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Moon Craters

Cause and effect relationships are crucial for explaining natural phenomena. So logically, I wanted to share an activity with families that addresses this concept. Craters is just the perfect happy context!

Moon craters are small or large indentations that happen on the moon when objects collide against it. Craters have been happening since the formation of the moon (~4.5 billion years). And, with great technology and scientists help we have been able to figure out the mechanics of it. These indentations are affected by the mass of the impact object and the speed at which it travels. Hence, it is a cause-effect relationship

We can help children think about mass and craters size by doing a simple yet fun activity. Before that, lets start with our main questions,

  • How do moon craters form?
  • Why are moon craters different sizes?

Start the talk, the science talk and probe your children with the main questions. Then, gather materials.

Materials

  • kitchen pan
  • rocks 
  • dry detergent
  • ruler

Note: I have pledged to not waste any food items in experiments. I encourage your family to do the same. If you don’t have dry detergent, however,  you can use baking soda, flour, or salt. 

Time to Experiment

We are going to drop rocks from the same height and measure the diameter of the crater these rocks leave on the “moon”. I used the knob in my kitchen cabinet to be consistent with my height. Then, I measured (in cm) the diameter and wrote it on a sticky note.

Watch the video.

This is a close-up of the craters that were formed. 

This is a simple way to record the data and it is quite visible for children. Notice the pattern? The bigger the object, the bigger the crater. The same is true for objects impacting the moon. Turn it into a cause-effect relationship. Because the object is bigger, the crater is bigger. {Note, this claim ignores speed.}

Now that your children have all the data do the talk, the science talk.You can find more information about craters at NASA. It is a great resource! And, as usual, here are my recommended books!

 

 

Young and older audiences will surely enjoy these two books! Click on the images to visit my affiliate Amazon store, at no extra cost to you.

Tell us how your family did this experiment at home! Leave comments below.

Published by Reizelie Barreto, PhD

Reizelie is a former homeschool parent and a trained science and Montessori teacher with a passion for curriculum development. She loves learning and teaching and on her spare time she helps families create home environments that enrich a child's learning. Reizelie has a PhD in science education and has been working in the field of education for the last 19 years. She loves helping teachers, schools, and homeschooling families improve their science curriculum in ways that are authentic to scientists' work.

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