Crater the Moon
Hosted by: UT Austin McDonald Observatory
Visit our Booth: Saturday, March 6, 2021, 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Recommended Grades: 3rd, 4th, 5th
When we look at the moon or at images of the moon, we often see round craters. These craters were mostly formed by asteroid impacts when the solar system was young. You can re-create asteroid impacts and see some of the really cool features that we find with lunar craters, right in your home.
- A wide pan or plastic tub. A plastic dishpan is a good size, or a recyclable aluminum turkey
- roasting pan is good.
- Flour to fill your pan at least two inches deep.
- Hot chocolate mix
- Rocks of various sizes
- A meter stick if you have one.
- A ruler
Fill your pan with flour to a depth of about two inches. Sprinkle hot chocolate mix onto the flour. Drop a rock from a height of about one meter into the pan. You just made a crater!
Think and Then Experiment:
- What happens if you drop a rock from a lower height? Test it out!
- What happens if you drop a rock from a taller height? Test it out!
- What happens if the speed of your rock changes? Test it out!
- What happens if you drop a rock into an existing crater? Test it out!
- What happens if you drop 2 rocks at the same time? Test it out!
Design some of your own questions and experiments. Tell us about your questions and show us your tests in videos uploaded to Flipgrid.
Check out the Crater the Moon video on the Activity Video tab for more info!
How does this activity connect to STEM and today's Girl Day Theme: Moving Around: Land, Water, Air and Space?
Asteroids in our Solar System, moving around, pelted the moon and formed craters. Recently, NASA selected 18 new astronauts who will train for the Artemis Mission to the moon. Nine of these astronauts are women. What will these astronauts find when they land on the moon? The astronauts who visit the moon next will need to know about the processes that formed the moon, including the asteroid impacts that formed the craters.
Crater the Moon Video Demonstration
In this short video, you will see how to make craters in your flour. Notice the size of the craters. Which size rock makes the smallest crater? Which size rock makes the biggest crater rays?
McDonald Observatory offers a number of different opportunuties for all kinds of learners:
The coolest thing that McDonald Observatory typically offers is access to a research facility and to the universe! But even right now, from home, you can see some astronomy wonders by tuning in to our YouTube channel where we have a number of different "Deep Sky Tours" and "Moon Tours" where we get to show off lots of cool stuff in space!
McDonald Observatory works to support teachers by providing activities, live K12 videoconference programs, and by hosting professional development opportunities! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to request a program for your classroom.
Our research facility in Far West Texas, in a typical year, hosts more than 80,000 visitors. Since March 2020 our program offerings have adjusted significantly, although the visitors we receive on site has been limited, our virtual outreach has exploded! Please find information about visiting here and find some virtual programs streamed and saved via YouTube here!