The Nebula

Contributor: Rebecca Highland. Lesson ID: 10382

Dust doesn't seem like an interesting subject, does it? But put tons of dust quadrillions of miles away in space and you've got something! Videos, great pix, and cool projects teach you about nebulae!


Earth Science

learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5), Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


What in the world (or out of this world) is this?

This amazing spectacle is a nebula!

A nebula is one of astronomy's most beautiful and interesting sights! Where do they come from, though?

Nebulae (pl.) are actually formed from stars. They also help to form stars! When a star dies, the leftover dust is enlightened by the star's core, creating beautiful, colorful clouds.

The name nebula is from the Latin word for cloud. By definition, nebulae are clouds of dust and gas in space.

In this lesson, you will explore nebulae through video and online resources, as well as an interesting activity and project.

1. Learn more about nebulae by reading ESA Kids > Stars and galaxies > Star birth from the European Space Agency.

2. Watch Nebulae: Crash Course Astronomy #36 from CrashCourse to explore more about nebulae:


3. Watch What is a Nebula? Astronomy and Space for Kids – FreeSchool below:


4. Read the following information:

  • Sometimes, nebulae don't have their own light and only reflect the light of nearby stars.
  • The average nebula is several lightyears in length. To put that in perspective, we here on Earth are only 8 light minutes from our sun. A lightyear is over five quadrillion miles away! In other words, nebulae are HUGE.
  • Basically, nebulae are just big dust clouds that are lit up to be stunning, colorful sights that continue to fascinate astronomers!

And you thought dust was boring! Move along to the Got It? section to paint a nebula!

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