Exploring the Universe: Objects in Motion

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"Exploring the Universe: Objects in Motion" encourages participants to explore the complex but predictable ways objects in the universe interact with each other. Stars, planets, moons, and other objects in space orbit around each other because of gravity, and NASA scientists can use what we already know about the laws of physics to make new discoveries and predictions. Participants in this activity use "orbiting" clay balls to make simple, functioning models of interacting objects in space.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Model


Materials List (per student)

  • 12-inch stained wooden rod
  • Small leather sling with attached string (medical grade finger sling)
  • Acrylic ring
  • Playdough
  • Sandpaper (to clean the wooden rod)
  • Activity and facilitator guides Information sheets
  • Tips for Leading Hands-on Activities
  • Digital scale and the Exploring Ratios information sheet (optional)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
    • Solar System
      • The Sun
      • The Moon
      • The Planets
      • Asteroids and Comets
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
      • Kepler's Laws
      • Center of Gravity


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • National Informal STEM Education Network

Source Collection

  • NISE Network


Funding Source:

  • NASA, NNX16AC67A