In this article, I describe constructing a scale model of our galaxy—the Milky Way—and using this model to teach modern astronomy. The Milky Way model expands on concepts usually explored in the more common solar system model. The Milky Way model presents an opportunity to probe a broad array of physical processes and astrophysical systems, as well as multiple astronomical coordinate systems and far more expansive spatial scales. This exercise is kinetic, interactive, and designed to be done in large spaces (such as a gymnasium floor) with students at the middle school to high school levels.
Friedman, R. B. 2008, Astronomy Education Review, 7(2), p.176–180