Galaxies Galore,
Games and More
Teacher Page: Grab Bag


Images-Web Sites
Other Resources-Literature
Other Resources-Slides
Other Resources--Addresses
Activities and Charts

Images Used in this Lesson:

Customize your lesson! Below you will find the images and icons used in the lesson to create your own interactive lessons and overhead transparencies.

Title graphic- "Galaxies Galore, Games & More" title.gif
"Galaxy Guy" graphic gguy.gif
"Galaxies are made of billions of stars" billions.gif
M100 - individual image m100pic.gif
"Build Our Milky Way" button buildon.gif
"Galaxies Galore" button galaxieson.gif
"Galaxy Games" button ggameson.gif
Title graphic- "Build Our Milky Way" title.gif
"Back" button back.gif
"Gallery" button gallery.gif
"Galaxy Guy Help" graphic help_guy.gif
"Next" button next.gif
"Gossip" button gossip.gif
"Home" button home.gif
Screenshot- Galaxy Gallery for "Build Our Milky Way" build_gallery.jpg
"Done" button DONE_ON.gif
Andromeda Galaxy "on edge"- individual image andromedaedge.jpg
Milky Way Galaxy- individual image milkyg.gif
NGC 5427- individual image ngc5427.jpg
Screenshot- Galaxy Gossip for "Build Our Milky Way" build_gossip.jpg
Screenshot- Galaxy Help for "Build Our Milky Way" build_help.jpg
Title graphic- "Galaxies Galore" title.gif
"Galaxy Guy" graphic help_guy.gif
"Galaxy Guy" looking right index_06_02.gif
Spiral galaxy button spiralon.gif
Elliptical galaxy button ellipticalon.gif
Irregular galaxy button irron.gif
"Galaxy Guy" looking left index_05_09.gif
"Spiral Shapes" spiraltitle.gif
"Elliptical Silde" ellipticaltitle.gif
"Imagine Irregular" irrtitle.gif
Title graphic- "Spiral Shapes" spiral_title.gif
Screenshot- Galaxy Gallery for "Spiral Shapes" spiral_gallery.jpg
M100 Galaxy- individual image M100Color.jpg
Whirlpool Galaxy- individual image WHIRLPOOL.jpg
NGC 1433- individual image ngc1433Bar.jpg
M65 - individual image m65.jpg
Sombrero Galaxy- individual image sombrero.jpg
Screenshot- Galaxy Gossip for "Spiral Shapes" spiral_gossip.gif
M74- individual image m74.gif
NGC 891- individual image ngc891.jpg
Screenshot- Galaxy Help for "Spiral Shapes" spiral_help.jpg
Title graphic- "Elliptical Slide" title.gif
Screenshot- Galaxy Gallery for "Elliptical Slide" elliptical_gallery.jpg
NGC 3377- individual image NGC3377.jpg
Elliptical and spiral galaxies together- individual image ellipticalwithspiral.jpg
M49- individual image m49.gif
M87- individual image m87.gif
M32- individual image m32.gif
Screenshot- Galaxy Gossip for "Elliptical Slide" elliptical_gossip.gif
Screenshot- Galaxy Help for "Elliptical Slide" elliptical_help.jpg
Title graphic- "Imagine Irregulars" title.gif
Screenshot- Galaxy Gallery for "Imagine Irregulars" irregular_gallery.jpg
UGC 2942- individual image ugc2942.gif
NGC 6822- individual image ngc6822.jpg
Cartwheel Galaxy- individual image cartwheel.jpg
NGC 450- individual image ngc450.gif
Screenshot- Galaxy Gossip for "Imagine Irregulars" irregular_gossip.jpg
Press Release Image A.jpg
Screenshot- Galaxy Help for "Imagine Irregulars" irregular_help.jpg
Title graphic- "Galaxy Games" title.gif
Logo Graphic- "Galaxy Concentration" concentration_ON.gif
Logo Graphic- "Galaxy Trading Cards" trading_ON.gif
Logo Graphic- "Galaxy Hunt" hunt_ON.gif
"Galaxy Concentration" concentration_word.gif
"Galaxy Trading Cards" trading_words.gif
"Galaxy Hunt" hunt_words.gif
Title graphic- "Galaxy Concentration" title.gif
Screenshot- Galaxy Help for "Galaxy Concentration" help.gif
Title graphic- "Galaxy Trading Cards" title.gif
Screenshot- Galaxy Help for "Galaxy Trading Cards" help.gif
Title graphic- "Galaxy Hunt" title.gif
Screenshot- Galaxy Gallery for "Galaxy Hunt" hunt_gallery.jpg
Hubble Deep Field- individual image HDFcomposite.jpg
Edwin Hubble with Mount Palomar Telescope edwinhubble.gif
Launch of Space Shuttle carrying HST into space HST_deployment.gif
HST and the Space Shuttle hstlarge.jpg
Screenshot- Galaxy Gossip for "Galaxy Hunt" hunt_gossip.jpg
Antennae Galaxies- ground-based image 9734a2.jpg
Antennae Galaxies- HST image 9734a1.jpg
Screenshot- Galaxy Help for "Galaxy Hunt" hunt_help.jpg


Galaxy-related Web sites: Student Resources:

Hubble Deep Field Academy-Four activities for older children related to galaxies.

  • Stellar Statistician: uses the Hubble Deep Field Image in an exercise to teach about sampling.
  • Cosmic Classifiers: a very visually appealing activity with more complicated galaxy identification involving color, size, and shape.
  • Universal Graduate: a review quiz on concepts presented in the lessons above.

StarChild-A learning center for Young Astronomers


The Milky Way

Cosmic Couples Matching Game

Hubble Space Telescope

Astro Fun Zone


Hubble Telescope Related Information on Galaxies: Teacher Resources:

Findings From Hubble Deep Field: Home In on Distant Galaxies

The Hubble Deep Field


Introduction to Galaxies

Galaxy Formation

Galaxy Shapes

Nearby Galaxies & Distant Galaxies Images

Hubble Reveals Stellar Fireworks Accompanying
Galaxy Collisions- Images

Faint Irregular Galaxies


Other Web Sites Related to Galaxies:

Messier Objects- Galaxies

The Universe-Galaxies

Cataloging Galaxies:




M31 Movie-

How Did Galaxies Form

The Galaxies



Other Web Sites of Interest to Teachers:


NASA Home Page

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory- Learning Link

Public Access to NASA's Planetary Data

Astronomy Society of the Pacific

The Planetary Society


Literature on Galaxies:


Simon, Seymour. Galaxies. William Morrow & Company, 1988.

Barnham, Robert, A. Dyer, R. Garfinkle, M. George, J. Kanipe and D. Levy. The Nature Company Guides-Advanced Sky Watching. Nature Company and Time Life Books, 1997.

Levy, David. The Nature Company Guides-Sky Watching. The Nature Company & Time Life Books, 1998.

Chaisson, Eric and S. McMillan. Astronomy Today. Prentice Hall, 1998.

Sipiera, Paul. Galaxies. Children's Press, 1997.

Estalella, Robert and M. Feergon. Galaxies. Barron's Educational Series, 1994.

Weisbacher, Anne. Galaxies. Abdo and Daughters, 1997.

Combes, Francoise. Galaxies and Cosmology. Springer Verlag, 1995.

Eicher, David and R. Bunge. Galaxies and the Universe. Kalmbach Publishing Company, 1992.

Elmegreen, Debra. Galaxies and Galactic Structures. Prentice Hall, 1997.

Hippelein, Hans, K. Meisenheimer and H. Foser, editors. Galaxies in the Young Universe. Springer Verlag, 1995.

Sandage, Allan. Hubble Atlas of Galaxies. Carnegie Institute of Washington, 1984.

Wray, James. The Color Atlas of Galaxies. Cambridge University Press, 1988.


Teaching Books Containing Lesson Plans

Astro Adventures, Pacific Science Center Explore More Store, Seattle, WA.

Astronomy Adventures, National Wildlife Federation, Washington, DC.

Universe at Your Fingertips, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, San Francisco, CA.

Universe in the Classroom, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, San Francisco, CA.


Fiction and Nonfiction for Children

Rosen, Sidney. Which Way to the Milky Way. Lerner Publishing, 1992. ISBN 0876147090.

Collins, Beverly and Bruce Degen. The Magic School Bus, Lost in the Solar System. Scholastic, 1990. ISBN 0590414291.

Simon, Seymour. The Universe. William Morrow and Company, 1998. ISBN 0688153011.

Hello Out There! A Sticker Book about the Solar System (Magic School Bus Series), Scholastic, 1995. ISBN 0590881299.

Phillips, David. Space Age Mazes. Dover Publishing, 1989. ISBN 0486256596.

McPhail, David. Tinker and Tom and the Star Baby. Little, Brown and Company, 1998. ISBN 0316563498.

Pinkwater, Daniel. Fat Men From Space. Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1980. ISBN 0440445426.

Walker, Jane and I. Thompson. The Solar System. Mill Brook Press, 1995. ISBN 1562948997.

Simon, Seymour. Solar System. William Morrow and Company, 1992. ISBN 0688099920.

Levy, David. Stars and Planets. Weldon-Owen, Time Life, 1996. ISBN 0809492466.

Hirst, Robin and S. Hirst. My Place in Space. Demco Media, 1992. ISBN 0606027742.

Ford, Harry. The Young Astronomer. D.K. Publishing, Inc. 1998. ISBN 0789420619.

Berger, Melvin and G. Berger. Where Are the Stars During the Day-A Book about Stars. Hambleton-Hill Publishing, 1993. ISBN 0824986075.

Scott, Elaine. Adventure in Space: The Flight to Fix the Hubble. Disney Press., 1998. ISBN 0786810394.

Silver, Donald. One Small Square-The Night Sky. McGraw-Hill, 1998. ISBN 0070580456.

Moore, Patrick. The Starry Sky. Copper Beech Books, 1995. ISBN 156294181X.

Stott, Carole and C. Twist. Space Facts (Pockets). D.K. Publishing, 1995. ISBN 1564588920.

Magazine for Children

"Odyssey," Cobblestone Publishing, Peterborough, NH

Magazine Articles for Adults

"Sky and Telescope Magazine"

April 1998- Ghost Galaxies
March 1998- Galaxies in Collision
January 1997- Galaxy Clusters
May 1996- Hubble Space Telescope Spies Galaxies Near the Edge of the Universe
July 1990- Are Spiral Galaxies Heavy Smokers?



Astronomical Society of the Pacific, San Francisco, CA

Finley-Holiday Film Corp., Whitter, CA

NASA Core, Oberlin, OH
216-774-1051 (ext. 293/294)

Newel Colour Lab, Los Angeles, CA

Space Images



Bill Nye, the Science Guy-Outer Space: Way Out There
Item 100322, Disney


Audio Tapes, Publications, Teacher Guides/Activities

NASA Ames Research Center
Mail Stop 253-2
Moffett Field, CA 94035

NASA Dryden Flight Research Center
NASA Teacher Resource Center
Public Affairs Office, [Tr1. 42]
Edwards AFB, CA 93523

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Teacher Resource Laboratory
Mail Code 130.3
Greenbelt, Maryland 20771

Wallops Flight Facility
Education Complex- Visitor Center
Teacher Resource Center, Bldg J-17
Wallops Island, VA 23337
804-824-2297 /2298

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
JPL Educational Outreach, CS-530
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109

NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center
Educator's Resources Laboratory
Mail Code ERC
Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899

NASA Johnson Space Center
Teacher Resource Center
Mail COde AP-2-TRC
2101 NASA Road 1
Houston, TX 77058

NASA Teacher Resource Center for LaRC
Virginia Air and Space Center
600 Settler's Landing Road
Hampton, VA 23669
804-727-0900, ext. 757

NASA Lewis Research Center
Teacher's Resource Center, Mail Stop 8-1
21000 Brookpark Road
Cleveland, OH 44135

NASA Stennis Space Center
Teacher Resource Center
Building 1200
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529

U.S. Space and Rocket Center
15181 Route 58 South
Oberlin, OH 44074
216-774-1051, ext. 293


Extended Activities

Introduction to Galaxies

Use an assortment of different sized boxes to help explain the universe to students. Start with the smallest box or a rubber ball replica of the Earth. Put the Earth in a larger box explaining that the Earth is part of the solar system. Place the solar system box in a larger box representing our Milky Way galaxy. Explain that our Milky Way galaxy is just one of many galaxies. Use many boxes of different sizes to represent different galaxies. Put all the galaxy boxes into the largest box representing the universe.

Galaxy Activities

Spinning Spiral Galaxies

  1. Using a ragmop, roll the handle back and forth using the palms of your hands. Mopstrings will swirl like the spiral arms of the galaxy.
  2. Put a large number of paper "holes" from a hole puncher into a glass of water. Create a spiral galaxy by stirring.
  3. Give a set of dominoes to small groups of students. Ask them to construct their own spiral galaxy.
  4. Blow up and cut out spiral arms.

Stretch large cotton balls (two per galaxy). Glue cotton to the center of the top AND the bottom of spiral arms. The cotton represents the bulge of a spiral galaxy.


Squish Elliptical Galaxies

Use a "Nerf" football to create elliptical galaxies. Squeeze the ends of the ball toward the center to create each of the galaxies from E0 to E7. You can also rotate the "Nerf" football at various angles to represent a galaxy from different angles. This variety of views is another reason galaxies look different from Earth.


Create Colliding Galaxies

Give two magnetic marbles to a pair of students. Instruct them to stand at opposite ends of a table. Have each student is to roll his/her marble toward the center and trying to hit the partner's marble.

The results will be similar to what actually happens to galaxies in the universe:

  • Marbles will totally miss each other
  • Marbles will collide and move away from each other
  • Marbles will meet, connect and spin


Charts to Help Establish Size

Scale Model of Solar System and Beyond
Planet or Sun Diameter Model Scale Object Distance Scale
  Miles Inches   Miles Feet
Sun 863,000 33.4 Beach Ball   3
Mercury 2,524 0.12 Pin Head 35,900,000 120
Venus 7,474 0.29 Pea 67,100,000 224
Earth 7,909 0.31 Pea 92,800,000 309
Mars 4,212 0.16 Pin Head 141,300,000 471
Asteroids are too small to be shown on this scale.
Jupiter 88,534 3.43 Grapefruit 482,600,000 1610 (1/4 mile)
Saturn 74,400 2.88 Orange 885,000,000 2950 (1/2 mile)
Uranus 31,496 1.22 Ping Pong Ball 1,780,000,000 5933 (1.12 miles)
Neptune 30,132 1.17 Ping Pong Ball 2,788,000,000 9283 (1.75 miles)
Pluto 1,860 0.07 Pin Tip 3,658,000,000 12,193 (2.30 miles)
Comets or Oort Cloud are too small to be shown on this scale.
Nearest Star: Alpha Centauri (3 star system. 2 of the stars are the same size as the sun) 863,000 33.4 3 Beach Balls

Distance- 27,000,000,000,000 miles

Scale distance- 90,000,000 (about 1/3 of the way to the moon)

Nearest Spiral Galaxy: Andromeda (hundreds of billions of stars) 6,100,000,000,000,000,000    

Distance- 12,400,000,000,000,000,000

Scale distance-41,000,000,000,000 ( About 10,000 times the width of our solar system)


Planet, Sun, and Galaxy Volume
Plant/Sun/Galaxy Volume Compared to Jupiter (using 2-liter soda bottle as volume of Jupiter)
Mercury a very small drop (.38 ml)
Venus 5.15 ml
Earth 6.29 ml
Mars one drop (.69 ml)
Jupiter referent
Saturn 599 ml
Uranus 91.6 ml
Neptune 108.5 ml
Pluto a dash (.02 ml)
Sun 100 2-liter soda bottles
Milky Way Galaxy 100 billion times the Sun's 100 2-liter soda bottles, or 100 trillion 2-liter soda bottles


How Many Earths Would it Take?
Planet Number of Earths to Make the Diameter
Mercury 3/10 of one Earth
Venus 9/10 of one Earth
Earth referent
Mars 1/2 of one Earth
Jupiter 11 Earths
Saturn 9 Earths
Uranus 4 Earths
Neptune 4 Earths
Pluto 2/10 of one Earth
Sun 108 Earths
Our Solar System 500,000 Earths
Milky Way Galaxy 80,000,000,000,000 Earths


Length of Time for Light from the Sun to Reach the Planets, Alpha Centauri, and Andromeda
Planet, Star, Galaxy Time
Mercury 3 minutes 14 seconds
Venus 6 minutes 1 second
Earth 8 minutes 20 seconds
Mars 12 minutes 41 seconds
Jupiter 43 minutes 20 seconds
Saturn 79 minutes 35 seconds or 1 hour 19 minutes 35 seconds
Uranus 160 minutes 2 seconds or 2 hours 40 minutes 2 seconds
Neptune 250 minutes 48 seconds or 4 hours 10 minutes 48 seconds
Pluto 328 minutes 30 seconds or 5 hours 28 minutes 30 seconds
Alpha Centauri (star) 4.3 years
Andromeda (galaxy) 2 million years


Ways to Use the Trading Cards


Meter Milky Way

Once students have worked with the scale model activities they should have a better understanding of the vast distances involved and the tremendous variation in size found in celestial objects. Here is another activity that can be used to demonstrate the vastness of space. Pacing off these distances will become an immediate challenge. Begin with the school playground and a meter stick. Remember 1000 kilometers = 0.6 mile.

Meter Milky Way
Object Scale Distance
The Magellanic Clouds 1.6 meters
Andromeda Galaxy 20 meters
Magellanic Galaxy NGC 2366 100 meters
M100 510 meters
Barred Spiral NGC 1365 600 meters
Antennae Galaxies 630 meters
Cartwheel Galaxy 5,000 meters
Hubble Deep Field 120,000 meters


Galaxy Visors

Your students can make a visor that is fun to wear. You will need 5 blue strips and 1 black strip of construction paper that are 1 inch by 18 inches. The visor is made as follows: put all the blue strips together and staple them. Let one of the blue strips go. Holding the other strips together, cut 2 inches off. Let one more strip go. As you are holding the remaining strips, cut another 2 inches off. Drop one more strip and cut 2 inches. There should be one strip left. Cut 2 inches off this last strip. Gather the ends together and staple them. Add the black strip to one side and staple. Measure the black strip to fit the child's head and staple to the other side. You should now have a visor. The last step is to add the pictures of the galaxies found at the URLs below. The pictures may be colored or added as they download. Place them on the outside so that someone looking at the visor will see the galaxies.



More Sand, More Stars?

Count grains of sand (any sand will do). Put a level 1/8 teaspoon of sand on each desk and have students count the grains. Add that amount to obtain a total number of grains for the class. Determine the total number of teaspoons represented by the class. Try to estimate how many grains of sand are in a cubic inch, a cubic foot, and a cubic mile. Then take a guess at how many grains of sand are on all the beaches of the planet Earth. Tell the students that there are more stars in the universe than all the grains of sand by a factor of two more zeros. Hint: See how many teaspoons are required to fill a cubic inch container. You can make a container out of paper (see the diagram).


Galaxy Shoe Boxes

Paint a shoebox black inside and out. Cut a slit at one end of the lid that is 3 1/2 inches wide. Make sure that you cut it close to one end of the top. You are going to slide pieces of tag board into it, and you will want to block the light from entering the box. On the opposite side from the slit, cut an eye hole in the center of the end. On the other end cut a rectangle that will be slightly smaller than 3 X 3 inches. You will need strips of tag board cut 3 1/2 inches by 6 inches. In a 3 X 3 inch area at one end of the tag board, poke pin holes to represent the major stars in the constellations described below. These constellations have a galaxy nearby. Write the names of the galaxies and constellations at the top opposite the punched out patterns. Below is a list of galaxies and where they can be found by location within or by a constellation. See any chart of constellations for the position of the major stars.


Name Constellation Notes
Northern Hemisphere
M31-NGC 224 Andromeda Great Spiral
M32-NGC 221 Andromeda Elliptical Companion of M31
M81-NGC 205 Andromeda Elliptical Companion of M31
M65-NGC 3623 Leo  
M66 Leo  
NGC 2903 Leo Barred Spiral
M81-NGC 3031 Big Dipper  
M82-NGC 3034 Big Dipper Edge-on Dust Galaxy
NGC 3377 Member of Leo Spur Elliptical Galaxy
NGC 3379 Member of Leo Spur Elliptical Galaxy
NGC 4038 & NGC 4039 Corvus Colliding Galaxies
NGC 5253 Centaurus Irregular Galaxy
NGC 7217 Pegasus Spiral Galaxy
Southern Hemisphere
LMC Doradus Large Magellanic Cloud
SMC Tucana Small Magellanic Cloud
M83-NGC 5236 Hydra Barred Spiral
M104-NGC 4594 Virgo Sombrero Galaxy