Lunar and Planetary Institute


"Drawing Conclusions" about the Milky Way


Children illustrate the Native American story of how coyote made the Milky Way as well as the science story of how the Milky Way was formed.

The Activity

Ancient Greeks believed the band of light they observed in the sky was a stream of milk — this band became our Milky Way. Our word “galaxy” comes from the Greek word “galaktos” — which means “milk.” Ask the children to think about the story they just heard.

  • What happened in the story?
  • What does it explain about things we may see in our night sky?

Invite the children to illustrate the story of how the Milky Way came to be — or one aspect of the story.

Have older children work individually or in groups to illustrate the science story.

Invite the children to create and illustrate their "own" story of how the Milky Way formed.

Expand the types of materials available to include paint, tissue paper, glue, scissors, etc., so the children can make mosaics, mobiles, or sculptures to illustrate the stories.

More Activities

Last updated
January 9, 2007


Ages 5 and up

How Long?
30 minutes or longer

What's Needed?

Crayons, colored pencils, or markers
• Paper or poster board

Connections to the National Science Standard(s)

Standards A&E (grades K–4 and 5–8): Communicate a scientific explanation, through illustration, of how galaxies were formed.