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Lesson Plan Title : Moon Craters

Age Range:

Grade 6 through Grade 8 (Middle School)

Overview and Purpose:

Most craters on the moon are made when a meteorite hits the surface. In this lesson students will make craters using small round objects dropped into powder. They will be able to study the way the craters look and how big they are in relation to the size of the object.

Objective:

The student will be able to

*create craters by dropping round objects of various size and weight into powder.

*measure the craters and draw correlations between the size and weight of an object and the size of the crater.

Resources:

Shallow pans

Rulers

2 different colored powders (powder and cocoa or cake mix and flour)

Various small round or oblong objects (marbles, rocks, Skittles, grapes, etc)

Forks

Teacher created worksheet

Close-up pictures of craters on the moon

Activities:

Show the students pictures of the moon and discuss what the craters are and how they got there. Explain to the students that they are going to get to make their own craters today.

Students can put two to three inches of the lighter colored powder in the pan and then a sparse layer of the darker color on top. This will help them see where the powder goes when the object hits. The fork can be used to smooth the surface out after each "meteor".

Have the students drop each object into the tray twice and measure the depth and diameter of the crater. If they get very different answers for an object, they should measure it a third time. They should experiment with dropping the same object from different heights and with different amount of force.

They can use the worksheet to record their results.

Closure:

Ask the students to journal about what would happen if one of those meteors hit the earth. What do they think would happen based on their experiment? There is so much to study about the moon. Students always have questions about it. Encourage them to ask them during this unit and let them know that if you don't know the answers, you will certainly try your best to find out.

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