Besides the changing shape of the moon, one of the first things children notice is the many lunar craters that cover its surface and give it a distinctive look. They are most likely curious about why the moon has craters, alarmed by the number of them, and wondering why we don’t have craters on Earth like we do on the moon. Use this lunar crater activity to help teach children about the craters they see on the moon every night.
Astronaut, rockets and craters on the moon are all such fascinating dreamy topics for kids! This extremely simple science experiment will give kids a fantastic visual on how craters form on the moon. Why moon craters are so much more visible on the moon than they are on the Earth and the way different moon craters are formed are great subjects for extended research.
Moon Crater Materials Needed:
*Flat box lid or aluminum tray
*enough flour to fill container
*small objects of different sizes, weights, and material
Make a Moon Crater Directions:
Fill the tray with flour and spread evenly, this will serve as the surface of the moon. Place the container on the ground and have children stand over their makeshift face of the moon, dropping the different items into the tray, these objects act as meteors. Have children investigate the different craters that they created.
Note how the objects landed and “stuck” into their moon surface. They are all positioned differently!
Collect all the meteors and even out the surface of the moon. Using pairs of objects, have children drop 1 meteor from a normal standing position, and a second object from high up on a chair. Have children compare the two craters created by each meteor and note any differences between the two.
Moon Craters DISCUSSION:
As children are creating craters in the face of the moon, speak with them about why meteors impact the moon and leave so many craters compared to here on Earth. The moon has no atmosphere, so there is nothing to slow down or destroy meteors from hitting the moon like we have on Earth. Ask children why they think some objects made bigger craters that others, why some larger items made smaller craters that smaller items? Like our objects, meteors are made up of different material and density, so the craters they create are all different.
During the next full moon, take children outside to see how many lunar craters they can see with the naked eye. Provide them with crayons and papers to draw out the moon and all the craters they see.
Vocabulary to Learn:
Atmosphere– the gas that surrounds our planet, protecting it. The moon has no atmosphere
Crater: A deep hole caused by a meteor crashing into the planets and moon.
Check out some of our other space related posts below:
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