Celebrate the upcoming launch of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope using a new Toolkit of five interactive activities. This month’s featured activity is Make a Pinwheel of the Pinwheel Galaxy.

Patrons design, cut-out, and assemble their own pinwheel of the Pinwheel Galaxy in a fun STEAM craft!  Facilitate this activity at your library or print out the template and provide the craft materials for a Take & Make activity.

Time to complete: 10-20 minutes

Ages: 4 years and up, with teen or adult supervision.

Shopping and Preparation List

Total cost:  $1-5 and printing of the pinwheel graphic

Molinete de la galaxia 

Make a Pinwheel Galaxy activity in Spanish

Fundamental Space Science Concepts – How Pinwheel Galaxy relates to JWST: 

The Pinwheel activity introduces the concept of a galaxy to patrons. While there are a few galaxies that can be seen in clear skies without a telescope (such as the Andromeda Galaxy), we need telescopes to see most galaxies.

Powerful telescopes study galaxies, including the first galaxies forming near the beginning of the universe. Galaxies come in different shapes and sizes. Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is a spiral galaxy. Some are enormous round galaxies—giant ellipticals. There are also very small elliptical galaxies. Both spiral and elliptical galaxies vary in shape. Some spirals are dominated by their spiral arms, while others have arms that are barely detectable. Ellipticals can range from spherical to football shaped. There are also many galaxies with irregular shapes.

Unlike a pinwheel, the stars within a galaxy move individually, like particles in a dust storm or a swarm of bees. Most galaxies can be found in clusters with other galaxies.  Over time, galaxies move and change, particularly as they merge with nearby galaxies in their cluster.

There are six images arranged in two rows of three. The top row consists of graphics depicting an elliptical, a spiral, and an irregular galaxy. The bottom row consists of images of examples of these types of galaxy shapes.

This graphic shows a giant elliptical galaxy, a spiral galaxy, and an irregular galaxy.

Video Resources for you to use and share with patrons:

NASA video: “What is a galaxy?”

NASA video: Are All Galaxies the Same?

STAR Net JWST Event Page: Look Up! Explore Our Universe 

Discover more JWST Launch Toolkit activities at