Make a Comet on a Stick

Comets are large balls of ice, rock and dust but you can think of them as large dirty snowballs that travel through the Solar System. The main part of a comet is called the nucleus. Most of the time comets are too faint and dark for us to see, but as they get closer to the Sun, the ice starts to heat up and some of it turns into gas. The gas and dust released forms an enormous tail that stretches out behind the nucleus.

Why not make a model to explore the different parts of a comet!

By the end of this activity you will:

  • have made a model of a comet
  • seen what happens as it orbits close to the Sun

To complete this activity you will need:

  • a stick - maybe from the garden or a drinking straw
  • sticky tape
  • a ball of scrunched up paper or play-doh
  • cotton wool
  • cling film, bubble wrap, or tissue paper
  • ribbon or strips of tissue paper
  • a hairdryer


The path of a comet around the Sun (not to scale)