Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Space: Meteorite Craters!

Ok - this has to be one of most fun (and ended up being very messy) experiments that we have done in a while!  Even little Bear got into it!  Can you guess what we were learning?



As we have been exploring Space we have enjoyed reading the Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System.  What is great is that each time we read it we learn something new!   On the page all about how the children explore Mercury we noticed that there were lots of craters on the surface.  So we decided to make our own craters from meteorites!  (inspired by this activity on Science Buddies)

Our planet surface was a box with about a third of a bag of flour poured in - this experiment is best done outside or on a large dropcloth.



Our meteorites were balls of different sizes and materials.  The first ball we dropped into the flour was a small, hard bouncy ball.


It left a small and rather deep hole!  So we randomly selected the next ball which was a soft, medium sized ball.  The girls predicted it would make a bigger and deeper hole.  They dropped it in and.... well we don't have a good picture but it made a wide and shallow hole.   This was a great discussion for how not only the size but how dense the ball/meteorite is and how that can make a difference.

Our last ball/meteor was the largest ball and also a bouncy ball.  It made quite a spray as it landed on our planet surface.



Some of the flour even filled up the small, deep hole.  Now we could really see how different sizes made different sized craters and how the material affected how deep they were.  We then had a great time experimenting with different meteorites and patterns: from trying to make a meteor fall inside an existing crater, to using textured balls to give different surfaces to our crater, to small pebbles and finally our own feet!!







The girls had a great time playing and learning and even feeling how the surface can change!  The best part was that we could reset our surface anytime with a gentle shake of the box.


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Supplies:

  • box
  • flour
  • balls of different diameters


Instructions:

  1. Pour about a third of a bag of flour into the box and shake the box gently to create a smooth surface.
  2. Drop a ball into the flour.  Note the size, shape and depth of the crater.
  3. Repeat with additional balls and note how the crater changes depending on the density and circumference of the ball.
  4. Play and explore how different objects create different sized craters.



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