LEGO Orrery

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Use this model to demonstrate the goal of NASA's Kepler Mission: to find extrasolar planets through the transit method. The model uses legos to represent the planet system, a light to represent a star, a light sensor to model the Kepler photometer, a computer interface to simulate the Deep Space Network, and computer graphic software to simulate the Kepler Science Office. This resource includes instructions for building, setting up, and conducting the demonstration.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
1 to 2 hours

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

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


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Stars and Galaxies
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
    • Solar System
      • The Sun
      • The Planets
  • Physical Sciences
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Size and Scale
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Computing
      • Information Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
    • Technology
      • Information and Communication
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Regents of The University of California, 2011