Dry Ice Comet

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In this activity, dry ice and other items are used to construct a demonstration model of a comet that illustrates the comet nucleus, coma, and tails. This activity introduces learners to the structure of comets and the interactions between comets and our Sun.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

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


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 5 pounds of dry ice
  • Mallet
  • Eye protection
  • Thick work gloves or insulated rubber gloves
  • Plastic bowl - large
  • Paper grocery bag
  • 13 gallon garbage bag
  • Pie pan or flat tray
  • 1 liter (34 ounces) of water
  • 1 cup of soil
  • Dash of ammonia
  • Dash of alcohol
  • Dash of cornstarch
  • Dash of dark corn syrup
  • Hairdryer with a low or cool setting
  • Strong flashlight


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
    • Solar System
      • The Sun
      • Asteroids and Comets
  • Physical Sciences
    • States of Matter
      • Changes of Phase

Informal Categories

  • Model Building


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, ESI-0125693