Galaxy in a Bottle

So this isn’t really a science experiment but I LOVE discovery bottles and this one is so pretty!  My older boys really enjoyed making this and it led to discussions about supernovas and galaxies and nebulae.  The tots in my class enjoyed the pretty swirly colors and filling the bottles.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • cotton balls – almost a bag per bottle
  • empty bottles (I used old gatorade bottles)
  • paint in “galaxy colors” (we used metallic acrylic paint in purple, silver and blue)
  • glitter
  • straw (or something to push the cotton balls into the bottle)
  • cups

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First, create the colors of your galaxy by adding some paint to water.  We used metallic blue, metallic purple and metallic gray.  We love how swirly the water looked!

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Next we stuffed our bottle about 1/2 full with cotton balls.  (It looks prettier if you shred the cotton balls, but my boys and the tiny tots don’y have the patience for that!)  We used a straw to help push the balls into the bottle.

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Next, add your first color to the bottle.

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Add some glitter.  (We probably should have added more)

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We noticed that as soon as the water was added, the cotton squished into a smaller layer.  So add lots of cotton! Like we did on the second layer.

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We again added a new color to the cotton.  And more glitter.  Make sure to push the cotton down as tight as you can.

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We repeated it again with the last layer.

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Then we added the lid and shook it a bit.

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The puffy cotton looks like the “clouds” of space debris you see when you look at pictures of galaxies, nebulae, supernovas, etc… The glitter looks like stars in the night sky…

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While we were making these bottles, my boys asked me what a galaxy was and what a supernova was.  It was a great art activity to open up discussion about outer space.  While not a real science experiment, it sparked a science conversation.  It my book, that’s success!

For more details and to see where I got this simple, but fantastic idea from, please visit:  http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/78341/the-galaxy-in-a-bottle.

 

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