Exploring the Universe: Ice Orbs

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“Exploring the Solar System: Ice Orbs” is a hands-on activity in which visitors investigate a frozen orb, trying to learn about objects hidden inside. Participants learn that planetary scientists at NASA are investigating “icy worlds” in the outer solar system, looking for evidence of liquid water and possible signs of life beneath the icy surface.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
4 to 24 hours

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Ice orbs (prepared in advance)
  • Plastic tray
  • Sponge and towel
  • Magnifying lens
  • Flashlight
  • Toothpicks
  • Paper clips
  • Ocean Worlds poster
  • Oceans Below the Surface and moon information sheets
  • Optional: Insulated bag (or cooler)
  • Optional: Small bowls to hold the balloons in the freezer, additional tools
  • Activity and facilitator guides


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
    • Solar System
      • The Planets
      • Asteroids and Comets
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • About Inquiry
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • NISE Network