The Expanding Universe

Space, time, and the entire universe started with the Big Bang. Learn about the Big Bang, Neutron Stars, and Black Holes. Then, model the expansion of the universe.

Expanding Universe Model

See a simulation of the Big Bang at the beginning of our expanding universe.

Video Courtesy NASA

Video Courtesy NASA

Build your own model showing galaxies move away

from each other as the universe expands.

Materials
  • Regular Sized Balloon

  • Colored Pencils, Crayons or Thin Markers

  • Tape

  • Scissor

  • Printable cutout sheet for this activity (found at the bottom of Cosmoto's Week 4 Site Page)

Step 1

Cut out the 12 galaxies from the cutout sheet for this activity.

Optional:  Color in each galaxy. 

Spiral Galaxy
Elliptical Galaxy
Barred Spiral Galaxy

Galaxy Images Courtesy NASA

Step 2

Use double-sided tape or roll up a piece of one-sided tape and attach it to the back of the galaxy cutouts. (Do not attach the tape across the front side of the galaxy cutout or use more than one piece of tape per cutout as this may burst the balloon.)  Attach tape to the backside of each galaxy cutout.

Step 3

Attach the cutout pieces to the balloon. Space the cutouts out evenly on the balloon.

Step 4

Blow the balloon up or have a parent do so.  Notice how the distance between the galaxies increases as the balloon expands. This is a model of our expanding universe. As our universe continually expands, galaxies move away from us and the distance between galaxies increases.

Images of Pillars of Creation, Future Mars Base, Curiosity Rover, Milky Way, Moon, and International Space Station are courtesy of NASA. Image of Earth's atmosphere courtesy of Science Museum of Exploration.