Get to know comets! Examine the components of comets and how they orbit the sun. Illustrate a glistening diagram to label each part.
1. Have you ever seen a shooting star in the sky? Where do they come from? Shooting stars are meteors, small grains of dust in the tail of a comet that enters Earth’s atmosphere. Once in our atmosphere they burn up, leaving a streak of light behind them as they fall. When Earth passes through the tail of a comet, many shooting stars can be seen in the sky at once. This event is called a meteor shower!
2. Comets are large balls of ice and frozen gases hurling through space, sort of like outer space snowballs! They orbit the sun in elliptical patterns and as they get closer to the sun they begin to melt, creating beautiful, bright tails behind them. Some comets melt completely as they age and continue to pass by the sun.
3. Comets also have an interesting core. At the center of a comet is the nucleus, made of frozen rock, metal and water. The cloud of gases surrounding the nucleus is called the coma.
4. Do research with a partner to find more interesting facts about comets. Are there any famous comets that can be seen from Earth? Share your findings with the class.
5. Draw and label a detailed picture of a comet on black construction paper. Make your comet sparkle and shine with Crayola® Metallic Colored Pencils, Crayola® Metallic FX Crayons and Crayola® Glitter Crayons. Be creative! Mix and swirl different colors to create new colors and textures.
6. Embellish your drawing with outer space details like stars and planets!
Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.
- Display the comet drawings for the entire class. Review the drawings together. Identify and define the three major parts of a comet: the nucleus, the coma and the tail. Did each student successfully illustrate and label a comet?
- Go 3D! Use Crayola® Model Magic® to create 3D models of comets, which include the nucleus, coma and tail. Insert a paperclip into the top center of the comet and let air-dry overnight. Attach ribbon or string to the paper clip and hang comets around the classroom for an out-of-this-world atmosphere!
- Younger students and those with special needs may need guidance when labeling their comets. Review the parts of a comet together as a class. Display a large diagram for the class to view as you discuss and define each part. Allow students to refer to the diagram as they work to check their accuracy and correct their spelling.