Students can build their own comet models by using a wide range of craft materials.


[00:00:00]Music: Theme

[00:00:06]We're going to learn about how to make a comet model from various craft items,

[00:00:13]an activity you could do in the classroom or an afterschool or at home on your own or even as part of a science camp.

[00:00:22]You're going to need something to hold your comet with. I suggest some sort of stick.

[00:00:27]Now for the nucleus, you need something that will simulate a dirty, misshapen snowball.

[00:00:33]I'm going to use a stryofoam ball you can stick your stick into.

[00:00:40]As the comet nucleus is streaming through space, it is sublimating.

[00:00:45]It has some gas jets coming off in all different directions so to make our jets and our nucleus,

[00:00:51]I have some cotton balls, some fuzzy balls, even some packing material.

[00:00:57]So I'm going to dab each one of these in a little bit of glue and stick it onto my nucleus.

[00:01:05]And then the gas jets, you could make those out of a number of different things.

[00:01:09]I'm going to use some yarn.

[00:01:11]Remember this comet is outgassing in all different directions.

[00:01:17]Those gas jets are actually forming the coma of the comet, kind of a cloud.

[00:01:22]To represent that, I'm going to use some of this good stuff

[00:01:28]and then I'm going to put bubble wrap on because I like bubble wrap, secure that on my stick.

[00:01:38]We've got the nucleus, we've got the coma but the most noticeable thing is the tail.

[00:01:43]The tail that you can see with your unaided eye is the debris tail.

[00:01:48]But there's another tail, the ion tail and that ion tail forms on the opposite side of the comet from wherever the sun is.

[00:01:56]A lot of times an ion tail will appear blue so I'm going to use this blue chenille stick.

[00:02:03]There we go. So that is my model of a comet.

[00:02:08]Now yours, of course, will look different.

[00:02:11]If you have time, you can have your students make more elaborate models of a comet.

[00:02:16]Then you can assess their knowledge of the comet parts by having them describe what they've used to represent those parts.


[00:02:29]NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
View all Videos