vast distances of the cosmos, from the realm of the Earth to the realm of the galaxies.

Hubble Space Telescope Deep Field lesson package
Students will simulate the process astronomers went through to count, classify and identify objects in the Hubble Deep Field image, as well as estimate their distances from Earth. Geared for middle school students.

Galactic Inquiry
In this inquiry activity, students view NASA images of galaxies and develop a galaxy classification scheme.  Students then compare and contrast their classification scheme with that developed by Edwin Hubble. 

Cosmic Questions Educators' Guide
This 74 page booklet contains 8 activities for understanding key astronomical concepts. While all activities relate to the galaxies and the Universe, those that are most appropriate for this standard are
"What are Your Ideas About the Universe? Cosmic Survey" and " Modeling the Universe." These activities lay the foundation for thinking about the size and scale of the Universe.