The Milky Way Galaxy and Other Galaxies Science Games
In this series of games, your students will learn about the components and characteristics of galaxies and how scientists study them. The Milky Way and Other Galaxies learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academic performance in your classroom, as demonstrated by research.
Scroll down for a preview of this learning objective’s games and the concepts they drive home.
A galaxy consists of billions of stars, planets, moons, nebulae, dark matter, black holes, light, and energy. The universe is home to at least 100 billion galaxies, and they are distributed unevenly, in clusters and superclusters.
There are three main types of galaxies, named for their shapes: spiral, elliptical, and irregular. Gravity holds all of a galaxy’s matter together, and causes it to orbit around the center of the galaxy.
Our galaxy is a spiral galaxy called the Milky Way, and our solar system is located about halfway out one of its arms. Each arm rotates around the galaxy’s bulging center, but some individual stars move faster than others, like the way cars move through highway traffic jams.
In total, the Milky Way has 100-400 billion stars of all different types — including every star that we can see with the naked eye — and many of them have their own solar systems. The entire galaxy measures about 100,000 light-years in diameter.
A light-year is a unit of distance: the distance light travels through a vacuum in one year. That means if we look at a star 50,000 light-years away — using space, radio, or x-ray telescopes — we see what that star looked like 50,000 years in the past, because that’s how long it takes for the star’s light to reach us.
A preview of each game in the learning objective is found below.
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