Exploring the Universe: Expanding Universe (2019)

  • Expanding Universe
NISE Network product

This activity includes a hands-on model of the way the universe is expanding—and how it has been expanding since the Big Bang. As participants pull at the edges of a stretchy model universe, they see that the space between objects in the universe is expanding, even if the objects stay the same size. The activity also explains how, even though it appears from our perspective that we're in the center of the universe, there is in fact no center of the universe!



Big Idea

Astronomers make observations and use mathematical models to understand how the universe changes.

Learning Goals
  • Most of the galaxies we can observe are moving away from each other as the universe expands. 
  • The beginning of the universe, over 13.8 billion years ago, was like a sudden expansion from a very hot, dense state.



This material is based on work supported by NASA under cooperative agreement award numbers NNX16AC67A and 80NSSC18M0061. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Owning institution

Science Museum of Minnesota



Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US).
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Development Process

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