Cosmic Cratering


Did you know that understanding what happens when rocks impact dirt is important for understanding the history of our Solar System?  In this lesson, students will make their own craters to investigates ways we use craters on celestial bodies in our Solar System such as the Earth and Moon to learn about the history of the solar system and the “space rocks” (aka meteoroids, asteroids, and comets) responsible for making these craters. 

Complete Teachers Guide

A complete teachers guide is available in PDF format for teachers to look through and gain some background knowledge for the activity.

Grade Level

  • Versatile throughout K-12 based on content included in the lesson. 

Goals and Learning Objectives

  • Students will simulate how craters are made to investigate ways that we can learn about the surface of planets and moons and properties of the loose material in the solar system that creates such craters (e.g., mass, velocity, density).
  • Students will also utilize math skills such as graphing and algebra and experimental design.

Teaching Method(s)

  • Guided Inquiry to Open Inquiry, depending on how much background information and structured materials/instruction students are given.

Concepts Addressed

Primary Authors

K.D. Denney 

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