Cook Up a Comet

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In this activity (on page 5 of PDF), learners use dry ice and household materials to make scientifically accurate models of comets. Learners will investigate the ingredients in comets and how comets could have contributed to water ice on the Moon that the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) Mission launched in 2009 is designed to detect. This activity can be used as a demonstration or groups of learners can make their own comets. Adult supervision is recommended. The PDF contains step-by-step instructions, photos, presentation tips, extensions and links to background information.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Measuring cup
  • Large spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • 4 black garbage bags
  • Newspapers
  • Work gloves (gardening gloves with nubs or heavy leather work gloves)
  • Protective goggles
  • Hammer
  • Heat lamp (optional)
  • Dry Ice
  • Ammonia (or window cleaner that contains ammonia)
  • Dark corn syrup (or cola – with sugar – don’t use diet)
  • Water
  • Dirt or sand


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
    • Solar System
      • The Moon
      • Asteroids and Comets
      • Origin of Solar System
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids
      • Gases
      • Changes of Phase
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Elements and Periodic Table
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Impacts of Technology

Informal Categories

  • Model Building


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access