1 class periods of 30 minutes each
Classroom demonstration shows how craters were formed on the moon.
Instructional Procedures Activity
- soft soil, sand, or flour
- shallow pan
- several rocks of different sizes
- My Moon Book
Curriculum Extensions Activity
- Gray tempera
- Seven inch
circle cut out of
- Plastic sandwich
paper and white
copy paper to
Background for Teachers
Big rocks from space hit the moon, leaving holes called craters. The moon is made up of lots of gray. There are no animals and plants because there is no usable water or air. What are those light and dark areas on the moon's surface? The light areas are called highlands or mountains. The dark areas are flat, low plains. Most of the small craters on the moon were formed by the impacts of meteoroids crashing into the moon's surface. The larger craters were probably formed by larger celestial bodies (like asteroids and comets) hitting the moon's surface. The largest crater on the moon, the Imbrium Basin, is 700 miles wide.
Intended Learning Outcomes
- Use a Use a Science Process and Thinking Skills
- Manifest Science Interests and Attitudes
- Understand Science Concepts and Principles
- Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning
Invitation to Learn
How do you think craters are formed on the moon? Have students record their answers on page 4 in their moon books.
- Put the soil, sand, or flour in the pan.
- Hold a rock over the pan (about as high as your chin).
- Drop the rock.
- Measure in metrics the diameter of the crater and record.
- Repeat this procedure holding the rocks at different heights.
- Record discoveries in their journals on page 4.
- Have students wad a plastic sandwich bag and use it to apply gray tempera paint
to cover a nine inch square paper. After it dries, cut out a 7-inch circle. Glue
moon cutout onto the larger black paper and cut out white stars to add to the
picture. (Standard I, Objective 1)
- For a writing activity that is out of this world, tell students that many stories have
been told about the shapes on the moon's surface. A well-known story states that
the moon shows the face of a man ("The Man in the Moon"). Have each student
study her or his project and write about what she or he sees on the moon (refer
back to the What the Moon is Like by Frankly M. Branley). (Standard
VIII, Objective 6)
Homework & Family Connections
- Students conduct the same experiment with their families, explaining what they
- Share moon stories with their families.
- Send home a list of websites and encourage students to look up with their families.
- Read books about Earth and the moon.
Students can describe what they did, what they saw, and what they learned in their journals.
Check for accuracy on page 4 of their journals.